Since Labour has shown the principled leadership to make all efforts to stop the development of the incinerator, one of the main criticisms has been that Labour would be saddling the County Council with a huge bill for cancelling the contract. For me, this is another example of arrogant bullying and misinformation from the Tory Administration. They are scared because there is enough bad feeling about the cavalier way that democracy has been cast aside that Labour will win the vote to cancel the contract.
Lets be absolutely clear, it should be no surprise that Labour is against the incinerator, we have consistently campaigned against it for a long time. So to utilise what is essentially the last tool in the box should be no surprise. Taking the principled stance against what has been a sham of democracy, with no scrutiny, and turned down by all of the planning committee
If enough Councillors listen to their residents and vote in support of cancelling the contract then it is the Tory administration who will have bought these cancellation costs, because of the crass way they have dealt with any objection that didn’t suit them. This Administration seems to know the Cost of incinerator, but not the Value of a good waste solution for our county.
Many people may not know that:
- The Tories cancelled an MBT contract when they came into administration
- The Tories campaigned hard against incineration before they came into administration (The convenient program delay helped people forget about that commitment)
- None of the Heat Energy that is usually utilised from this type on plant will be used – it will be wasted.
- The majority of the planning committee members were Tories, and it was a unanimous decision against it
- The Secretary of State himself has distanced himself by blaming the decision on a junior minister
In no way am I advocating that we keep putting waste into landfill, that isn’t good for the environment, for residents of Hempsted not to mention the landfill tax. But we do know that there are other options, that so much has changed even in the past 4 years about how to deal with the waste and how more money can be made by taking a systems approach, rather than a one size fits all solution. Revenue can be generated through waste brokerage, not to mention which is a good driver to having a waste sorting facility. If we look at the wider issue, the fact that the county have no control over the waste it receives from the districts, and that the 6 Gloucestershire districts do their recycling in different ways is a major issue when it comes to dealing with our waste.
There is going to be a lot of heated debate about what is the cheapest option, but we need a waste solution that actually delivers a more efficient recycling process, that makes the most revenue for our budgets, that treats the waste in the most efficient way and that reduces the risk of harm to our residents and to the environment as a whole.
What happened to Tory promises of a “big society approach”, more local community engagement and decision-making. Clearly its all fine when volunteers are having to pick up the shortfall in vital services, but when true democracy that they don’t agree with is exercised, the “big society” is quickly brushed under the carpet. If this continues, then it is no wonder that local people are so disenfranchised with politics, because what is the point!
If the vote is won at the extraordinary meeting, while Labour have led the charge, the true winner will be local democracy.