Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Health Impact Assessment for the incinerator

Incinerator emissions map as produced by ERM, consultants appointed by Sutton Council

On 19 March, a few of us went to the Beddington Conference Centre to be presented with a rather one-sided view of the health impacts of the proposed incinerator. I recorded some of the meeting with ERM's Roger Barrowcliff on my mobile (above). The meeting overran by 1 hour 20 minutes such was the desire to register our point of view. Jim Duffy was sufficiently moved to send in a letter to the local papers almost instantly.

Dear Sir

Viridor may have made a mistake in contracting someone with strong pro-incinerator views to conduct its own Health Impact Assessment as this may backfire on them. At its recent workshop in Beddington an Energy-from-Waste expert attacked scientists voicing criticism of polluting incinerators as akin to climate-change deniers. This is an extreme view.

Climate change-deniers typically have a financial incentive in making their claims or are backed by commercial companies. On the other hand scientists who condemn incinerator emissions as harmful to health do so from a position of concern, often about local communities such as ours and forgoing lucrative contracts from commercial companies due to their views.

The meeting, unlike most workshops which have an egalitarian approach, centred on the speaker's comments and was mostly an unchaired question-and-answer session. There were no interactions amongst the participants whereby for example the group could build up a consensus on key concerns. Instead the speaker batted back concerns raised one at a time. Three local businessmen walked out midway declaring contempt for the biased view of the speaker.

Despite his unflinching assertion that incinerators were safe he did however show concern at South London Waste Plan's permission to burn radioactive and hazardous waste at the incinerator. He said the high population should have ruled this out but participants gave examples of city incinerators which do burn streams of radioactive waste.

When asked if a baseline study of local health would be set up using Government data against which any health effects in coming years could be measured he was vague and merely offered a 'social and health profile'.

If, as participants fear, Viridor's Health Impact Assessment turns out to be a whitewash that may prove more provocative than helpful.

Jim Duffy

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gordon's letter in the paper.


Published in the latest Croydon Advertiser, it can be read here

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Strong support for 20mph speed limit.

The Croydon Advertiser ran a piece on Jenny Jones' call for a 20mph speed limit across
the borough. I have always found this excellent policy a tricky one to sell to Croydon. 
Let's face it, this isn't Zone 2 Islington, they already have a blanket 20mph speed 
limit, this is outer London. 
There is a nonsensical view, held by a minority, that Greens want to ban cars. Just yesterday, 
someone was uncomfortable about telling me he loved sports cars (If we all had personal 
carbon quotas, I couldn't give a care to how individuals choose to spend their allowance). 
That's why I've always felt that the 20mph policy gives the impression that we're aiming
ultimately for an outright ban on cars!!! It's sounds extraordinary, that is until you speak
to people on the doorstep! 
However, I was pleasantly surprised to read a poll in the Advertiser saying that 60% 
were in favour of the policy in Croydon. 

East London Lines interviewed me on this policy:

Do you have evidence to suggest that these 20mph zones are indeed improving
the quality of road safety for cyclist and pedestrians?
It is unanimously accepted that if one keeps to the 30mph speed limit you are less likely to
kill a pedestrian when involved in a road traffic accident. 20 mph zones increase the
levels of road safety even further. Moreover, we need to encourage cycling as an 
alternative, and a 20mph reduces the fear factor that puts people off cycling. Cycling is
good for the health, good for your pocket and good for the environment. 

Why do you think a 20mph limit on these roads would work better than the
councils other measures such as more police enforcement on the roads?
20mph is part of a mixture of measures to improve road safety. Police enforcement is part 
of the mix.

A poll by the Croydon Advertiser suggests that 60% of Croydon residents
agree with this speed limit, do you think you could do more as a party
such as call for public meetings to consult with residents on the issue?
We live in a society where car is king, and drivers are behind the wheels of motor vehicles that are built do 120mph not 20mph. Living in an outer London borough means we don't have adequate public transport alternatives unlike inner London boroughs, so its really good that the benefits of a 20mph are filtering through to the Croydon public

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What is an incinerator?

Front page of the Croydon Guardian

Page 7

 Link to online version

Great to see the Croydon Guardian is not holding back on the Waddon councillors' shameful, and quite frankly laughable, attempt to explain away, what is, in no uncertain terms, a broken promise. Great comment by Gordon Ross.
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Standing up for what matters