Friday, 25 February 2011

Waste Incinerator on Agenda at Richmond Hill Forum Meeting

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

Minutes of last Richmond Hill Forum

Thursday, 24 February 2011

This Green is against it too

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.

Best regards

Cllr David Blackburn

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Another response from a councillor

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.

kind regards

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.

The First Councillor Responds

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

Lib Dem Councillor has change of heart!

We understand that Cllr Richard Brett who has previously backed the PFI incinerator project in his Richmond Hill Ward, he says reluctantly, for the last 5 years has now had a huge change of heart.

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 On Line petition against incinerator

Please click on the link below and if you agree sign the petition against an incinerator. Please tell your friends and family too. This is no time to sit on the fence it is our and our children's future we are fighting for!

Sign the petition here

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Lib Dems, the Incinerator and the 'Facts'

Contained in the latest propaganda offering from the Lib Dems to drop through our letterboxes is a little gem entitled Campaigning against Labour's incinerator plans with the sub title Don't trust Labour on the Incinerator!

It contains 3 so called 'facts'

'Fact' 1 Before last year's Local Elections Labour campaigned AGAINST an incinerator on Cross Green

'Fact' 2 Now the new Labour Council are pushing forward with plans FOR an incinerator at Cross Green

'Fact' 3 Only the Lib Dems will fight the Cross Green Incinerator - Labour just say one thing but do another

The bare faced hypocrisy of the last 'fact' quite frankly leaves us speechless considering most of the decisions taken by their party leadership since joining the coalition!

However here are some other facts on the incinerator

Fact 1 This programme was initiated in 2005 by the Lib Dems/Conservative coalition running Leeds. All FOUR of the sites considered were in Richmond Hill, much to the anger of local residents made very plain at numerous Richmond Hill Forum meetings and Cllr Brett was on the committee overseeing this process.

Fact 2 NO2Incinerator discovered, through a Freedom of Information request, that the Lib Dems/Conservative coalition, in which Cllr Brett occupied the position of either Deputy Council Leader or Council Leader, had spent at least a truly staggering £954,463,000 from 2005 up to April 2010 in preparation for the incinerator, though we suspect that the costs might actually be much higher.

Fact 3 The Labour councillors who stated their opposition to the building of yet another incinerator in our area still, as far as we are aware, hold that opinion. The council has, far from pushing forward with an incinerator at Cross Green, not yet come to a final decision on the matter.

This is a very important matter for the residents of this area and the city as a whole, with widespread and possibly serious consequences for the those living here and we do not appreciate it being used as a political football by parties in the upcoming election, but if you are going to put out these 'facts' at least make sure that they are true and complete.

Labour did not start this process - the Lib Dems/Cons did, Labour did not keep it going incurring costs of nearly £1million - the Lib Dems/Cons did, and Labour are not now trying to pretend that the whole thing never ever had anything to do with them - the Lib Dems are.

We, the electorate, expect and certainly deserve to be treated better by those who seek to represent us. Behaviour like this is why politicians are held in such low esteem by the rest of us.