Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Council suffering selective memory loss.

Council thinks only ONE person in Rugby concerned with co-incinerator.... air quality, pollution and health.....

Yesterday leading Councillors, defending the professional reputations of Councillors and staff, said it was a "step too far" to suggest that Officers who refuse to answer letters, and Councillors who delete emails from the Rugby residents by "auto-rule", were a waste of money. Presumably each Officer and Councillor is free to grapple with the issues of the day that he/she chooses? There appears to be a problem with that as one would have thought that, as we all live in Rugby, that we all breathe the same air, and we all suffer the environmental detriment? Not so apparently. Is it just me, or is there a distinct lack of joined-up thinking?

A further scathing remark from the Conservative Cabinet member , holder of the Environment Portfolio, warns Lilian that "if YOU expect to receive ANY sympathy for YOUR cause" you must not go too far. Apparently "the Cause" is all mine! Can it possibly be that ONLY Lilian is concerned for the health of Rugby people, and the 48 Councillors are all very happy to have the biggest waste burner in the UK sited here? They delete emails, and refuse to read the environmental and health information provided to them. This follows on from missives from other Councillors instructing me to "be nice to Councillors to get them on my side", and "not to upset them".

1. This Council asked FOUR times for Defra's Secretary of State to hold a PUBLIC INQUIRY in Rugby.
2. This Council unanimously agreed that the cement plant was not to become a co-incinerator.
3. Officers and Councillors are singing from different hymn sheets: Officers welcome incineration in Rugby!
4. This Council has with held Environmental information in contravention of the Act.
5. This Council has written intimidating letters to residents who have asked for information.
6. Only a handful of Councillors bothered to attend meetings with Dr Vivian Howard, (the UK's leading expert on health effects from incineration), when he came to Rugby twice to talk to them, and to advise them.
7. Environmental Health Officers admit to having no idea as to how the cement plant came to be built here, and how it got an "unlawful" IPC operating permit.
8. This Council claims to have "mislaid" crucial Minutes of meetings, and refuses access.
9. This Council refuses to answer what it regards as "awkward" (incriminating?) questions.
10 The Government's policy is to burn waste as cheaply as possibly in the most conveniently huge cement kiln, regardless of the Health Impact, and the suitability, or otherwise, , of the location.
11 Lilian has got fed up with being "fobbed off; obstructed; misinformed; and mislead" by officers and Councillors at both RBC and WCC. Unfortunately they only answer anything when they are irritated - and then only very occasionally.
12 The Environment Agency is currently conducting a Public Relations exercise in a Survey to ask hapless, specially selected, residents in Rugby (and Westbury) how much the pollution from the cement plant "bothers them".

It does not appear that the Questionnaire provides any details about the pollutants, and the dangers and health impacts from the toxic chemicals being emitted, but on the more positive side it does stop short of telling
the interviewees that the plume is "only harmless carbon dioxide and water vapour!" At the end will there be this entirely predictable result:

"500 people interviewed in Rugby welcomed incineration and pollution after they were told that tyre burning is good for them and improves air quality. They understand it lowers the cancer risk from coal burning!" The findings of this survey concur with those of Cook and Kemm who were unable to prove one way of the other, in the Health Impact Assessment, "if it is better for the Rugby residents to breathe coal dust or tyre fumes". The Jury is still out.


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