|Development committee meeting in Sutton|
I think we are all a bit stunned by what happened last night. In dramatic scenes we came away with a score draw. Three committee members voted in favour, three against and two abstained. The Chair then had the casting vote and despite initially voting for the incinerator, he opted to defer.
I ended up speaking first. Below is my speech in full. I missed out the opening paragraph because I knew I was going over the allocated 4 minutes, and I felt the Chair wasn't going to let me go over. By the way, please check out an excellent blog by local party member Brendan Walsh.
Today I am speaking on behalf of the Croydon Green Party, but I am also speaking on behalf of the 130,000 people who live in the Croydon North area, where I live, who reside downwind from this proposed incinerator. This council may not have received their submission BUT it doesn’t mean they don’t care. Many don’t speak English as a first language, they are more concerned about, job security, paying the rent and getting food on the table. Councillor David Dean, from Merton, pointed out that if Wimbledon Village was downwind from the planned incinerator, you can be assured the council would face a £1m lawsuit for even contemplating such a solution. Is this fair? Is it fair that a deprived area that doesn’t have a wealthy residents association, able to afford a bank of lawyers with the technical expertise to scupper the plan – ends up with an incinerator?I strongly believe that if the Liberal Democrats on this Council were in opposition, they would be sitting in this chair, their friends and family would be in the public gallery struggling to comprehend how the council can take such an immoral decision. You only need to go across the border to Merton to see the Liberal Democrats voted for a motion to Stop The Incinerator.Now you might feel that I am speaking from an idealistic position, but I have to tell you what is on the table before you is not even a pragmatic solution. This is Viridor’s profit maximising solution, designed to tie in councils on long term, fixed tonnage contracts...de-risked for Viridor. This is not from me, this is actually on the Penon Group’s web site, Penon being the FTSE 250 parent company for Viridor. You don’t need reminding that Social and Environmental costs don’t appear on Penon’s balance sheet.Viridor have built local sized Anaerobic digesters around the country, why not here? Other authorities are approving Mechanical and Biological Treatment plants. Why not here? Other councils are piloting newer more advanced technologies. Why not here?It is important to note that the proposed incinerator does not pre sort the waste. Viridor claims that the waste is pre-sorted but their own propaganda video concedes that Viridor will treat the non-hazardous waste that is left after local residents and businesses have removed recyclable and compostable materials.I would also query whether councillors have been impartial on this Committee. Councillors have visited Viridor’s Slough incinerator at the invitation of Viridor. Yet, Councillors have not attended screenings of the film Trashed, which by the way if they had, they would know that several European doctors associations representing 33,000 doctors wrote to the European Parliament citing widespread concerns on incinerator particle emissions, specifically fine and ultrafine particles.What also needs to be considered are the CO2 emissions, which are levelled the same as a gas fired power station, per a unit of energy generated. How can this fit in with the Mayor of London’s target of 60 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions by 2025. Moreover, If the government adopts CO2 emissions targets for electricity generation – something Scotland already has done - who will bear the cost for this?Residents in Beddington were promised a country park when the landfill license ended. How can this be a country park with two 95 metre pollution emitting chimneys inside it? Visitors to this country park and Beddington Park will no doubt feel a similar emotion to those who take a trip to the beach in South East Kent and look to their left and see Dungeness Nuclear Power station in the distance.I sense what councillors are thinking... you see the projected savings made by diverting waste away from landfill.[Councillors may also reconcile themselves by saying that pesticides in the food chain are more of a concern than pollutants entering the food supply through incineration. They may also say that airport activity is going to affect Nitrogen Dioxide levels much more than this energy recovery facility. BUT that presupposes that something will be done about those things. This is not guaranteed. ]You are in a unique situation in that you can actually make a difference tonight. You can even look at your projected savings from diverting waste away from landfill and focus on investing that money in reuse and recycling jobs to achieve those savings. This way, waste going to landfill will be cut and hundreds more jobs are created. Two towns in Powys, in Wales, managed to rocket their recycling rate to 74 per cent. It can be done if there is the political will. If recycling rates were at 74 per cent in Sutton then we wouldn’t need this incinerator.There are plenty of planning reasons to reject this application. [The location being a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation.; also an Air Quality Management Area and Metropolitan Open Land. The mitigation offered by Viridor is little more than confectionery.]At the very least hold back approval until the Health Protection Agency reports back on the health effects of incinerators in 2014.We urge you to take the honourable choice and vote down this proposal.
Tags croydon, greenparty