Sunday, 25 July 2010

Rewriting History?

Firstly we have to say that in choosing a heading for their piece on the incinerator that is so very much like our logo, we suppose you could say the Lib Dems are paying us a backhanded compliment however we want to make it crystal clear to everyone that this organisation has absolutelynothing to do with the Lib Dems whatsoever. They have not helped or encouraged us in our campaign to stop the building of an incinerator in our area in any way, indeed when we have raised our objections at both the Richmond Hill Forum and the Inner East Area Committee they have been dismissive of our opinions and hostile to our point of view.

Whilst now they are extremely keen on the line "Now't to do with me gov, its all down to the Labour Party" we say plainly that this is at best deliberately misleading and at worst a lie. It is true that the decision on whether to carry on with the advanced plans to put an incinerator in this extremely unsuitable area, to the clear detriment of the people living here now, rests with the Labour/Green alliance it is equally clear that the decision will be made on mainly financial grounds due to the amount of money already spent on reaching this point in the commissioning process, employing Jacobs to produce several reports on the subject (not least the one to snoop through your rubbish bins), site surveys, publicity, 'consultation events' and other ancillary costs together with any extra financial penalties which might be incurred if the project does not go ahead will eventually decide if this council, now Labour/Green can afford to cancel the project on which the Lib-Con coalition have spent so much of our money.

Anyone who has attended the Richmond Hill Forum since 2005 will know that this item has appeared on almost every agenda. At those meeting Cllr Brett repeatedly told the residents about the proposed 'Waste Treatment Facility', the word incinerator was never mentioned. At every meeting we have attended it has been made perfectly plain to our councillors that the people of this area did not want this project here, so near to our houses and schools and that we felt our area had been unfairly targeted for this project.

At no time did
any of the three Lib Dem Councillors stand up and say "we do not want this here either, we think that Cross Green/Knostrop is the wrong area to build an incinerator".

Now that a campaign has been started by local residents, which is gathering momentum and attracting media and political attention, they appear to be experiencing a sudden conversion to our point of view, accompanied by a severe attack of amnesia regarding events before the last round of local elections but fortunately we have the documents to help refresh their memories!

The Waste Treatment plant was the brainchild of the Lib-Con coalition, the criteria for choosing the sites was, in our opinion, skewed in such a way as to ensure that the project would end up on our doorsteps. Using their criteria this area turned out to be the only area in Leeds considered for the project, all
FOURsites found suitable by the Jacobs Reports being here and when they were whittled down to two sites, Cross Green and Knostrop, again neither at the Richmond Hill Forum nor the Inner East Area Committee meetings did ANY of the three Lib Dems stand up and say 'This is the wrong place to build it, we need to think again!

To say, as the leaflet does, that Labour are wanting to build this incinerator here, implying that it is their idea from beginning to end and the Lib-Cons have fought it tooth and nail is simply not true. Below are some extracts from the Minutes of several Richmond Hill Forum Meetings over the last couple of years that make it perfectly plain that our Lib-Dem councillors knew and supported this scheme wholeheartedly.

However at the last meeting of the RHF at Victoria School before the local elections in May of this year it was made very plain to all three councillors at a noisy meeting that the residents of this community were furious and felt let down by the position their councillors had taken on this matter. The meeting, in fact, voted by a majority of 37 to 1 against the sighting of an incinerator in the area. Co-incidentally this appears, from their leaflets, to be when their conversion to our point of view began.

Leeds Waste Strategy

Cllr Brett advised on the up-to-date position. He explained how the LCC tender system and bidding process worked and that the key criteria to any bid would be long term sustainability. He will keep the Forum advised of developments.

Residents raised their concerns about worsening smells from the seweage works.

Minutes of RHF 7 July 2008


Leeds Waste Strategy

Update report attached (appendix 6)

Appendix 6

Leeds Waste Strategy

Report to Richmond Hill Forum 2 September 2008

The bidder information day for the Residual Waste Treatment project took place on 24th July and was a well attended event with 180 delegates representing a wide variety of organisations and technological solutions, both potential bidders and from within the contractor supply chain, as well as a number of advisory organisations and banks. The event was intended to provide prospective bidders and other interested parties with information on the project, and to provide an opportunity for them to ask questions ahead of the commencement of the formal procurement process. Feedback from attendances on the event was universally positive, both in terms of its quality, the level of attendance and the council’s clarity of strategy. Earlier market soundings and attendance at the bidders’ day indicate that there will be a significant level of interest in the project. The procurement process formally commenced on 30th July with the publication of the contract notice in the official Journal of the European Union (OJEU)

Minutes of RHF 8 September 2008


Leeds Waste Strategy

Cllr Pryke reported that LCC had carried out a consultation on possible sites for the PFI Waste Treatment Project and 3 areas had been identified, all in the lower Cross Green area around the industrial estate. The tendering, and consultation with local residents had begun and a copy of a report on the current status of the residual waste project was made available to the Forum. Cllr Pryke to keep the Forum updated on this issue.

