Friday, 2 December 2011
It was on last Monday, and it was good. Schools without light switches, that had to be illuminated day and night, hospitals having to pay their PFI costs first and provide care for their patients later, projects deemed unsuitable for use but paid anyway, by the taxpayer of course.
Please forgive the NO2incinerator for such blatant advertising! It couldn't be helped: this is essential viewing.
PFI has had its share of critics, and its load of bad press. Even the government, it seems, it's having second thoughts.
It makes us wonder, how is it that our Leeds City Council has seen or heard none of it.
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
It appears that the main bones of this project were decided in 2006 by the then Lib Dem/Conservative administration and that the Labour Administration is unwilling or unable to alter the course of this project despite the radically different circumstances now.
This situation seems to leave the residents of this ward with only one option left; the voters of Burmantofts & Richmond Hill need to elect a candidate who is willing to stand on an Independent ticket and actually reflect the wishes of their electorate. Party politics is clearly not working for the vast majority of the people of this area who are constantly ignored, and sidelined by all parties, witness the almost total annihilation of the infrastructure of this area and the lack of any investment in the quality of life or future of the residents.
Monday, 7 November 2011
|Artist's rendering of proposed incinerator|
However if you wish to make you position on the incinerator known come along to the meeting and have your say. There will be those who object to the whole idea of incineration as an outdated and unsustainable technology; those who object to its location so close to their homes who will be condemned as NIMBY's by those in leafy suburbs who want an incinerator but don't want it anywhere near them; those who object to the successful bidder Veolia on both the grounds of their health and safety record in this country and/or their behaviour in Palestine and finally those who object to the project being financed by a PFI contract which sees us buying this facility on the' never, never' given the rapidly falling waste stream which will be available to fuel this plant.
Monday, 24 October 2011
Cllr Asghar Khan
Thursday, 20 October 2011
Last week, the preferred bidder for the new incinerator in East Leeds, as well as the - by default - "preferred" location, were finally unveiled to the public.
The company will be Veolia and the site the former Cross Green Markets.
Needless to say this was NOT the news residents in East Leeds were hoping for.
Even though most of the local residents firmly oppose incineration and would prefer that the Council resorted in some other means of dealing with household waste, means such as more recycling for example, there is no doubt that ALL residents of Cross Green, East End Park and Osmonthorpe are appalled with the final choice of location, the nearest of the two "preferred" sites to housing.
With its choice, Leeds City Council shows a blatant disregard for the feelings and needs of the locality and a cynical approach to governance.
Moreover, it seems, Leeds City Council might end up regretting its choice for reasons other than the effect on the health and well being of the local population ( which, obviously, is not their first concern..).
Veolia, has been criticised by a number of different sources and for a number of different reasons, from human rights abuses in Palestine to poor safety record and for posing a financial risk.
Some of the arguments, we are reproducing bellow from the site http://wastedfood.co.uk
28 reasons to be against the Leeds Incinerator
1)Incineration burns material that could be recycled.
2)Leeds should recycle all 7 main types of plastic and glass. There is some debate as to the best method for processing textiles.
3)Incineration depresses recycling rates, several UK and EU studies have shown this.
4)The company chosen for the 25year PFI contract can only make profit if sufficient waste is burnt. The Sheffield incinerator recently had to apply for planning permission to burn waste from outside of Sheffield. Therefore the taxpayer may end up subsidising a company to burn waste from outside of Leeds.
5)Recycling provides more jobs than incineration and helps reduce the UK trade deficit.
6)Veolia have nearly been bankrupt within the last 10 years. Veolia is suffering from financial problems and recently had to end operations in 37 countries! Its share price is currently lower than the last time it nearly went bankrupt.
7)Veolia have a dubious safety record. Within the past 10 years several UK Veolia employees have been injured and two have died. They have been fined almost £500000 in the UK within the last 10 years and additional fines across the world.
8)Pulverised Fuel Ash (PFA) and flue/filter remains will be produced. 10-20% of material after incineration is still landfilled or has to processed further within Yorkshire. This involves extra transport or landfill.
