Sunday, March 31, 2013

Air Pollution Is Not The Solution

My old chum Dave Pettener has been creative protesting....

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Trashed letter in the local papers


Dear Editor,

With regard to the planned Energy Recovery Facilty (ERF) in Beddington, I understand a number of Croydon and Sutton councillors have attended presentations and visited the ERF at Colnbrook, at the invitation of Viridor. Those councillors should be commended for taking the time to increase their knowledge base when considering problems and solutions associated with waste. However, I can only hope they realise that the presentation and tours they have attended are likely to be somewhat biased. For example, there is a youtube video entitled ‘Viridor Landfill Disposal Services’ which presents a faultless and compelling argument for landfill, a solution which campaigners and councillors both agree is outdated and unsustainable.
Campaigners have managed to obtain a license to screen the documentary film Trashed which stars, and is narrated by, Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons. The film has already been screened at the Houses of Parliament and is on the Cannes Official Selection for 2012. The film offers a different view on the problems and solutions associated with waste.
At the first screening in Fairfield Halls, the only councillor that attended was Stuart Collins.  All councillors in Croydon and Sutton have received an invitation to see the second screening on the 28th March at the Civic Centre in Sutton. Please see the film, if only to satisfy your mind. 

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Green Party
From Croydon Advertiser March 22nd

From Croydon Guardian 27th March

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Best trip to the dentist....ever

I hate going to the dentist. However, whilst in the waiting room at Purley Whites, I noticed a copy of Private Eye. Result! What was even better, there was an article about incinerators!!

from Private Eye 25th Jan - 7th Feb 2013

The articles further highlights the duplicitous nature of the waste industry and government quangos. When challenged on the health effects of incinerators, the Health Protection Agency, Environment Agency and the Department of Health Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution all refer back to a DEFRA report commissioned  in 2006. The report was written by ENVIROS and the University of Birmingham. It turns out the then head of environmental science at Birmingham University, Professor Judith Petts, has been on the payroll of our old friends VEOLIA since 2000!! Veolia are involved in 16 existing are planned incinerators in the UK. They were also on the short list for our Beddington incinerator.

When I asked the receptionist if she would photocopy the article, she replied I could take the magazine as someone had left it in the waiting room. Triple result!!!
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Stopping the incinerator

Screening of Trashed on 8th March

Protest at Development Committee meeting on 13th March

It's been a productive five days. After watching Trashed at the Houses of Parliament around a month ago,  colleagues and I in the Stop The Incinerator campaign hosted a screening at Fairfield Halls in Croydon. That was an achievement in itself because this prestigious venue didn't initially seem enthusiastic! After the film, there was a spontaneous round of applause from the 80+ people that attended the screening. Privately, I knew there would be! In the Q & A after the film, I harnessed the emotion in the Maple Room and urged everyone to join in a protest at Sutton Council's Development Committee. Others urged the audience to write to Sutton Council and the Mayor of London.

Five days later, on a freezing cold snowy night an excellent number motivated activists took part in our protest. Reports are appearing all over the place, the first one I have noticed is on Inside Croydon.

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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Viridor in the firing line

Taken from Croydon Advertiser.
I was invited to give a comment on Viridor's tax dodging (above).

Meanwhile, our protest at Viridor's regional office in West Malling went very well. The vast majority of the activists taking part were Green Party members. Upon arriving at the site, we were greeted by patrolling security vehicles, roaming the car parks. Our demo was effective because it disrupted Viridor, not forgetting the press coverage.

With reference to the disruption caused, at one point, I was peering through a window looking into a room, chanting, "Air pollution is not the solution," whilst pressing my 'Viridor Profit UP, Our Health DOWN' placard against the window.' Inside the room there was a training session going - it soon stopped! My attention was drawn to the whiteboard, which had 3 headings. I can only remember two of the headings:  Environment and amazingly, MORAL. Is morality being trained at Viridor?? Alternatively, did the crafty public relations experts employed by Viridor advise them to have strategically positioned things in view of the protesters. Anyway, after the continuous noise and Viridor bashing, the trainer decided to draw the blinds in an attempt to continue the session.

In another room, I saw the bloody tender document for the Beddington Incinerator carrying the South London Waste Partnership logo in the corner! Unbelievably, this was left on the table nearest the window (watch the vid)!!!! Were they goading us?

On a personal note, this demo was my daughter's first! She is only 9 months old. Thank you mum for looking after her :-)

If readers are wondering why we targeted Viridor, here is my comment which went out with the Stop The Incinerator Press release.

Commenting on the demo, Secretary of the Stop The Incinerator campaign, Shasha Khan said,
“Tory MPs in the Houses of Parliament (1) are now speaking out against the ‘off the shelf’ solutions councils are opting for when dealing with their ever-mounting waste problems. Elected politicians have failed to show leadership and instead have shown weakness.  In South London, politicians, aided by council officials, have drawn up a Plan (2) which effectively means that failing to approve Viridor’s solution would result in massive financial penalties. We have also obtained the risk register (3) for the Plan written by the four councils and the greatest risk to the four councils is Viridor pulling out, not for example, pollution exceeding safe levels. “
I would add that this is about the lobbying power of waste companies.

(1)   Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, said at the screening of the film Trashed, shown at the Houses of Parliament, that elected politicians had failed to show leadership and were opting for 'off the shelf' solutions
(2)   South London Waste Plan

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Standing up for what matters