Waiting With Faith

The inquiry has finished and now?  This week was the last of the inquiry. Closing statements were made on Tuesday and the Inspector’s accompanied site visit was on Wednesday.

Closing Statements

I don’t want to go into depth on the statements, but we were happy with both ours and the Council’s closings. Regarding Sky’s closing statement and subsequent decision to attempt to rebut ours on an almost paragraph by paragraph basis, we should consider this the sincerest form of flattery.. there must have been something of value to rebut? It seemed in my subjective opinion that instead of pushing the benefits of the application and standing behind the strength of their experts technical evidence, they spent much more time trying to cast doubt over the expertise of the witnesses the opposition had presented. I guess this is just one of those planning inquiry “games” that the barristers occasionally referred to during the process.. if you fail to disprove the evidence, attack the witnesses credibility.  Either way, the Inspector has all the evidence now and given the thorough and fair manner in which he has conducted the inquiry, we can expect the decision to be made on the basis of the evidence rather than petty snipes at our witnesses.

Site Visit

Both myself and Councillor Stone attended the site visit, along with representatives from the Council and Sky. During the morning we walked the Canal and had a good look around the Green Lane area. There was one thing that we didn’t see that struck me as important and that was HGVs. In the 2-3 hours (9am-11:30ish) we spent around Green Lane.. we only saw 2 HGVs.  This presented a stark contrast with the 800-900 HGVs per day Sky suggested were currently using the road. It was also good to stand on the site too. While much focus has been put on discussing the stack, the enormity of the other buildings becomes much more clear. The sizable buildings on the O’Connor site are actually only half the height of the proposed buildings and that doesn’t include the height of the stack. They really would dominate the area.

Going to JWS in Salford confirmed this too, the processing buildings are huge (about 20-25m high). The visit re-enforced some of our concerns around the proposal. On arriving we were given a Health & Safety presentation where we could see all the processes and procedures the company claims keep it compliant with regulations. Immediately after, we walked out of the office and were met by a JWS collection truck carrying a skip full of rubbish, open and un-sheeted. When noticed, the Operations Manager for JWS told us that it should have been sheeted and that the driver should get a disciplinary for the non-compliance. The driver obviously hadn’t read the numerous policies and procedures neatly pinned all over the JWS office walls. It begs the question, if an operation fails to get it’s own employees to comply with such regulations, what luck are they going to have with contractors? Not the greatest start to the visit and with the following display of an overfilled processing building, with waste pouring out of the door into the open air.. things didn’t get much better.

The end of the JWS visit formally concluded that part of the inquiry.

The Wait

I’ve had countless people approach me in recent days to ask whether or not the development will be stopped.  The answer is that we simply don’t know.  Starting the inquiry it seemed like common sense. Of course the Inspector will dismiss the appeal.. when you look at the area, it’s aspirations, existing traffic, air quality and health problems, the development just doesn’t make sense.  But, having heard Sky’s witnesses skillfully massage statistics and selectively include/exclude information to present their message in the best light.. the water becomes somewhat more muddied.

We have done all we can now. We have presented our evidence and shown the signifcant level of opposition to the plan. While we haven’t had the same financial resources to throw at this, we have had something that money can’t buy.. the truth. Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend and speak at the inquiry, as well as those who submitted written representations. It really motivated us to work harder as we knew how important this was and is to the community.

There’s not much more we can do now, except wait. We are at a critical cross-roads for the future of Monton, Eccles and Salford. One road will drag us back to a time of heavy industry where we can once again “take one for the team” and have our quality of life diminished for the sake of those who want to make their money regardless of the impact on others. The other road, is the one we’ve been travelling for the last 10 years. One where we not only continue to regenerate our community, but also take part in moulding the future of our area and aspire to bringing “real” sustainable developments like those envisioned by the Bridgewater Masterplan.

This is a momentous decision which will affect not only our futures but our children’s futures.  While we have no evidence of which way this will go, we have to have some faith that common sense, democracy and humanity will prevail.

Now we wait.

 

Public Meeting – March 4th 2pm- Worsley Golf Club

Please attend this meeting next week. We will be giving an update on our campaign and explaining the next steps in fighting the appeal.

Please feel free to print and distribute this poster. We need you and appreciate your continued support.

We are raising funds.

It has been some time since our last update on the website.  This has been due to a mixture of inactivity and other events. Most recently, our first batch of documentation was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate last week and we continue to monitor the process as developments occur.

The appeal is now scheduled to begin on May 9th. Please book this date in your diary as we will need every person able to be there. Further details will follow, but keep May 9th in mind.

Most importantly we have identified a need for legal support to assist our group through-out the inquiry.  In order to get this, we need support from you. Our fund raising is progressing but above all else we need more donations.

