Thursday, 5 August 2010

Biffa Bribe?

As promised representatives of NO2INCINERATOR attended the Plans Panel East committee meeting yesterday where representatives of Biffa, gave a glossy PowerPoint presentation on the proposed EfW Incinerator at the former Skelton Grange Power Station site.

Several pertinent questions addressed to the Biffa representatives by Councillors Lyons and Grahame went unanswered and it was very plain that the Councillors and local community representatives present were patently unimpressed by their performance.

When pressed on their plans to mitigate any negative effects of the plant on residents of the immediate and surrounding areas they eventually offered the possibility of a fund for community development at the derisory sum of 10p per tonne of processed waste over the lifetime of a 25 year contract, a possible £750, ooo, to compensate the community for the damage done to the environment, the blighting of our children's future and the stigmatising of the area as an incinerator hotspot! Biffa added though that if their plans for the 300,000 Tonne EfW (incinerator) plant were opposed and an appeal was required, even this derisory sum would be used as a Biffa fighting fund and the local community would get nothing!

It is not often you see a group of Councillors rendered speechless but the stunned silence following this remark was palpable in Committee Room 7 at the Civic Hall yesterday. After a collective intake of breath from the assembled Councillors the Chair, Councillor David Congreve (Labour) Beeston & Holbeck, made it plain to the Biffa representatives that the committee and its planning permissions where not for sale at any price and while Biffa backtracked a little on the implication they did not alter their position on this point.

The committee told Biffa to go away and consult more widely with community groups in the area who were obviously deeply unhappy with the ‘consultation’ process so far, but despite there being community representatives available to speak to at the meeting no attempts at contact were made.


  1. Well Biffa showed their true colours yesterday, thinly disguised threats of witholding money from the community. Well what you haven't got you don't miss and our community is used to having nothing anyway.

  2. I agree entirely. It will be interesting to see how the community consultation panns out.

    Tim R

  3. Biffa has a very well oiled, not to say slick, PR machine which pumps out lots of facts and figures but how easy they are to verify is a different matter.

    Just one of the many enlightening things to come out of the presentation yesterday was the interesting assertion that the system is largely self regulating with external monitoring by the Environment Agency. I don't think I was the only person there not to be convinced by their glib assurances that this meant the whole thing was foolpoof, nothing run by human beings is foolproof and there IS plenty of verifiable evidence of that.

    Regular and exhaustive inspection is the key to making sure things are done to the highest possible standards at all times and despite the Councillors asking we could not even find out how many Inspectors were employed let alone how often a plant might be inspected.

  4. What struck me was Biffas refusal to answer one particular question. Will they be bringing waste in from outside the area?

    There might be enough waste in leeds now to feed it, but packaging is reducing all the time and new materials used for transporting produce which are recyleable are being invented, add in a recession and VAT going up to 20% and the public sector redundancies coming up commercial waste will surely reduce. No company in its right mind will build a 300,000 tonne plant and want to run it at anything less the 100% capacity. They are a business not a charity and are motivated by money.

  5. AND before i forget 10 pence a tonne is an insulting amount to offer a community as compensation when they charge about £23 to empty a commercial waste bin of 8 cubic metres, whether it is half full or stuffed to the rafters. We may be a deprived community statistically but we are not stupid and some of us can count!!!!!

  6. I would rather have the Biffa plant which is further away from our homes than the Car Boot site or even the sewage works site.

    We're going to have to have one of these darn things, Skelton Grange is the best site. I think we need to constructively engage with Biffa rather than throw stones and make them think we are a rabble rousing mob, that way we'll be taken seriously.

    If we get community funding and assurances on emissions and questions answered on monitoring etc this could scupper the Council's municipal incinerator plans. Don't forget that these policians like to pander to the crowd as much as the Biffa people do. Reality is we will end up with at least one of these things, my preference would be for it to be at Skelton

  7. i agree, but it would be a guinea pig site, it would be biffa's first EfW plant. Its a big risk to take.

  8. I strongly object to being called part of a rabble rousing mob for standing up for the area where I live and the standard of life I and my family might expect.

    The funding on offer is only if we do not rock the boat, so if you are willing to keep quite and say nothing to upset Biffa then you might get it, then again you might not. It is still planned to go ahead with the council incinerator as well as this one, that is the two incinerators already working, plus the two proposed incinerators in a small area of Leeds.

    Biffa seem to think that they can bully or bribe people into giving up the fight to protect their community from harmful development with a small amount of money and misleading information on safety and it seems that for some that will work, for others however our homes and our children's futures are not for sale.

  9. Stop trying to be such martys, yes biffa are being offhand and unsympathetic but with a little more coersion and less whinging they will create a benefitial scheme. Stop focusing on money (or their lack of). Even as the proposition stands, the carbon release from the WfE plant is 0.05% of the carbon in comparision to the coal fired Skelton Grange plant, which was about the same as Eggborough. Make them consider a CCS scheme to reduce this carbon even further and see what they say