Extra dose of consultation for Cross Green residents as Labour haunted by incinerator referendum pledge

An artist's impression - 200ft chimneys? Where?

Opposition councillors are calling on the ruling Labour party in Leeds City Council to stick to a pledge made three years ago to hold a referendum on the construction of a waste incinerator at Cross Green in east Leeds.

Following the Council’s naming last month of Veolia ES Aurora as its preferred bidder to construct the plant under a 25-year Private Finance Initiative deal, there has been continued opposition to the project from local residents, Friends of the Earth campaigning group No Incineration in Leeds (NIL) and Liberal Democrat members of the Council.

The call on the Labour Party to honour its referendum pledge comes in a motion to be debated at the next full session of the Council on Wednesday 16th November.

“This council believes that the current administration should stand by its commitment to hold a referendum on their preferred waste solution option of an incinerator at Cross Green,” the motion says. “Council therefore requests the relevant Executive Board member to make the necessary arrangements to hold a referendum on this issue.”

Will the motion be passed and a referendum held on the issue? Of course not. Blimey, you can’t do that to a PFI project!

“Let the people decide”

But just for the record, here’s what the current leader of the Council Keith Wakefield said about the issue in February 2008 when his Labour Party formed the Opposition in the Council:

“We all know the people of Leeds have not been properly consulted…and therefore our amendment (to the budget) provides the funds for a referendum to take place which will let the people who will be most affected decide whether they want an incinerator in their back yard or not.”

What the people who are having the incinerator built in their back yard are now going to get instead of the referendum is more “consultation”.

There’s going to be a Communications Working Group set up by Veolia and the Council’s “waste and recycling education team”. There are going to be “consultation activities” carried out by Veolia between November and the end of February. There’s going to be a Community Liaison Panel…

“What’s left to consult about?”

And are those campaigning against the incinerator suitably grateful for all this extra consultation? Erm…

“Veolia have decided the place, the size, the method, the hours of operation of the proposed plant – exactly what is left to ‘consult’ about?” asks a post on the local no2incinerator blog.

“Will they not build it if we say we don’t want it? Of course not. This ‘consultation’ will be exactly the same as previous ones carried out by Leeds City Council consisting largely of asking as few people as possible loaded questions on hotly contested statements and totally ignoring any answers which do not give the ‘correct’ answer!”

The incinerator is on the agenda of a meeting of residents of Richmond Hill on 5th December. Details here.

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One Response to Extra dose of consultation for Cross Green residents as Labour haunted by incinerator referendum pledge

  1. Bywater blog says:

    I received an email today saying that this ‘Energy Recovery Facility’ application has been revised.

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