Friday, 20 May 2011

“A Dose of Reality on Cornwall’s Waste” - part 2

Following the publication of Alec Robertson’s letter to Eric Pickles concerning the incinerator appeal, waste management has become the hot topic of conversation once again. This has included a blog from Labour Councillor Jude Robinson entitled “A Dose of Reality on Cornwall’s Waste.”

Jude talks about “posturing” and “nimbyism” which I consider inappropriate and totally unjustified given the consistent approach of local members from the China Clay Area such as myself, Fred Greenslade, John Wood and Des Curnow stretching back over a decade.

In particular, Jude states that: “Although opponents of the CERC insist that Cornwall can recycle more, they have just turned down the chance to improve Cornwall’s recycling in the new waste collection contracts.”

I would love some clarity on who Jude is talking about when she states that “opponents of the CERC … turned down the chance to improve Cornwall’s recycling.”

For the record, the decision to agree a waste collection contract with fortnightly recycling and weekly collection of black bag waste (rather than fortnightly collections of black bag waste and weekly recycling collections) was taken by the Cabinet, not any of the active opponents of the incinerator scheme.

At the heart of Jude’s blog is her uncritical acceptance of a recent statement from the Cabinet that the failure of the appeal and the cancellation of the Contact would cost local council tax-payers £322 million.

I simply do not accept these figures or the suggested timescales that it would take to deliver an alternative to the incinerator, and I believe I have been consistent in making challenges over many months when presented with the myriad of exaggerated costs as we argue for alternatives to incineration.

Also, one cost not talked about by either the Cabinet or Jude Robinson is the rising cost of the incinerator itself.

In 2000, councillors were told that a single incinerator would cost £40 million. When the Contract was signed in 2006, this had risen to £96 million with a price guarantee. With inflation, this increased to £113-117 million.

The failure to start the construction by March 2010 means that the price guarantee is no longer valid and recent estimates of the cost to build the plant are over £155 million.

Jude has a strong view about allowing the incinerator to be built, but this is not a view shared by all her Labour colleagues. Labour members on the former County Council opposed the scheme as did her fellow Labour PPC Charlotte Mackenzie (Truro and Falmouth).


max_s_1234 said...

Love to see your alternative to dealing with our waste then. Any plans?

Jude Robinson said...

Dick, I would like to make it clear that I was not having a pop at you in my blog. Or any of the other councillors who have stuck to their guns and made a principled stand.

We disagree about the CERC but I accept you have an opposing view and stand up for what you think is best for the area.

What really has made me angry is the way some Lib Dems have tried to cash in politically on opposition to this, knowing their own party signed the contract - actually asked for Sita to build the CERC on behalf of the council.

If they opposed it, they should have looked at alternatives instead of committing £427 million of council money and then trying to win votes for opposing it.

Personally I don't think this will be as bad for the area as you do - and I hope the well paid jobs bring some much needed cash to local people.