Monthly Archives: March 2015

Incinerator Democracy & Spin

Anyone who has followed this campaign for even a short period of time will know how hard it is to get your voice heard.

And what’s the solution to dealing with an issue the public don’t like?

Hire a PR manager to spin “Sutton’s decentralised energy network and energy recovery facility.” If you’re interested you can apply for the job here!

Not only is the planning process a drawn out and complicated one, the lack of notification surrounding public events only makes it harder.

The public were invited to speak at the last South London Waste Partnership Meeting but the details of the meeting were almost impossible to find and the venue was changed (without notice) a few days before.

At this meeting we were initially refused permission to speak and then when one of us did get permission they refused to answer any of our questions about the incinerator. You can find out more about this meeting here.

We were planning on attending the next South London Waste Partnership meeting but we can’t find out when it is! Only two of the boroughs involved have any publicity about the public meeting, with Croydon stating the meeting starts at 5.30pm and Merton states 7pm.

Screenshot Croydon Council Website 290315Screenshot Croydon Council Website 29/03/15

Screenshot Merton Council Website 290315Screenshot Merton Council Website 29/03/15

Good luck to anyone who wishes to go, but be warned whilst the public are encouraged to attend they are certainly not welcome! Only half of the meeting is in the open, the other half is always held behind closed doors.

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Beddington Quiz Night Success

Once again a fantasitc amount of money was raised at the Stop the Incinerator Quiz night this weekend.

We made nearly £600 thanks to the hard work of quiz night organisers Chris Sciberras and Sarah Gwynn. Thank you to all the others who also helped by setting up the hall, doing the food and the raffle.

A big thank you also goes out to the Beddington community who filled the village hall in order to test their grey matter on a wonderful array of general knowledge questions set by our amazing quiz master Chris.

Hopefully we’ll see some of you again at our next fundraiser.

quiz night fundraiser 280315

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Savills talk to press but won’t talk to us

The debate over waste heat from the South London incinerator is hotting up.  Savills Estate Agent is backing the Felnex development and the use of heat from the controversial incinerator on Beddington Lane.

sutton guardian 26th match 2015This group attempted to arrange a meeting with Savills and when they wouldn’t answer our requests we arranged a demo outside their local office in Wimbledon.

It’s strange how they are prepared to give the press a comment but not sit down with local residents to discuss their concerns.  Another example of big business treating the people with contempt. See here and the screenshot below for how the press reported it.

You can also read all about the protest and watch a video about it here.

wimbledon guardian 26th match 2015

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Savills Demo

Observers may be puzzled as to why we have taken our campaign to Savills. Well, Savills are the both listed as Development Manager and Planning Consultant for the Felnex development , just across the road from the planned Beddington incinerator. There is a memorandum of understanding that the excess heat from the incinerator will be piped to heat these homes.

savills demo 210315 resize

As our letter explains (see below), campaigners are given to understand that the developers never wanted this heat. The marketing of the Felnex Development makes no reference to this piped heat from the incinerator. Yet, this theoretical understanding allows Viridor to justify inappropriate development on metropolitan open land, analogous with green belt, because such developments should only be approved in “very special circumstances”. Determining whether the “very special circumstances” test has passed has always been a key argument of the judicial review claim.

We had requested a meeting to discuss the matter with Savills head office but after failing to get a reply, we were forced to take direct action.  Watch what happened when the letter was hand in at the local Savills office.

We also recommend reading the dirty truth behind how Felnex got lumbered with expensive heating they don’t even need.

See here for how the press reported it.wimbledon guardian 26th match 2015

Letter to Savills

21.03.15

To whom it may concern.

It is with regret that we have felt it necessary to resort to a demonstration in order to hopefully get your attention. I have personally contacted Mr Armitage Hobbs (Head Office 33 Margaret Street) twice, as has London Borough of Merton Councillor David Dean (Conservative), in an attempt to arrange a meeting with Schroders and Savills with regard to the Felnex development in Hackbridge.