9)Incineration will create particulate matter (PM) , NO2, Dioxins and various nano-particles which affects human health. UK resident life expectancy is shortened by several months due to PM.
10)Several studies have shown increased toxicity or amounts of carcinogenic compounds near incinerators.
11)Recycling rates in Leeds are 40%, this is woeful compared to similar sized cities. The best in the UK is currently a 70% recycling rate. It is likely that cities will improve on this 70% figure.
12)A food waste collection was initiated within Rothwell and has proved successful. This should be widened across the city to create economies of scale. The food remains should be used to generate power and/or compost.
13)Less than 50% of UK councils have a weekly black bin collection. This black bin could easily be changed to a green collection.
14)The council have secured £68M for a final waste solution, surely this money could be better spent on Anaerobic Digestion, Mechanical sorting plants or increasing the range of recyclables.
15)The incinerator(s) will be 42m high with a 65m tall chimney. One or both incinerators will be visible from parts of Beeston, Belle Isle, Burmatofts, Cavalier Hill, City Centre, Halton, Holbeck, Hunslet, Osmonthorpe, Middleton, Richmond Hill, Robin Hood, Rothwell, Temple Newsham, Woodhouse Hill and elsewhere.
16)The online petition has several hundred signatures and many groups oppose incineration. http://tinyurl.com/leedsincinerator In addition there is several hundred written signatures.
17)While the incinerator will generate electricity it produces twice as much Co2 as burning fossil fuels. There are much cleaner ways to generate energy. In addition landfill sites, while not ideal, often burn the methane produced from waste. Ideally Anaerobic Digestion etc should be used to process food or other wastes. Recycling also reduces the CO2 involved with mining/drilling. Organisations like CO2 sense and the carbon trust could finance these projects.
18)The incinerator will not help the council’s commitment to reduce C02 by 40% by 2020/1 compared to 2008/9.
19)UK & EU pollution and environmental legislation are becoming more stringent and could easily undermine a 25 year PFI incinerator.
20)Veolia has been involved with projects within Israel. The worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has many supporters. Within Leeds the Palestine Soldarity Campaign (PSC) has been vocal.
21)PFI deals are not cost effective in the long term and cost more than if the government directly borrowed the money.
22)Alternative funding for Anaerobic digestion or other facilities may be available through the Carbon trust and CO2sense.
23)Labour currently have the majority in the council. Despite opposing incineration while in opposition they are currently supporting it.
24)There is now a fight to stop a 2nd incinerator proposed by Biffa.
25)The bidding process is down to two bidders. Certain councillors fear they will be sued. However Councils in Hull and East Riding found last minute reasons. Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has even prepared a £20000 fund to fight a county council decision to build an incinerator. Several councils have recently found reasons to prevent incineration including: Cheshire East and Nottingham.
26)Traffic will be focussed on to one location.
27) It maybe a weak argument but incinerators are planned for Harrogate and Bradford, therefore there maybe overcapacity in the waste network.
To the above, we wish, at this stage, to add at least one more: the fact that WE DO NOT WANT IT!
Friday, 23 September 2011
PFI is on the news again, as hospitals all over the land are finding it hard to meet huge repayments every year, repayments of billions of pounds a year for some. As a result the hospitals will have to cut down on essentials and one way or the other, as the New Statesman prophetically said a couple of years ago, the taxpayer will once again foot the bill.
And it isn’t just hospitals: it’s schools, IT systems, housing or sewage and they all have two things in common. One, that the costs spiral out of control, from hundreds of thousands to billions of pounds, and two, that when things go wrong ( which they often do) it is very difficult to put them right!
And yet, our own City Council is planning to build a huge new incinerator using exactly that method of finance, a method that has proven to be costly and dangerous!!
When will they learn?
During the last forum meeting in Richmond Hill, once again, conveniently, there was no one available to talk finances.
