Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Are the Residents of Richmond Hill too Negative about the joys of having an Incinerator or two on their Doorsteps!

Well it seems we are - or at least according to Rachael Unsworth, School of Geography, University of Leeds, Director of LISI. Of course, she doesn't live or work in the area nor use its meagre public resources so that might just colour her judgement a bit. According to her:

"The perceived threat of incinerator proposals is unfortunately giving a negative reason for some community cohesion. There is clear tension here between spatial scales with the global, national and city-wide priorities re climate change and resource use clashing with local perceptions of social injustice in the siting of the facility. There is a lack of appreciation by the community of the change in the nature of incineration and of the potential positive benefits of the job opportunities that could ensue both in construction and operation."

So there you have it, the residents here are too stupid to understand that for the sake of the globe; the country; the region and the city we have to put up with these projects and our not perceiving the very positive benefits of having not one but two new incinerators in our area, indeed in some cases on our very doorsteps, is due to our negative, uninformed and incorrect perceptions and not to our genuine concerns regarding the projects themselves. In standing up for our community and our children's futures for the first time in a very long time and banding together to fight these projects we are dismissed as looking at these projects negatively.

It is clear this group only wants community cohesion if it is directed in a way they think is best for this area, an area they don't live in and know little about and care even less. The clear disadvantages this area suffers due to lack of infrastructure, poor quality private accommodation used to house more than our fair share of the challenging people the council has to deal with, poverty, unemployment and poor educational attainment are not to blame for the deprivation to be found here, it is all down to our incorrect perceptions, how patronising is that - talk about talking at us not to us!

These plants will bring jobs - will they - well how many exactly? According to Biffa after construction, which will be undertaken by a large multi-national company whose workers will come from across the globe, there will be precisely 40 jobs at the site, 25 of those for people with highly specialised skills not to be found in the local area so for the sake of 15 unskilled jobs the people of this area are being asked to put up with a large commercial incinerator operating 24 hours a day; 7 days a week; 52 weeks a year - some trade off! The proposed council site is smaller so we can guess that they will need even less local workers.

No2incinerator, the locally based campaign group, about which Unsworth has such negative feelings, does not accept the bland assurances about the safety of the proposed plants, the promised lack of disruption from traffic pollution, noise pollution and vermin infestation which we are worried will affect area and doubts the perceived benefits to the community of these kind of projects, such as the Community Money only on offer if the residents knuckle under and make no objections to the plans.

Since the start of this campaign we have made contact with many groups across the country with similar concerns about the value of incinerators in their communities, and whilst it is true that the vast majority of incinerators are placed in deprived and neglected areas like ours, there are some proposed sites in more affluent areas which are being fought tooth and nail by the local residents, none of whom see the golden future which will be brought about by unquestioningly accepting into their area a project which will not, indeed cannot be foisted on 'nicer' areas.

This is just another self-selecting group trying to manipulate the residents of this area to get their snouts in the public trough. Once again self appointed groups will claim to work on behalf of the residents to improve the quality of their lives, when in effect the only people whose quality of life will be improved will be those in these groups themselves, scooping up scarce public funds for once again telling people in this area what they should want and need but not listening to their concerns or opinions. However when push comes to shove and all the money is gone, they will have something shiny to put on their CV's but once again the residents of East End Park/Richmond Hill will be left holding another bag marked 'empty promises'.


  1. Well i may only be a humble rabbit but i have been to more community events in Richmond Hill than Dr Unsworth, shook the paws of all of our councillors and am probably better known than her and i think she has a blooming cheek to say that.
    My community is behind the NO2 campaign because it is RIGHT the council only think they can put it here because they PERCEIVE the community is too busy eating kebabs, whilst watching (or possibly featuring in )Jeremy Kyle with a fag in one hand and a can of special brew in the other! Well you are wrong, we will fight it, we have proved we are good at organising and community activism so chew on that Unsworth and keep you do-gooding nose out of my communities business.
    Those university do gooders ( not you Dr Stuart Hodkinson cos i know you read this blog) nibbling on their canap├ęs whilst sipping a glass of Riesling or two tend not to have to overcome the same problems as us. I think they should offer themselves up for examination – shall we pop round to her house and make a few judgements about her.

  2. It could of course be the fact that Urban Mines have offered the University Money for research?
    Are Uni's public bodies ? It may be time to FOI them to see if we can get any information.

  3. "At this stage, UM would like us to outline the nature of potential collaboration with Veolia and provide a letter of support"

    And you wonder why she was singing the incinerators praises

    Unsworth - Judas more like! Selling out a deprived community for money.


  4. I agree that this is hugely patronising. Where did she say all this. Can you post the link?

  5. Well to be frank being patronised is really nothing new to the residents of East End Park/Richmond Hill.

    I myself do not have a university degree, though perhaps surprisingly to some there are people in this area with at least one degree and sometimes more, but I do happen to actually live in this area and I have serious doubts about the quality of research likely to result if you start out with a pre-determined conclusion.

    If Vieola want letters of support from academics and the research does not show wholehearted support for their project what do they do?

  6. Put therm in the bin and pay somebody else to do some more - its multinational companies we are dealing with here.