Monday, 24 October 2011

Comments from Council Khan on a proposed incinerator in the heart of his ward

NO2incinerator have received an email from Councillor Asghar Khan, the newest councillor for our area, stating his position on the building an incinerator at the old wholesale market at Cross Green:

"The Council has decided to build an incinerator and decided upon a preferred supplier.  The preferred supplier wishes to build the incinerator on the old Market site identified by the Liberals/Tories when they ran Leeds. Your then Liberal Councillor and Leader of the Council, Cllr Brett agreed that site in 2007.  As your local Labour Councillors we will argue vigorously against the proposed site being used and lobby Council officials to ask them to identify an alternative site.  We will not support the building of an incinerator on the Market site.
Thank you"

Cllr Asghar Khan
Labour Councillor for
Burmantofts & Richmond Hill ward
Tel: 0776 123 0027

Well that's hardly a definitive statement on the efficacy of incineration in the 21st century nor a denial that he does not want ANY incinerator in our area!  What do our other two councillors say on this matter?

No one with an genuine interest in the future of this area, or for that matter any of the areas downwind of the 2 existing and 2 proposed incinerators thinks this is a good idea.

Friends of the Earth, NIL, UKWIN and other bodies have brought forward large amounts of evidence that indicate incineration as a technology is NOT the win, win option that its proponents claim it is.

Others, like Dr. Stuart Hodkinson of Leeds University, whose is an expert on PFI finance have pointed out the glaring disadvantages of this method of paying for such a long term project for the Council Tax payers of Leeds.

All of this is to no avail, this Labour council is no more willing to listen to the opinions of local residents than the last Lib/Con administration was.

Previous 'consultations' with some of the residents of the affected areas repeatedly returned a resounding NO to another incinerator in this area but since this was not the answer required it was totally ignored.  Minutes of the Richmond Hill Forums from 2006 onwards repeatedly state the strident opposition of local residents to the building of this plant anywhere in East Leeds but again this point of view went totally unheeded.

A new 'consultation' will now be started by Veolia, why -  they have decided the place, the size, the method, the hours of operation of the proposed plant - exactly what is left to 'consult' about, will they not build it if we say we don't want it, of course not?  This 'consultation' will be exactly the same as previous ones carried out by Leeds City Council consisting largely of asking as few people as possible loaded questions on hotly contested statements and totally ignoring any answers which do not give the 'correct' answer!

It is certainly true that this proposed plant is the very worst possible option the council could have chosen for the areas of East Leeds which will be most affected, either directly or indirectly, by this plant and no matter how Veolia attempt to disguised it an incinerator is still an incinerator whatever they call it  and it is still proposed to put it in the very heart of the most deprived areas of East Leeds unless we stand together to oppose this new blight on our communities.

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

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. 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!