We urge our councillors to reconsider, to calmly but diligently take a good look at the evidence and the experience of PFI schemes elsewhere in the country.
To quote Nick Cohen, “If you owe the bank £100, you're a debtor. If you owe £100m, you're a partner. The private finance initiative and public- private partnerships create de facto private monopolies. In utopian free-market theory, the customer can always shop elsewhere. With the PFI, the supplier has the customer by the throat”.
Let us learn the lessons from PFI projects, before it's too late!!
Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Richmond Hill Forum Agenda Papers
This is an important meeting and despite the lack of notice we would urge as many as possible of you to get to this meeting if you possibly can.
Waste Management is supposedly coming to this meeting as as we are nearly at the deadline for announcing the lucky winner of the PFI Incinerator contract lottery.
We need to be there and show the strength of our feelings on this matter. The time has come to stand up and be counted, not only for our area and our children's futures but for the future of the whole city.
Friday, 26 August 2011
19 September 2011
(NO VENUE ANNOUNCED YET)
Once again Waste Management is on the agenda for this meeting but this time it is listed as Waste Management Facility. Does this mean that the decision we have been awaiting regarding the naming on the lucky winner of the PFI 'jackpot' has been made, we just don't know?
We know that last time they did not turn up but this time we expect them to, when a venue is finally announced. The fact that the date of the meeting has been changed and that no venue has yet been confirmed, even at this late date, would lead those of us with suspicious minds to suggest that this meeting is not meant to be well attended - but we hope that that will not be case.
As soon as the venue is confirmed we will put it on the Blog, Facebook and Twitter and emailed to our friends so what this space.
We need to turn up and ask the awkward questions about this facility, its costs, its effects and its future that the residents of Leeds deserve to have asked
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
- It will not be the site - that has been decided;
- it will not be the winning bidder - that will have been decided too;
- it will not be the process to be used -that will have been decided
|Insp J Hawkes|
Thursday, 9 June 2011
We are now coming closer and closer to the final bids for this plant being submitted and quite soon after that it is proposed to award the PFI contract to the winning bidder.
Until we know who the winning company is we will not know where this plant might eventually be built. If Aire Valley Environmental win the contract the plant they want to build is proposed for the old filter beds at the Knowsthorpe Sewage Works, if Veolia were to win the contract they would want to put the plant on the site of the Old Wholesale Market at Cross Green right on our doorsteps.
Come along to the meeting, listen to what everyone has to say about the plans and the progress that has been made to date. Take this chance to make your own views known to the Waste Management Team and the local Councillors, ask questions, find out where we are with this project now, what total cost is expected to be, indeed what it has cost already and most importantly what we really need for the future.
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
The NO2Incinerator campaign took a stall at the Richmond Hill Family Fun Day at All Saints School field on Wednesday afternoon.
We gave out publicity materials on our campaign and collected 'footprints' for our STAMP IT OUT art project.
It was a great chance to talk to people in the area about the implications of the proposed incinerators in East Leeds and their possible effect on our area and to put across our point of view and also explain about the problems there have been with other similar projects around the country.
A great time was had be all and congratulations must be passed on to External Services who put on a truly entertaining event and the weather was, for once, on our side everyone seemed to have an absolutely fabulous time. The exotic creatures were a very big hit with everyone as you can see from the pictures in the slideshow.
Monday, 30 May 2011
The NO2Incinerator campaign will be at this community event to spread the word on the REDUCE, RE-USED and RECYCLE and to join in the fun.
We will be collecting footprints for our STAMP IT OUT art installation campaign, handing out balloons and publicity material and lollipops and hoping to interest both children and their in this important matter for all our futures.
Come along and enjoy the fun events, the result of some excellent work from the Extended Services team.
We are expecting a great time to be had by all.
