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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Labour needs to get its facts straight

Jude Robinson, the only Labour Cornwall Councillor, has been complaining a lot about inaccurate blogs recently. A few days ago she blogged about the enrgy from waste contract. Perhaps Cllr Robinson should take her own advice and make sure that her own missives are more accurate before she attacks others?
Dear Councillor Robinson,
I read your blog about the current situation regarding the Incinerator at St. Dennis. My first comment is that it is a good rule of politics not to speak about subjects of which you have little or no knowledge. A fact apparent from mistakes in the blog.
Starting at the top, I think you will find that Lance Kennedy broke the rules on Purdah because he made a decision and announcement about a controversial issue after the date of publication of the election (20th March) and before the date of the first full council meeting after the election (probably 15th May). His statement could influence voters who might possibly vote for an anti-incinerator candidate, but would now change their mind, or a pro-incinerator candidate with a voter who was doubtful about voting.
Next, the contract with Sita was for an IWMC and was signed in 2006. This was during the "reign" of the Liberal Democrats, but so also was the decision in 2009 to refuse planning permission. The Lib-Dem dominated Planning Committee voted 22-0 to refuse permission on the substantive motion (the amendment was defeated 20 for 1 against and 1 abstain). After the vote Mr. Whalley said from that moment on, the Authority would be dedicated to following the wishes of the elected Members and would oppose the Incinerator. You conveniently fail to mention that during this period you were also strongly pro-incinerator.
The fuzzy nature of the "could have been a lot, lot better" and "St. Dennis people not treated as they should have been" suggests cynical fence sitting to try to get votes from both sides. You claim that the plus side of the Incinerator is that it "doesn't fill up the....... countryside"
Do you realise that at best there will be 22,000 tonnes of ash (some of it highly carcinogenic and toxic) and at the worst 66,000 tones of ash dumped in the Cornish Countryside and the most lethal bits in Gloucestershire? Similarly have you ever heard any opponent of Incineration claim that Landfill should be used instead?
You claim to be in favour of energy from waste without realising that this covers a large number of technologies including Anaerobic Digestion which does not require Incineration, does not produce any ash only usable compost, and the energy can be used anywhere unlike the restricted use of waste steam from an Incinerator. You clearly have not understood Climate Change. This is largely due to Carbon emissions, and in order of Carbon emission we have 1) Incineration 2) Landfill (due to Carbon sequestration) 3) at seventeen times less than Incineration - Anaerobic Digestion.
You seem to think that recycling will not do anything for climate change nor plug the energy gap. I suggest you start reading the reports by European Commissioner for Environment and Waste Janez Potcnik. He is the driving force behind Resource Efficient Europe, explaining that unless we recycle, we will use up all our resources including oil into plastic. The mining and manufacture of products from raw materials uses far more energy than re-use and recycling, and is thus not commensurate with a policy of sustainability. Cornwall Council laughably claim that Incineration is sustainable and Green!
The name of the site close to you at Scorrier is Hallenbeagle and the type of plant that will be built there is not an incinerator but a pyrolysis plant, yet another form of energy from waste. The reason that I do not favour this kind of technology is because it has a limited feedstock, being only able to use certain types of waste plastic and other organic matter (plastic is made from oil). During the process, which is contained in a near vacuum, depolymerisation gives rise to heavy tars, and unless these can be successfully reprocessed they are a difficult product for disposal.
Finally let me say that I do not live in St. Dennis, I am not a Lib-Dem, but as a trained scientist with a father who was an Industrial Chemist I do try to keep up with the correct facts on the subject. It might help Cornwall a bit if you did too.
Rod Toms.

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