Monthly Archives: April 2014

Judicial Review is filed at The Royal Courts of Justice

Post Written by Shasha Khan.

On Thursday 24th April, the morning started with more conversations on the phone with Dave Pettener and Paul Pickering from the Stop The Incinerator campaign, as well as Sue Willman at Deighton Pierce Glynn. “Yes a campaign should file the papers in person and see it as a photo opportunity,” she said.

I’d had a cough and cold for a few days – and felt I needed some rest, but more importantly I needed to catch up with paid work. So, I quickly rearranged my day, and in the afternoon I set off for the Royal Courts of Justice. Sue explained that it was 10 minutes walk from Charing Cross. I google imaged the building because the plan was to meet Katie, a clerk at Deighton Pierce Glynn, described by Sue as being “early 20s about 5 foot 8, black shoulder length hair”, who would have the files that were to be submitted.

Unusually for me I was early (!!), and whilst I had and idea what the Royal Courts of Justice looked like, I’d been on many marches that passed by the building, I still wasn’t properly prepared for the magnificence of the building. The importance of the moment, caught up with the history and tradition of the High Court created an unusual mixture of excitement and trepidation.

Royal Courts of Justice at The Strand

Katie arrived with the papers at 15:50pm. We had 40 minutes to file the judicial review. It seemed like ample time, but Katie knew we didn’t have long because we first had to first pay the £60 fee at the cashiers office before actual filing the judicial review. We managed to pose for this photo in between paying the fee and submitting the files because at one point the easiest route seemed to be: to go back out and come back in.

Katie and I with the case containing the court bundle a la chancellor on budget day

The files that were submitted, known as the permission bundle, were in big blue lever arch files. The queue to to the Administrative Court was fairly lengthy. We just managed to get in before the doors were closed behind us at 4:30pm. As we submitted the file at the counter, the officer behind the window pointed out that the lever mechanism on one of the files was faulty. Unbelievably, she actually said she couldn’t accept the file in  this condition. WOW! My jaw dropped! Katie quickly took back the the file and corrected the mechanism. Thankfully, it was accepted.

The Permission Bundle

After a little while we were issued with a Judical Review claim form with the seal confirming receipt. Once that was in our hands we could relax. I had a chance to properly look around on the way out.

Main Hall

However, as we were leaving the building, I noticed my wallet was missing. After ten frantic minutes of emptying all my pockets and holdall on the edge of the main hall, I went to see security. They confirmed it had been found in the airport style security area. Open entering the building the second time (in a hurry), as required, I had emptied all my pockets and placed my possessions in a large tray that went along the conveyor belt through the x-ray machine. Somehow my wallet fell out of the tray and went down the rollers at the end of the conveyer belt. Thankfully one of the security officers noticed it.

So the picture of me outside the Royal Courts of me beaming, is partly because I had not lost my wallet!!

With the JR claim form
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Incinerator legal challenge filed in High Court

On 24 April, Croydon resident Shasha Khan filed judicial review proceedings challenging Sutton Council’s decision to allow a municipal waste incinerator at Beddington Farmlands in south London, on land earmarked for London’s newest country park. He faces a fierce legal battle- Sutton council and interested parties Viridor and Thames Water Utilities Ltd are all represented by corporate law firms.

RCJ With emblem in background resizedMr Khan is challenging planning permission for the £990m  incinerator on the basis Sutton made a serious error by applying the wrong planning policy to the incinerator and that local residents have a legitimate expectation that the site would become part of the Wandle Valley Regional Park, a haven for wildlife and migrating birds.

Mr Khan said, “It’s been a long, hard fight so far, not only for me, but other key figures in the campaign. Now that I’ve actually handed in the papers to court I’m nervous but remain optimistic that justice will prevail.”

“I’m doing this to protect my family and others from the incinerator’s emissions but it’s also about what’s right.  Years of broken promises have led us here and if Sutton Council had done what they said they would do – which is end waste treatment on the site and turn it in to a country park – then I wouldn’t be taking them to court.”

Father of a 22 month old daughter, a founder of the Friends of Thornton Heath Recreation Ground and co-coordinator of the Croydon and Sutton Green Party, he added “Going to court against a Council who has the backing of a FTSE 250 company is a scary thing!  I couldn’t have done it without all the generous donations I’ve received and the messages of support I’m getting on a daily basis. Please help by going to  http://www.stoptheincinerator.co.uk/”.

Sue Willman, representing Mr Khan said “We believe Sutton has acted unlawfully by misinterpreting their own planning policies. There are serious questions to be answered by local councils across the UK treating incinerators as a source of renewable energy instead of investigating cleaner alternatives. We hope the court process will result in the parties being asked to look again for a more sustainable solution for dealing with South London’s waste.”