Jan Phelan, Kirsteen McGarva and Maxine Coyle have been working hard to facilitate this and as a result of their hard-work we have started to gain momentum in building our fighting fund.  I, along with a number of our committee members, have pledged £100 each to the fighting fund, to help get us started. We have also recently received assistance from Worsley Golf Club who have unanimously agreed to support our cause. Despite this we are still a fair way from our required funding target to attain the legal support we need.

This is my personal plea to you to please, please, please contribute to our fighting fund. The members of this campaign continue to commit significant amounts of time and effort to fight this inquiry, but at this moment in time we need your financial support.

Please send cheques payable to “Monton Village Community Association” with covering letter with your name & address. Send it to: Say No Campaign, 24 Canal Bank, Monton, Eccles M30 8AF.

If you would like to donate via Paypal.. please contact info@greenlaneecodump.org (NOTE: do not pay directly to this email. We will provide PayPal account details on request.)

If you have any questions, please email us on the address above.

 

VE Day – Victory in Eccles Day

On the 2nd June 2011, Salford Council rejected the Sky Properties proposal to blight the city with a waste burning incinerator.

Nearly 300 people packed out the Salford Suite at the Swinton Civic Centre to show their opposition to the application.  After representations from both objectors and the applicant, the Planning Panel debated the plans to finally come to the conclusion.. “Salford Council Unanimously Says No”.  We do not want it, we do not need it and we will not take it.

This is not only a victory for the city but also for democracy. The developers strenuous attempts to dupe both the public and Council into accepting this nightmare have categorically FAILED.

On behalf of the campaign group, I would like to thank everyone who has supported us in this struggle. Quality of life for the many has indeed overcome the greed of the few.  The community has remained united through-out this 18 month battle and we can now enjoy some short but welcome respite from this attack on our homes.

We are once again willing to extend the hand of reconciliation to Mr. Hirsch, so we may come to a compromise on an alternative use for the land, which would be of mutual benefit to both Sky and the community.  For the avoidance of any doubt, should he fail to accept that hand and decide to go to appeal as he as already indicated, we promise him this:

For every objection letter sent so far, we will send three.

For every petition signature so far, we will get four.

For every “truth” we have told, we will tell five.

The Council stood up for the people of Salford this week and should there be an appeal, we re going to do the same for them.

WE WILL NOT REST, WE WILL NOT STOP and WE WILL NOT LOSE.

Press Release: New report into proposed incinerator reveals shocking statistics on hazardous fumes

With a decision on the proposed Green Lane Incinerator looming this week, a new report reveals that levels of toxic pollutants in the area surrounding the planned site are already at or above legal limits set by the European Commission.

If the incinerator is given the go ahead, the addition of a further 1000 HGVs a week to local roads and emissions from the incinerator itself, will see those levels soar.
The pollutants -including PM10 -have been linked to asthma in children and increased risk of mortality in people with pre-existing heart or respiratory conditions. Local resident campaign group, ʻSay No to the Green Lane Incineratorʼ plan to use the results of this study to oppose the plans when the planning panel meet on Thursday 2nd June to make a decision on whether to allow the Incinerator to be built.

They will protest outside Swinton Civic Centre on Thursday morning ahead of the planning panel and several members of the group will speak at the meeting to voice their concerns. Opposition to the proposal has been overwhelming with more than 4000 petition signatures gathered and over 1000 letters of objection submitted to the council leaving them in no doubt about the strength of feeling within the local community.

During their 18 month fight to stop the incinerator, campaigners have raised concerns about the emission of dioxins which are linked to cancer and birth defects and say they are seriously worried about the safety of the plant. In addition to highlighting potential health risks, the group will also be objecting to the
increased traffic the plant will bring. There are already 750 HGV movements a day on Green Lane, if the plant goes ahead this number will rise to 1000 which equates to one every thirty seconds during a normal working day. Local roads are simply not equipped to deal with that level and type of traffic.

Other issues include the proximity of the proposed plant to local amenities and its effects on the local environment. If given the green light, the incinerator situated just 50m from a children’s park and 100m from a school -will process nearly a quarter of a million tonnes of waste per year, 80,000 tonnes of which will be incinerated in a “gasification chamber”.

Anthony O’Connor Application For Waste Transfer Station – REFUSED, Again

Today Salford City Council made the decision on Anthony O’Connors application to build a waste transfer station on the land next door to Sky Properties’ proposed Incinerator site.  O’Connors previously made pretty much the same application in 2010, resulting in a refusal from the Council. Trying their luck a second time, O’Connors made some minor changes to their application and resubmitted it. Today the Council Planning and Transport Panel “REFUSED” that second application.

