UPDATE ON ANTI-INCINERATOR CAMPAIGN
MEETING OF HERTS COUNTY COUNCIL TUES NOV 24
A number of items at this meeting were relevant to the anti-incinerator campaign.
Some campaigners were in the public gallery.
1. Adoption of the Minerals and Waste Development Scheme
i. The Conservative majority voted to adopt this scheme, with Labour and Liberal Democrats abstaining. The plan includes the Waste Core Strategy (adopted in Nov 2012) and the Waste Sites Allocations Document (adopted in July 2014). A Minerals Local Plan is also part of this scheme, and there will be a review of the existing minerals plan during 2015 to 2017. The Waste Core Strategy and the Waste Site Allocations Document have to be monitored annually through the Authority’s Monitoring Report.
Campaigners know that this monitoring is important, so that the Waste Core Strategy and Sites Allocations are updated in line with any relevant new legislation.
Of course we remain opposed to the inclusion in the Waste Sites Allocations Document of New Barnfield as a possible site for waste management.
ii. The council also plans to produce a supplementary document on Employment Land Areas of Search (Areas of search for possible waste management facilities). There will be public consultation on this in May-June 2015.
Paul Zukowskyj, county councillor for Hatfield South, raised the importance of the ELAS plan not being constraining, so as not to stop possible waste sites on employment land coming forward. He also pointed out that HCC is using very outdated software for mapping.
2. A Question on the Report of the Executive Member for Highways and Waste Management (Terry Douris)
Maureen Cook, county councillor for Hatfield Central, asked why Veolia was given special preference, and why the contract with Veolia was not terminated and other organisations asked for plans for waste management alternative to the New Barnfield incinerator plan. She said that even Grant Shapps M.P. says that asking Veolia for an alternative scheme is not appropriate, and Veolia are currently attacking the people of Hatfield because of their legal challenge (to be made at the High Court on Dec 16th).
Terry Douris replied that Veolia are not being given special preference. HCC have given them 6 months to provide a Revised Project Plan, and HCC can then decide.
He said that Veolia’s argument is “with the Secretary of State, not with the people of Hatfield”. He said HCC are not part of the legal challenge.
When Maureen Cook asked again why the contract with Veolia is not being terminated now, Terry Douris replied “We have a contract with Veolia and we would be failing in our duty if we don’t explore all options within this contract.”
3. Indirectly relevant to the anti-incinerator campaign was a question to the Exec Member for Customer Services, Performance and Libraries (Frances Button).
A consultation on Libraries is still in progress, until Dec 7th.
This Consultation is relevant to the anti-incinerator campaign, as the relocation of the Central Resources Library left Hatfield with greatly reduced library provision. Campaigners hope that the Hatfield Town Centre library will have an increase in hours of opening.
The questionnaire is on http://www.hertsdirect.org/services/libraries/inspiringlibraries
The first question asks your view on Hatfield Library being a “tier one” library, that is in the list of libraries with the broadest stock and open for the longest hours. We support this strongly.
4. Exec member for Resources and Transformation, Derrick Ashley, was asked by councillor Paul Zukowskyj if the council believes in global warming and its effect on climate change.
This question arose because the Conservative majority had earlier deleted a reference to global warming from a Lib/Dem motion about prevention of possible flooding.
Derrick Ashley replied that HCC were dealing with the effects of climate change and committed to carbon reduction, and then said "whether climate change is a result of global warming is a matter of opinion".
Campaigners are concerned that someone carrying the responsibilities that Derrick Ashley has apparently does not believe that there is global warming. The response suggests HCC administration is becoming increasingly sceptical despite the scientific evidence becoming ever more concrete, leading to real concern that carbon reduction targets will be shelved or dropped by them.