Both of the parties likely to win here tried to use the anti-incinerator campaign to their advantage but neither would rule out the possibility of an incinerator here in the end.
We have been told by the winner Asghar Khan that he is personally not in favour of an incinerator at Cross Green but then neither are the Lib Dems, hardly surprising really since any other statement would have guaranteed the loss of a huge numbers of votes locally as they must surely have heard the very strong and vocal opposition here to the plan.
However we may still end up with a plant there or at Knostrop even if all the councillors in this ward and most in the wards surrounding that are likely to be directly affected don’t agree because at the end of the day it will be the decision of the whole council which will decide the matter and other councillor’s first concern may very well be “well so long as they don’t build it in my nice area, what does it matter?”
We are repeatedly told that this is/was a heavily industrialised area in the past so does this mean that the not inconsiderable numbers of people currently packed into this area don’t count? Can you put what you like here now regardless of the effect on the area or its residents because these people have been treated badly in the past so it is alright to ignore them and dismiss their justifiable concerns now?
We, of course, don’t agree but this is not a NIMBY issue for us, we don’t want to inflict an incinerator on any other area of the city either nor do we don’t want to mire ourselves, our children or our grandchildren in debt paying for an outdated technology to burn scarce and valuable resources in an unsustainable way.
We ourselves have suggested several schemes to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE waste together with schemes to get more kerbside collections of specific waste streams with a carrot and stick approach which would reduce even further the amount of waste which would have to be burned or sent to landfill.
We know that the Lib Dems spent almost £1M in getting the project to May 2009 (FOI request) and they themselves say that the Labour controlled council has or is going to spend £1M, though they don't provide proof of this figure, but with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (trying to stop the contract going to Veolia) raising legal questions and the chance that Veolia will appeal if stopped from bidding this whole thing could end up costing the Council Tax payers of Leeds a not so small fortune trying to back what we are totally convinced is the wrong horse.
Despite the fact that the plans are well advanced and that huge amounts of money have already been spent we feel that this is the wrong option financed in the wrong way and we will keep on campaigning to stop this expensive mistake from being made.
It is our hope that now the bye-election is over that this matter can be discussed in a more adult and sensible way. NO2Incinerator is not FOR or AGAINST Labour; it is not FOR or AGAINST the Lib Dems it is AGAINST INCINERATION! We will not stop our campaign on this matter, despite attempts to put pressure on us, to do so. We will continue to gather information, publish views on this subject and hope to change the minds of those with the power to stop this project since we firmly believe, on so many different levels, that incineration is a 19th century technology that does not hold the solution to the 21st century's waste problem in the long term.