Friday, 20 May 2011
Monday, 9 May 2011
Monday, 18 April 2011
|Asghar Khan Labour Candidate|
|David Hollingsworth Lib Dem Candidat|
As you know this is not the position of the NO2Incinerator campaign. We oppose the building of an incinerator full stop! We are convinced that this plant would prove to be grotesquely expensive particularly using a PFI formula to pay for it; that its inflexibility would make it unable to adapt to changing conditions and lifestyles and that its very presence would stop attempts to reduce, reuse and recycle household waste. Local enterprises which would provide many more local jobs as well as helping the environment and offering a more sustainable long term solution.
We have not so far received anything from either the Convervative candidate nor the Green Party candidate but when we do we will let you know where they stand on this issue.
Friday, 15 April 2011
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Monday, 28 March 2011
- Is your party in favour of the building of a Municipal Incinerator at either Cross Green or Knostrop?
- If elected will you personally campaign against an incinerator regardless of your party’s position on this matter?
The answers do not require any candidate to speculate on their opponent’s possible position or point out what they believe that was in the past, all they need to do is to state clearly and unequivocally what their own position is and that of their party is on this matter now.
We strongly believe that this issue is too important to be lost in the hurly burly of the local elections. This is a matter of great urgency and importance to the NO2Incinerator campaign, the residents of East Leeds and the people of Leeds generally. It will radically affect the future of every resident of the city for the next 25 years at least. This project will have environmental, regeneration, health and financial impacts across this area in particular and the city as a whole. It will affect how we are able to deal with a fluid and rapidly changing waste stream situation in the future because, if approved, this PFI project will have to be paid for regardless of whether it is used to capacity or not used at all and that must skew the debate away from the REDUCE, RE-USE and RECYCLE agenda.
We think it is excellent that this matter is being given a much higher profile and being more openly discussed across our Ward and the city as a whole, however at the moment this is a discussion which is generating considerably more heat than light and as electors we need and deserve clarity and complete honesty from those who do now, or would like in the future, to represent us. Tell us unambiguously where you stand on this very important matter - surely it is the least we can expect of those who claim to speak on our behalf?
Friday, 18 March 2011
Liberal Democrat Press Release 18 March 2011
It seems that the first thing to go up in flames in this debate is the idea that our politicians could work together to get the best results for the residents of the city of Leeds (their constituents) as this issue descends into the usual party political knockabout.
- Yes this project was started by a Lib/Con council who ran the process for more than 5 years, incurring costs of approximately £1M+ of Council Tax payers money during that time before losing control of the council in May 2010.
- No it has not been cancelled by the Labour Party
We have called on the Labour administration of the city to stop this project immediately. It is pointless of them to say "we did not start this project" at this point we don't care who stated the process what matters most now is who puts a stop to it; what matters now is that no more time or money is wasted on this project. This is a PFI project which could end up costing the people of Leeds a conservative £380M over 25 years. It is an inflexible and old fashioned technology which does not properly address modern waste stream issues or the rapidly changing situation in this and other industries or rapidly changing economic factors and people's changing lifestyles.
This is not a quick cheap alternative to landfill; it was never going to be that, we have to re-adjust our thinking and our own lifestyles to solve this difficult long term and very expensive problem. We must work harder at REDUCE, RE-USE and RECYCLE and turn problem waste into a valuable commodity in a world with dwindling natural resources and politicians of all parties MUST find the courage to tell their electorate the truth about the lifestyle changes that will have to be made by everyone in the future to really address this problem properly.
Perhaps if they all spent less time pointing the finger at each others policies they would have more time and energy to address the matters of real and immediate importance to the Council Tax payers of Leeds - or is that too much to hope for?
Thursday, 10 March 2011
The Waste management team tried to answer some of the concerns of residents, as did a representative of the Environment Agency and Planning department of LCC. We think it is fair to say though that there was no meeting of minds on the safety, advisability or necessity of this project.
We were told that the main cause of pollution in our area is the York Road [you will remember that the Inner East Link Road has just opened in our area – great that will be a big help with air quality!]. Though the EA will monitor air quality in our area, and if they think the project would raise emissions above presently accepted safe levels they could refuse a permit. However we do not know how they would assess the effect of so many projects coming into the area at once, 2 incinerators with the associated traffic together with the added extra traffic generated by the proposed warehousing and housing developments in the area is bound to have a substantial effect.