 
The main grounds by which the applications were refused were:
  • Impacts on roads due to additional HGVs – including residential amenity and the type/size of vehicle.
  • Impact on Bridgewater canal, such as visual amenity and noise.

Acceptance of this application would have marked a change of direction on Green Lane. The surrounding area is currently regenerating and casting off it’s historical 1950’s heavy industrial background. It is becoming a vibrant residential community where people are choosing to locate with their families. In addition, an acceptance could have provided further fuel for Sky’s claims that the area is appropriate for waste processing and incineration. It is not.

This refusal continues to support the ongoing planning strategy for the area.  The old GUS site on the opposite side of the canal was recently refused permission to switch use to a similar heavy industry usage.  The owner’s of the GUS subsequently aligned their plans with the Council’s strategy and the Bridgewater Master Plan, by submitting an application for residential housing. The GUS  housing application was accepted.  If Sky are watching, let them develop the same good sense as the owners of the GUS site, by realigning their objectives with the Council’s strategy.

Sky’s incinerator application shares many parallels with the one rejected today.   We will be objecting in force on the 2nd of June, when the decision is made on their nightmare incinerator.

Today I received a letter from Sky

Today, I personally received a letter from Anthony Hirsch at Sky Properties.

They were not very happy about my last post on the study related to links between birth defects and incinerators.  They went on to question the recency of the research and have requested that I clarify some information regarding the time periods involved in the study.

My question to you Mr. Hirsch is, why do you care? For 15 months, you have point blank refused to acknowledge that what you are proposing is an incinerator. So, why should you care about the “incinerator” study at all?

I’m sure the visitors to this site are intelligent enough to make up their own minds and to assess any information themselves, but in the interest of open co-operation, we can offer you a compromise.

Admit publicly that you are proposing an “incinerator”, apologise to the residents of Salford for ever claiming it was anything other than an incinerator and I’ll make the clairifications requested.  Sounds like a deal?

It's not an incinerator

 

 

Mixed Messages From Sky Representatives On Consultation – Legally Required or Not?

Those who attended the meeting at Monton House Hotel, on 25th January 2010, may remember some of the responses from Sky Properties, when questioned regarding the purpose of the Green Lane Eco Park consultation activities.

It was in fact put to Sky and their representatives, including John Twitchen (Managing Director of Sauce Consultancy) who was chairing the meeting, that their only motivation for carrying out the consultation was because they were legally required to do so as part of the planning process.  The response to this was clear. They claimed that they were not legally required to do so and claimed that the consultation was soley for the benefit of the community.

Throughout, It has been the view of the local community, that Sky have only attempted to do the minimum that they believe they are legally required to do, in order to ensure they comply with the relevant planning policy and legislation.  There is no true motivation to consult the public and the overwhelming opposition to the proposal has been completely ignored.  We clearly stated this in a campaign update posted in May 2010.  In a subsequent letter from Anthony Hirsch (dated 10th June 2010), while referring to the consultation activities he again re-iterates..

“We are not legally obliged to do this, to correct another incorrect statement on the residents’ group’s website”

In both January and June, Sky’s message has been clear and consistent.. their consultation activities are not a legal requirement

What is confusing, is that a few weeks after the January meeting in early February, this video interview of John Twitchen, was published on waste industry website, www.mrw.co.uk:

In this video, John is asked “How important is consultation as part of the planning process?”.

He answers, “It’s critical and it’s a legal requirement, you have to do certain things as part of your planning application”. He continues, “It’s about many, many different things, but you have to come back to the legal requirement and particularly in new legislation coming through, the national policy statements for example, so  if you’re proposing a renewable energy facility over 50 MW, then you’ll have to do quite a lot of consultation before you put your application in”.

Can we conclude that what Mr. Twitchen is saying in this video is actually true?. If so, the consultation is in fact a legal requirement and, as we have maintained but contrary to what Sky have been claiming.  The only reason Sky has done anything at all, is to try to get the legal ticks in the boxes they require to steamroll through their proposal.

A wise man once said that the deeper you dig, the more dirt you find.

We urge the Council, to examine carefully the claims Sky make in their application regarding consultation.  The community know what’s being proposed, the real impact and the disastrous consequences for Salford and Eccles. We will not have the wool pulled over our eyes.

Salford: Another Day, Another Recycling Centre Catches Fire

Recycling facilities continue to prove to be fire hazards as crews from three different areas are drafted in to battle the blaze over night.

The site located on Cobden St, Salford caught fire sometime yesterday, the cause is unknown, but the blaze is known to  have centred around a large pile of timber and rubbish. 

Further details can be found here:

Recycling Centre Fire

Would it be sensible to put one of these 50m from a Children’s Park and home? The Sky application must be opposed.