Mr Khan is represented by Sue Willman and Charlie Dobson of Deighton Pierce Glynn solicitors www.deightonpierceglynn.co.uk and Justine Thornton, barrister of 39 Essex Street Chambers.

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Latest Report on Air Pollution

The Department of Health report on the health effects of air pollution makes for some stark reading.  They have broken it down according to local authorities.  Below are a couple of key extracts from it but you can go to this web site for more information.

No one can deny that the South London Incinerator will increase air pollution, but everyone who is in favour of it maintains that the increase is so small it won’t matter.

There are no safe levels of air pollution and this is proven again in this latest report which states: “there is no evidence for a threshold below which effects would not be expected.”

This is proof that the incinerator will have an adverse effect on our health regardless of what they keep telling us.

health effects of air pollution

mortality burdens

And this is how it was reported in the local press.  Now imagine if those 155 deaths in Croydon were associated with knife crime or drugs and how quickly our politicians would be falling over themselves to condemn it as a tragedy that needs addressing.

air pollution killed 150 april 16 2014 croydon guardian

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Campaign for Air Pollution Public Enquiry

Some of the more eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed a new page on our website which links to a very important new campaign – the Campaign For Air Pollution Public Enquiry.

Whilst we are focusing on trying to stop the incinerator this campaign is looking at the wider issue of air pollution and trying to stop it from being ignored by successive governments.

As with all campaigns it’s important that they show the powers that be there is public support for their issue and the best way to do this is through a petition.

We strongly urge you to sign their petition and visit their web site for the latest news.dirty water dirty air no web site

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Waste Company Bullies Local Resident

Solicitors Deighton Pierce Glynn representing Shasha Khan have received a reply to their letter threatening court action from both Sutton council, the defendant, and the waste contractor Viridor via their respective solicitors (1).

The letter received from solicitors representing Viridor indicates that the waste contractor intends to recover their costs even though the defendant is Sutton Council.

Shasha Khan said “Personally, I wasn’t expecting a reply from Viridor but I am not surprised they are trying to bully the little guy into pulling out.”

Mr Khan continued, ”I have been receiving advice from members of the anti-incinerator campaign in Norfolk. This week Norfolk council announced it was terminating its waste incinerator contract (2). I am sure that Viridor are worried this could be the start of a domino effect, hence their attempt to put the frighteners on me. ”

Mike Knights Vice Chairman Kings Lynn Without Incineration Network and Coordinator of Farmers Campaign said,

“Like many others involved in the campaign against Norfolk’s  incinerator, initially I thought it would benefit the area. As more information became known, it became obvious, it was the most expensive and inferior way to treat our waste.”

“Economist Dr Chris Edwards found better value alternatives could save Norfolk up to £8.5million per year compared to using the incinerator”.

Mr Knights continued, “The incinerator has dominated Norfolk’s politics for years. On 7th April 2014 an officer report finally acknowledged, how expensive it would be compared to landfill.”

Shasha Khan pointed out, “We all know that landfill is outdated and a costly way to dispose of waste, both financially and environmentally. Councillors from the ruling parties in each of the four boroughs that form the South London Waste Partnership have always maintained that the incinerator is a better solution than landfill, resulting in the application being approved.

However, council officers in Norfolk have finally acknowledged the incinerator is a more expensive solution.”

Notes:

1)    Special Delivery and by email to mail@dpglaw.co.uk Urgent from Bevan Brittain LLP

Dear Sirs

In the intended matter of: R (on application of Mr Khan) v London Borough of Sutton

We act for Viridor Waste (Thames) Limited, an interested party in the proposed proceedings. This is a Letter of Response for the purpose of the Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review.

We note that your client is seeking to challenge the decision made by the London Borough of Sutton on 14March 2014 to grant planning permission, to our client, to construct an Energy Recovery Facility at Beddington Farmlands in Sutton.

We note that your client considers that he can challenge the London Borough of Sutton’s decision on 5 grounds. We anticipate that the London Borough of Sutton will provide its own written response. However, we have set out below a full written response on behalf of our client…

Finally the conclusion at the bottom finishes with the following:

We are not aware of any legal aid funding for your client and we note that he is prima facie liable for any costs in the event that the Court makes an award in favour of the London Borough of Sutton. We consider that this claim is misguided and should not be pursued. In the event that your client applies for judicial review our client will resist the application and reserves its position to seek to recover costs against your client for the drafting of the Acknowledgement of Service and Summary Grounds for resisting the claim..

2)    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-26925831

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