Savills have an excellent reputation and we are surprised to see your company associated with the unpopular Beddington waste incinerator. As you know a memorandum of understanding exists to, in theory, pipe excess heat created by the Beddington incinerator to the Felnex development in Hackbridge.

We understand that there was never a need for the Felnex mixed use development to secure delivery of any additional heat from a local district network as the planned buildings are already designed to be highly energy efficient. What is more, we have it on good authority from a source at Sutton council, that the cost per unit for the end user will be 30 per cent to 50 per cent higher than the market rate. Additionally, it is almost inconceivable that housing marketed as being the flagship of Sustainable Hackbridge, the UK’s first sustainable suburb, will be desirable to potential homeowners once they realise that their own recyclables are being incinerated in a development just across the road, with all the health risks from ultrafine particles this entails.

Once again, it is unfortunate that this demonstration has had to take place but I urge you to get in touch with us so that we can discuss the Felnex development in person with you.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan

On behalf of Stop The Incinerator

stoptheincinerator@yahoo.co.uk

Response from Savills received by email on 30/03/15

Dear Mr Khan

Thank you for your letter dated 21 March 2015.

We can confirm that Savills was appointed in 2006 as planning agent and development manager for the Felnex redevelopment in Hackbridge.    Savills’ appointment as development manager on the Felnex redevelopment ceased in early 2014.

During Savills’ appointment as planning agent, Savills, acting on behalf of the Felnex  redevelopment, was obliged  to include green energy proposals, in line with Greater London Authority and the London Borough of Sutton Council policy.  Such proposals were due in part to Hackbridge plans to become the UK’s first sustainable suburb.

One of the several options put forward in the planning proposal was to take ‘waste heat’ from the Viridor plant on Beddington Lane. Savills understands that no decision has yet been taken to commit to this or the other options that were considered but as Savills is not involved with any discussions on behalf of any party in this matter we cannot confirm this.

Outline planning permission on the Felnex redevelopment was obtained in March 2012.

Savills has not been and never has been appointed as planning consultants in relation to the Viridor plant on Beddington Lane. We understand that Viridor was granted planning permission for an Energy Recovery Facility in March 2014, however, as Savills had no involvement in that planning application, we cannot comment on the need for or scale of the proposal.

Yours faithfully

Savills (UK) Limited

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Air Pollution on the Up

The combination of a delay in an incinerator study and the lessening of air pollution rules can only mean one thing – more pollution!

Incinerator critic says Runcorn residents could remain in dark forever over risks because of study delays

An anti-incinerator campaigner has warned Runcorn residents that the results of a study into the health impacts of burning waste near homes may never published.

Former Environment Agency worker Michael Ryan’s fears came following an article in public affairs magazine Private Eye, which said the preliminary results from a two-year research project are not due to be released until later this year.michael ryan harlescott incinerator Michael Ryan outside the Harlescott incinerator in Shropshire.

The now-dissolved Health Protection Agency had commissioned the study to be carried out by Imperial College and its findings were supposed to be published last March.

Mr Ryan said that incinerator projects including in Runcorn have ploughed ahead without those in authority having any evidence to back their claims about risks to residents in neighbouring areas.

You can read the full article here.

Industry lobbyists weakened Europe’s air pollution rules, say Greenpeace

Governments, including the UK, are allowing energy industry representatives to help draw up Europe’s air quality limits resulting in proposed standards on coal plant emissions that are weaker than China’s, claim the campaign group.

New limits on air pollution in Europe have been watered down because governments are allowing some of the worst polluters to help draw up the rules, according to a Greenpeace investigation.

The Guardian has also learned that despite UK claims to the contrary, energy industry representatives repeatedly and forcefully pushed for weaker pollution limits at meetings in Brussels.

As a result of ongoing lobbying, the proposed European Union standards on toxic emissions from coal plants will be less strict than in China, the green campaign group said.

Read the full article here.

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UK in a right Pickles over the Big Burn

Private Eye, Issue 1384

AFTER much prodding, communities secretary Eric Pickles finally made a decision on 6 January over a planned large incinerator in Tory Gloucestershire, supporting the planning inspector’s decision that dismissed concern about the health of those living around the incinerator as fluff. The inspector had decided it was right for Pickles to leave health concerns to the Environment Agency (EA) unless there was evidence to the contrary.

