26 Feb 2013

Green attempt to scupper incinerator

At Javelin Park

Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Party members backed a motion put down by Cllr Martin Whiteside (Green, Thrupp) and seconded by Cllr Paul Denney (Lab, Cam West), which called for the authority to investigate whether it could legally withhold its black bag rubbish from Glos County Council and find a better way to dispose of it.

The motion was about noting the actions of West Norfolk District Council Waste collection Authority, who have entered into a contract to process their black bag waste/resource, outside of the waste disposal authority, Norfolk County Council - it is not plain sailing but the motion only sought to investigate the possibilities. With falling black bag waste/resource volumes and rising resource values, it is key to see whether such an option would benefit the council tax payers of Stroud District by providing a lower cost and more flexible approach to processing over the next 25 years. Indeed we have a responsibility to look at best options for recycling. It is extraordinary that GCC are tying us into  a 25 year contract when waste technologies are developing at such a pace....

The SNJ have been great at reporting on the incinerator - here's some of their report on this issue below in blue (see full report here) - but first I wanted to respond to Tories who asked why as the administration was a motion bought to Council.....the administration could have just done it....well setting aside that the Exec member was away at the time and we needed to act fast this was a taster for how the committee system might work - ie all councillors getting involved in decisions - but more importantly this is a key issue with the electorate and it is absolutely right that they hear these discussions in the open and not behind closed doors. I also think GCC need to hear the debate - they have been very poor indeed at responding to SDC's letters and requests (you can see Glos County Councillor Sarah Lunnon's comment on last weeks GCC meeting here)....interestingly the Conservatives had a host of comments to make at Full Council and the debate lasted over 45 mins - so perhaps they did welcome the opportunity to discuss after all? Indeed at least one local District Council Conservative declared they were in favour of the incinerator!

The vast majority of the Conservative group on SDC, which has twice objected in the past to the incinerator scheme being pursued by their Tory colleagues on the county council, abstained. Their refusal to endorse the motion prompted jeers from Labour, Lib Dem and Green Party councillors.

During the debate, Cllr Chris Brine (Lab, Stonehouse) challenged the Tories to support the motion, saying the council had talked the talk and now it was time for it to walk the walk.
Introducing his motion, Cllr Whiteside said: "The question is can we do more than just complain about the incinerator? The question is do we have to send our waste to a system our communities do not want?"

Cllr Whiteside said the Localism Act might let SDC hang on to its waste and send it to recycling providers instead of passing it over to GCC as it does now. He added that if SDC was able to withhold its waste from GCC, it could invite other local authorities opposed to the scheme to do so, potentially throwing the project into doubt. 

Cllr David Drew (Lab, Paganhill) said: "If this authority says it is not prepared to send its waste to this monstrosity then the whole case for it will fall apart." 

During the debate, former mayor John Marjoram (Green, Trinity) hit out at Stroud MP Neil Carmichael, saying it was 'disgraceful' he was not supporting the incinerator call-in campaign. In a statement supplied to the SNJ ahead of the meeting, the Conservative leader Keith Pearson (Upton St Leonards), said his party felt the motion was not ‘properly timed’ and did not need to be tabled for SDC to look at whether it could withhold its waste. 

Cllr Nigel Cooper (Painswick), one of two Conservative councillors to vote against the motion, said he believed the incinerator would be ‘safe, economical and environmentally sound’.

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