It was clear from what was said at the meeting last night that the PFI Incinerator plan is still going full steam ahead though the winning bidder looks like being announced in the autumn of this year and not the summer as was previously stated.
We were informed that a robust challenge has been made to one of the bidders, Veolia ES Aurora Ltd, because of serious concerns regarding their safety record globally and because of their association with the Israeli state in occupied Palestine which has caused UN and international condemnation of the company. We were told that this matter has been referred for legal oversight but we will keep you informed of any further information.
Full report of the Richmond Hill Forum
Monday, 7 March 2011
We are informed by a prominent local Liberal Democrat that if Labour wanted to, they could stop this plan dead in its tracks. He accuses them of hypocrisy and asserts that when Labour took power no contracts had been signed and we were still 4 years away from work starting on [the yet to be chosen] site. He does state that the council would face compensation claims from the bidding companies in the event of cancellation but puts no price tag on the total amount of those claims. (We have tried to get these figures ourselves by using FOI requests and by raising the question at both the Richmond Hill Forum and the Inner East Area Committee, so far without success, but we will keep after them).
He further asserts that the Lib Dems went along with the Waste Treatment project in the first place only because of the clear advice given by council officers stating that it was the best solution to the waste problem and that in their position Labour would do the same - so our question is; is Labour doing the same thing - are they following the same advice? He also clearly states that there would be no insurmountable obstacles to cancellation of the project if Labour wants to do it, so again, is he right?
We intend to ask all prospective candidates in the upcoming election for their position on this vital issue and, if given permission, we will publish their replies here. We have to say though that whilst the latest leaflet from the Labour Party speaks of their achievements in the local area and addresses national issues it does not mention the incinerator at all and considering the importance of this matter to the constituents in the Burmantofts and Richmond Hill ward in particular and the people of Leeds in general that is simply not acceptable. We need to know who exactly has the last word on the decision whether or not to build an incinerator and where, is it our elected representatives or their council officers, does the advice from council officers override the feelings of the councillors?
It seems almost everyone in this area is willing to state that they are not in favour of building the proposed incinerator at Cross Green and little wonder, as you can see from the map opposite, how near to densely packed housing it would be, but what happens if the bidder who favours that site puts forward the best bid from a council/council officers prospective?
(To enlarge picture simply click twice)
We need the answers to these questions now. As we understand the position at the moment the timetable is as follows:
The final two bidders are
Aire Valley Environmental who are proposing to build a facility at the current Knostrop sewage treatment site.
Veolia ES Aurora Ltd who are proposing to build a facility at the former wholesale market on Cross Green industrial estate
In the coming years the key dates are
Autumn 2010 – Consultation to update the public on the progress of the project
Spring 2011 – Final proposals from two bidders
Summer 2011 – Successful bidder chosen
Autumn/winter 2011 - Public consultation on planning application begins
Autumn/winter 2011 – Bidder submits planning application
Autumn/winter 2012– Planning decision
Spring 2013 – Construction begins
Summer/Autumn 2015 – Facility starts processing waste
If anyone has a different point of view to that expressed on this Blog or wishes to challenge any of the assertions made here in good faith they are more than welcome to submit items for publication refuting that point of view. They will be published in full and unedited as all material submitted for publication from all sources are, subject only to the proviso that the material is not profane, racist or attempts to incite either violence or other unlawful acts, alternatively everyone is free to comment on anything which appears on the Blog either anonymously, under their own name or using a synonym, again subject to the previous conditions.
We welcome open public debate.