Pickles can no doubt rely on the EA to support a drive to the Big Burn if he needs to, to avoid whopping European penalties on landfill. The EA chair is Sir Philip Dilley, who until April was executive chairman of Arup Group, which designs incinerators. He still serves as a “trustee” at Arup.

Pro-business pro-burners
Another member of the EA board is Gill Weeks, who runs a boutique consultancy working for her former employer Veolia on the disposal of hazardous waste, recording an income of around £17,000 in the latest accounts. Veolia runs several incinerators – sorry, “energy from waste facilities” – across the UK.

Enthusiasm for an incinerator is not matched elsewhere, and Pickles has a dilemma as the election approaches. He is yet to decide on an incinerator in Norfolk, despite receiving the planning inspector’s decision last August. The communities secretary is caught between the pro-business pro-burners and those worried about emissions.

In 2013 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) decided to withdraw PFI credits, amounting to a £169m subsidy over the 25-year contract, from the Norfolk incinerator. But there was no lack of support for the project elsewhere: the “Green Investment Bank”, run by Vince Cable, agreed to put up £51m, while the other investment came from banks, including the taxpayer-owned Lloyds and RBS.

Infant mortality
Last October Defra also withdrew £115.3m in PFI credits from the proposed Hatfield incinerator in Tory chairman Grant Shapps’s backyard – a further sign of the government’s cold feet over the growing incinerator industry. A recent report from the Eunomia consultancy predicted that, just on current approved projects, by 2020 overcapacity would leave UK incinerators short of 9.5m tonnes of rubbish a year. That would require importing huge amounts of the stuff to maintain Britain’s “Binman of the World” industry.

Meanwhile, a large two-year study by Imperial College on birth defects around incinerators was due to report in March last year but has been delayed; preliminary results are to be published later this year. The study was commissioned to deal with colourful maps produced by Mike Ryan, a former Environment Agency worker, who in the spirit of British pluck had gathered the data himself and published his own maps online. He mapped infant mortality and congenital abnormality at ward level in towns – resulting in large red areas (for high mortality or abnormality) downwind of incinerators.

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Climate change march

supporters of all agesMother Nature gave us a beautiful day for the Climate Change March on Saturday, it was almost as if she agrees with what we are trying to achieve!

Many groups were represented with people from all ages taking to the streets to express their concerns and solidarity over the persistent destruction of our environment.

Stop the South London Incinerator were there, joining their long time supporters from the Green Party.

You can read how the press reported it here, here, here and here.

Below are some more of the photos from the day.

3. on the march 4. on the march2. on the march 4b on the march 4c on the marchSit down protest.4d sit down protestMcDonalds Receives Police Protection.6. mcdonalds personal protectionFind out here how much taller than Nelson’s Column the incinerator chimney will be.7. incinerator much bigger 8. incinerator almost as bigThe home of ‘democracy’.9. seat of democracy

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Written application to appeal refused

We are disappointed but not surprised to find out that the written application to the Court of Appeal has been refused.

Solicitors Richard Buxton have taken note of the decision on what is known as the paper application.

You can read what the Judge said here: appeal refusal DOC016.

The appellant’s legal team intend to press the matter at an oral hearing as they are entitled to do. We understand it is not uncommon to be refused on paper and get permission at an oral hearing.

Fundraising continues through various means to ensure the chasm in spending power between both sides is narrowed.

Please donate if you feel able.  Thank you.

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Climate Change March

Please note we will NOT be having a meeting this weekend but we WILL be attending the Climate Change March on the 7th.  Please join us to help raise the profile of our campaign and meet others with similar concerns.

Details of the march can be found here.

A number of us will be going up from East Croydon Station at 11.15am, otherwise you can meet us at the assembly point at 12:30 gathering for set off at 1pm from Lincoln Inns Fields, London

We will be in Bloc 7 ‘people before profit’ (find your blocs here)

Any questions drop us an email.

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