Monday, 7 March 2011

Will Labour come clean?

It is the unequivocal position of the NO2Incinerator campaign that Leeds City Council’s plans for a PFI funded incinerator at either Cross Green or Knostrop should be cancelled immediately. It is the wrong technology in the wrong place and besides being too expensive it lacks the necessary flexibility to meet the ever evolving waste disposal situation we will find ourselves in over the 25 years of the contract.

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.


  1. We need to scrap the project altogether this is not the way to go. Collect more recyclables, incentivise local people to do more recycling and RE-USE, REDUCE and RECYLE and turn a problem into a valuable resource.

  2. SCRAP THE PROJECT - if any politician in LS9 or Leeds for that matter wanted to retain an ounce of dignity this procurement should be stopped NOW.

    Cllr Brett - after years as Leader of the liberals and council seem to have acquired a very selective memory, suddenly decides he is anti incineration at exactly the time he decides to withdraw as a candidate for the election. Nice one Richard thats your integrity down the pan.

    Cllr Pryke is as vitriolic and nasty as ever when provoked (and him an ex vicar as well shame on you Ralph) - I understand why you dont want your emails printed - they make anything No2 Incinerator writes look like a ladybird book.

    Cllr Grahame - well what can i say. Obviously elected on an anti incineration ticket and has failed miserably to perform. The first labour propaganda of the election is so bland as to be worthless. Time to buck up Ron or your first term will be your last.

    Lessons will be learnt from this - the residents of LS9 will trust nobody in future. And what happens if the BNP or EDL stand on a NO2 Incineration ticket - what mess will we be in then, if this is the crap that politicians make i am all in favour of localism - because the three councillor elected in Richmond Hill should ALL be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. YOU have all let your community down - and then the liberals have the barefaced cheek to send emails in the middle of the night saying we are nasty about them. What part of WE DIDNT ASK FOR THESE INCINERATORS TO BE PUT IN ARE WARD _ YOU DID dont you understand.

    And for once the people of Richmond Hill are fighting back and what do we get - told we are libellous, told to play nicely as we all have to be neighbours - codswallop , this is my community, its health and future you are all playing with i will not allow this riduculous ovepriced white elephant to be built in my area,

    If you were real men any one of you we wouldnt have snide emails sent at 3.36am in the morning by your lackeys you would put your words in public on this blog for all to see. A least No2 Incinerator goes behind nobodies back

    Sarah Covell

  3. What - are you saying the Lib Dems in your area tried to stop freedom of speech?

    This is an outrage, makes you wonder who else and what else they have tried to stop; especially as your ward was solid liberal for years and has been lacking community groups and participation- it also explains why friends of east end park has been so well funded recently - thats a solid liberal society.

    Good for you sarah, you are correct in your assumption they are not real men and the are certainly not fit for office and i have been a liberal voter for years - not anymore though.

    Jason C

  4. I feel that it is very important not to lose sight of the main point here which is the incinerator!

    It seems that the Waste Management Team in Leeds are locked into the incineration idea, we need to have some new thinking on this matter.

    The technology is wrong and the price (due to PFI) is going to be astronmical. I know we have to sort this problem out now but I do not see the point in rushing into a contract for 25 when we are not really accurately able to predict the waste situation even 5 or 10 years ahead.

  5. Alleged councillor U-turns and local government letting down the communities that elected them and they purport to work for - now where have I heard that before? Similar stories run in every ward in this city!

    In these days of austerity, what gain do we as tax payers get for this ridiculous waste incinerator? Even poorer health in a ward with poor health to start with? Increased traffic in an area that already has a major A-road running through it and a high percentage of children? And all so the council can take on a few 'green' credentials and stop sending so much to landfill!

    Mr Councillor, there are much better ways to increase your standing with the environmentalists!

    So if the local government are dead-set on this inexcusable waste of money (lets face it - this is just a big bonfire - a service which a few residents of various Leeds Wards would be happy to provide free of charge) why not consider other Leeds Wards? Alwoodley? Chapel-A? Rodley? oh yeah sorry where are my manners - those are affluent areas - we couldnt think of upsetting Mr and Mrs Smith with 2.4 children and an Acorn rating of AB. LS9 perdominatantly contains indivuals classed as N or O (63.3% classed as 'Hard Pressed') so of course the residents should just shut up, be grateful they have a place to live and go back to spending their 'jobseekers' on cans of Super Strength. Isn't that right Mr Councillor?

  6. We need more transparency and more information from the Leeds City Council.

    The selection of sites seemed dodgy to begin with, as the only positive thing about them from LCC perspective was that it owned them both.

    Existing housing is to be "dealt with" ( according to the Jackobs report) and the Aire Valley Area Action Plan is conveniently beeing "revised" with areas previously considered for housing removed.

    I would like to ask, how do the plans for a new incinerator fit in with the Aire Valley Area Action Plan? How much the changes with the AVAAP had to do with the incinerator and how much the whole plan has cost so far.

    The list of questions seems to be endless..

  7. Arent the Nevilles still coming down to make way for "employment uses" - aka a depot to bring waste in via rail?

    The planning permission that was recently extended for warehousing openly admitted that there was no public transport to the site - and we know not many locals have acccess to transport, so no jobs for Richmond Hill will be created.

  8. To the tune of the Red Flag

    The rubbish burned is deepest red
    The fumes will flow o'er every head
    Of many in our ward and then
    Will flow o'er many more again
    We do not want to burn our waste
    Oh PFI repent with haste
    The voters in the ward will say
    We’ll vote for Greens another day

  9. It troubles me greatly that elected councillors are so afraid of free speech that they threaten to sue. Didn't some politician once make a comment about heat and kitchens?

    Cedric Rex.

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