Friday, 25 February 2011
RICHMOND HILL FORUM
Inner East Area Committee
Forum Date & Time: Tuesday 8th March 2011, 6pm
Venue: Victoria Primary School
1. Introductions and Apologies
2. Minutes of Last Meeting and Matters Arising
3. PACT – Neighbourhood Policing Team
4. Aire Valley Area Action Plan Consultation
5. NHS Leeds – Lung Cancer Campaign
6. Waste Treatment Facility update
7. Area Issues
• Selective Licensing
• East North East Homes
8. Area Committee Report
9. Any Other Business
10. Date and Time of Next Meeting
Thursday, 24 February 2011
As I resigned as Chair of Cabinet and an Executive Member over the issue of the incinerator you can be assured that I oppose both the incinerator and any PFI contract to fund one.
Cllr David Blackburn
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
I was not aware that there was to be a Municpal Incinerator in Richmond Hill. Please could you provide the evidence that this is now to be the case.
My understanding is that the proposal is for another one to be built near to existing ones in Cross Green.
As to the rest of your quesions. It is a question of how much residual waste is to be incinerated when all other options have been exhausted. I am in favour of recycling as much as is possible first. I would not be in favour of incinerating any more than is absoultely necessary.
Without the full picture it is not possible to make a commitment.
Cllr Ryk Downes
Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader
Otley & Yeadon Ward.
We find this reply extremely puzzling since the two sites remaining in the bidding process for the Waste Treatment Plant to be built by PFI credits which has been ongoing since 2005 will, according to the council's own consultation papers, be at either the Old Wholesale Market Site at Cross Green which in the Richmond Hill Ward and the Knostrop Filter Beds Site which, we have always believed, is in our Ward too depending on the winning bidder, we have made this assertion at most of the Richmond Hill Forums since 2007 and the 2 Public Meetings which we arranged without being corrected so we are not sure why this is being said now.
We are disturbed that according to figures supplied in response to our Freedom of Information request for costings on this project that from 2005 to April 2009 almost £1M was spent on this project, £10,000 of that on councillor visits to view different technologies and sites before councillors short listed the final two bidders, both of whom propose an Incinerator, but the details of this very important and expensive project do not seem to be very well known.
We await further clarification from Councillor Brett on whether the 2 sites are in the Richmond Hill ward or not.
Cllr John Illingworth, Labour, Kirstall Ward has written a very concise and well argued piece on incineration below:
When this comes to a vote in Council, and assuming that I am still a councillor, then I shall vote with the Labour Group. When people join a political party it is a package deal, and only occasionally can we cherry pick the policies we like. Some people pretend otherwise, but I prefer to tell the truth.
Before we get to that stage there will be a political debate, and here is the position that I shall argue:
1) Incineration is a confession of failure. It implies that we have given up on recycling, re-use and waste minimisation, and that we really can’t think of anything else to do with the stuff. I am particularly worried about agreements that tie us into fixed tonnages of waste to be burned, since this removes all incentive to do better.
2) I am not keen on landfill. Except for builders’ rubble and inert minerals, landfill is a toxic present to our children, which will leach heavy metals and belch methane for hundreds of years. It is also increasingly expensive. If we excavate existing mixed landfill sites, can we re-claim the landfill tax at the current rate?
3) For food (putrescible) waste, my preferred solution is to macerate and flush it down the sewers, followed by anaerobic digestion (to generate methane and soil improver) at the sewage plant. To work well, this means moving from a combined sewage system to a system that separates rain water from foul waste. I would like to do this. It would be expensive, but it would hugely improve river ecology and it would create a large number of manual construction jobs. There may be a need for these in the immediate future. I think this option would use less energy in the longer term than trying to separate and collect putrescible solid waste on a short collection cycle.
4) Clean dry metals, plastics, clothing and paper can all be recycled. We must expand the range of goods we accept, and our ability to handle mixed products to the point where all our clean and harmless waste goes in the green bin. Tetra Pak drinks containers are a real challenge, and I am not sure what to do with worn-out shoes. Residents should not need to examine pizza bases to see whether the plastic is a “5” or a “4” or a “3”…
5) Leeds could compost garden waste centrally, although we do ours locally, and spread it on our garden and allotments. We put all manner of stuff on our compost heap which supports significant livestock. Our cats kill the rodents and the magpies and crows eat the bodies. It is all part of nature’s recycling scheme.