Minutes of RHF 6 April 2009


Information on ‘Leeds Waste Solution Update 5 May 2009’ was circulated to

the meeting (Appendix 6). Cllr Pryke promised to keep the Forum informed

regards this issue.

Minutes of RHF 1June 2009


Leeds Waste Strategy

Cllr Pryke updated the Forum on the Residual Waste Treatment PFI Project and explained that there are currently 3 bidders left in the process, all of them

are proposing to use a range of technology and site options. A copy of a written report from the Head of Waste Management is appended to these Minutes (Appendix 3).

By January 2010 there will be 2 bidders left in the process. The consultation process with residents will then commence and it is expected that a final decision will be made around August 2010. A planning application will then be submitted.

Residents were concerned that out of a possible 2,000 sites in which to locate the proposed plant, the final 4 were all in the lower Aire Valley. Concerns were also raised regarding smells emanating from any proposed plant and they would prefer LCC choose a site as far away from housing as possible.

Councillors confirmed that the site for the proposed plant had not yet been decided but confirmed it would be in the lowerAire Valley area and Skelton Grange was one of the proposed sites.

Cllr Pryke said there was no truth in the rumours circulating that the Neville Hill Rail Depot was a site for a railhead to ship waste from outside Leeds.

A resident requested that before the consultation process begins residents are supplied with full details of the technologies to be used so that detailed research can be carried out before a survey of residents commences.

Cllr Pryke will obtain information on the amount of tonnage and the types of waste currently being burnt at the existing incinerator sites within the Aire Valley for the next meeting.

Minutes of RHF 27 July 2009

We have to say that we are deeply disappointed by this latest tactic in what is clearly the political blame game. Perhaps we were very naive but we felt that, even though we did not agree with them, our councillors were acting on their sincere belief that an incinerator was good for this area, or if it did not help it would at least not do harm to it, but now it seems it was just down to political points scoring after all.

We will keep on campaigning to stop this incinerator because we think it is bad for our area and bad for the city of Leeds but we will not let anypolitical party high-jack this campaign for their own short term political ends - it is just too important to us and our children for that!

We are a non-political organisation, our members represent all shades of political opinion and none, our only interest is in stopping this incinerator being built because we genuinely believe it would be disasterous for our homes, community and our children's future and we believe that this whole process has been deeply flawed from the beginning.


  1. Well said No2!!!

    Our campaign gets more members by the day, the facts stack up against the PFI contract and we are gaining momentum. Plus with researching the facts we know that Leeds doesn't even produce sufficient waste to keep a decent sized one burning. Let alone four small ones

    FACT: You need an incinerator burning approx 700,000 tonnes a year to get the maximum energy recovery from EFW.

    Source :-: Defra, Economies of Scale - Waste Management Optimisation Study by AEA Technology, Final Report, 2007

  2. I think this is pretty standard knock-about local politics stuff. I agree it's not exactly massively generous with the truth, however the two Knostrop incinerators did go in under a Labour council.

    Just a question, is it politically neutral to say, in so many words, if Labour go ahead it's because those dastardly Lib Dems spent all this money on it?

  3. Well you may think it is pretty standard knock-about stuff for politicians to try to deceive the electorate but I think it is one of the reasons that the general public hold politicians, both local and national in such contempt.

    With regard to your question about the possible political bias in the statement regarding the Labour/Green Coalition having to continue on with this scheme because to do so would mean that the large amount of money already spent would be lost, further financial penalties would be incured and we still would not have a viable way to deal with the unre-cycled waste, is this statement politically biased - well no not if it is true


  4. So what has Councillor Graham had to say on the subject? I am struggling to remember what his election leaflet said.

    Incidentally I have absolutely no party political ties or affiliation.

  5. I don't know what Cllr Grahame has had to say on the subject, I did not receive a leaflet from him in the run up to the election but I am more than willing to ask him to state his position on this matter without the "standard knock-about local politics stuff" along with our other two councillors.

    I am really tired of this endless buck passing politicians of ALL parties engage in.

    This incinerator is not a joke to us or a stick to beat 'the other parties' with, to us it is important. We feel that it is a serious threat to our community, our children's future and our chances of attracting regeneration to the area.

    Like you I too am not attached to any particular political party.