I haven’t posted anything for over a year. This was partly due to pressure of work, partly due to Arthritic pain, but mainly due to the fact that I thought others were expressing similar points of view in a better fashion than I was.
However, I am now back in the saddle and determined to make amends. This past week, it has been my task to present the comments of Cornwall Waste Forum (St. Dennis Branch), to the Government Planning Inspector conducting the Examination of the Cornwall Local Plan. The hearings took place all week, but the one on waste didn’t start until Friday morning.
I do have vivid accounts about the other days given to me both by observers and participants. Regarding the session on the building of 47,500 houses over Cornwall, one person commented that they should have provided perches instead of chairs, because the lawyers representing all the developers and planning agents sat around like Vultures. The people trying to stop this wholesale destruction of Cornwall were just left with a feeling of helpless despair.
On Friday, I knew how they felt. We had been told before that neither the building of the Incinerator, or the collection of various waste streams was considered to be a topic that could be discussed at this examination. This was because it was a planning inquiry into land use. Therefore as the planning application for the Incinerator had already been agreed, even after ten years of battle and a victory in the High Court and a loss in the Court of Appeal, it was off the agenda. In other words, if you are Cornwall Council and you want to hide mucky washing, then get it done before you have to submit your Local Plan and then it can’t be aired in public.
Through the use of quotable statistics and pointing out effects of legislation, I was able to score one or two blows, but none of them were very debilitating. It was interesting to see how much time the Inspector gave to representatives of large multi-national companies such as SITA and Imerys. The key “heads up” that I want to give people reading this post is that Imerys want to gain some profit from offering SITA the possibility of opening a hazardous waste site on their land. This would suit both of them, because it would provide a “hidey hole” to bury the fly ash from the Incinerator, and provide Imerys with a nice profit.
Now I seem to remember that over the years there have been various uproars over plans to build Nuclear Plants, or store Nuclear warheads in Cornwall. Nuclear waste is unpleasant stuff, but at least you can track it using a Geiger counter.
Fly ash exists in dust particles so small that thousands of them would fit on the head of a pin. They contain heavy metals, and persistent organic pollutants and are extremely hazardous. They are know to cause premature birth, infant mortality, cardio vascular diseases in all age groups, but most of all they are highly carcinogenic, being implicated in many forms of cancer, but particularly Liver cancer.
The plan is at the moment to truck the fly ash from the Incinerator to Wingmoor Farm, Bishops Cleeve, in Gloucestershire, a round lorry trip of about 300 miles. While I do not want to dump any more waste on that area, I would say that pictures from there of dumper trucks tipping hazardous waste onto the area and then seeing the dust blow away over houses nearby fills me with horror. Such a dump near the Incinerator would literally be the final nail in the coffin for the people who live nearby. And it is all so pointless when there are much cleaner, sustainable methods of dealing with what we chose to call “waste”
Please join with me in resisting any attempt to create a hazardous waste dump in Cornwall and protest by whatever means possible if the plan is put forward.