6) For a small part of the waste stream (infected clinical waste, used incontinence pads and the like) incineration may be the only realistic option. I am unable to suggest a better solution for wet and dirty plastic bags. There comes a point where the stuff is so far gone that there may be no practical alternative. I don’t like incinerators close to housing, and a pelleted waste solution could allow the residual waste to be burned some distance away. I don’t like PFI – waste of money. This should be funded by a bond issue backed by land value taxation.
We would like to thank him for this contribution which we hope will draw sensible comment and opinion from a broad spectrum of opinion.
Monday, 21 February 2011
He has now come to the same conclusions we reached 5 years ago - that whilst landfill cannot continue as it is, incineration is most certainly NOT the way to go. He points out, as we have always said, that more and more recycling is becoming a much more desirable and economically viable option reducing any remaining waste to a very small and uncertain amount.
He also points out, as we pointed out to him at several meetings, that to sign up to a 25 year long PFI contract would be a very risky thing to do when we do not know what the future holds in terms of how much, and what kind of waste there is going to be.
This is heart-warming stuff, in fact we could almost have written it ourselves, oh hold on a minute - we did write it ourselves - on several Blog posts over the last year or so....
However the important thing now is that the councillor has, however belatedly, seen the light. We need to convince the rest of the council to do the same and point out that a decision to go ahead with this project would be disastrous both for the future of the city and its Council Tax payers.
I urge everyone to find out what their own councillor's opinions are on this very important matter and write to them and urge them not to go down this dead end path.
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Sign the petition here
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
Thursday, 27 January 2011
Those of you who read this Blog regularly you will know that, quite apart from our sincere misgivings about the long term safety of the incineration process in general and the negative impact this project will have on our area’s health and chances of regeneration, we are also deeply sceptical of the PFI process which is how Leeds City Council proposes to pay for their facility. The new Municipal Waste Treatment Plant PFI contact will run over a 25-30 year period.
As we have highlighted previously, there are many very well documented problems with other PFI projects around the country and it seems that as more and more are coming under close scrutiny they are failing to measuring up to the golden promise they once seemed to offer.
The Daily Telegraph is the latest newspaper to run an article by Andrew Gilligan on PFI contracts affecting schools, an earlier article in the Guardian by George Monbiot dealt with schools and hospitals – but across the board many of the conclusions are the same, even the influential Commons public accounts committee; warns of the danger these contracts can pose if not carefully monitored, and whilst private companies, by and large, seen do very well out of these types of deals that cannot always be said for the rest of us who it seems do not always get either value for money or a solution to its problems.
At first glance this PFI contract seems like a very good deal for the residents of Leeds. After all we get a new Waste Treatment Plant without having to pay up front. On closer inspection however it becomes apparent that this lifebelt is, in this case, made of concrete not foam. We have to commit to a long term contract lasting between 25-30 years, without knowing exactly how much waste and what kind there will be to process over that period of time.
The world is finally starting to wake up to the effects of our profligate lifestyle on the planet and its long term consequences for all of us: It seems more and more likely that measures taken by individual residents themselves; government and council initiatives to pressure big business; together with better education on this subject will reduce large amounts of the present waste stream over the next few years. No one is suggesting however that all waste will be eliminated, it won’t be but as more and more of the world’s scarce resources become financially viable for recycling it could reduce very substantially.
We the residents of Leeds however, once committed to this contract, will have to pay and keep on paying, even if we are not using this facility to its full capacity, thereby making it less efficient and economical to run, or indeed even if we are not using it at all because it has been superseded by improved technology, by no means an unreasonable suggestion given the time scales proposed and the pace at which technological innovation is moving, driven on as it is by commercial pressures to find ever more efficient and more cost effective methods of dealing with this problem.
For the lucky winner of our PFI contract it will be a win, win situation - unfortunately for the Council Tax payers of Leeds it may very well prove to be a costly and losing proposition, not only for those around today but for their children and possibly their grandchildren.