Sunday, February 19, 2006

People in glass houses.....should not throw stones!

What is a conflict of interest? What constitutes a private interest? What constitutes a pecuniary interest?

In the High Court on Wednesday 8th February 2006 Mr Elvin, QC defending the Environment Agency against allegations of "unfair process" in the case about the Rugby Cement PPC permitting process, improper public consultation and participation, brought by David Edwards on behalf of the people of Rugby, said that Mrs P of Rugby should pay for one third of the cost of whole the High Court hearing in the Court of Appeal because she had what he described to the Court as a "private interest". Unsurprisingly exactly what this "alleged private interest" is supposed to be remains unspecified. Chewing over this most outrageous, untrue and defamatory allegation Mrs P makes the following comment:

"What constitutes a Private Interest and who is likely to have one?"

Can anyone tell me if this is this the very same Christopher Hampson CBE who was non executive Chair of RMC Group PLC from January 1996, to May 2002, and a non executive director RMC before that, from February 1995?

Is it the same person who was appointed deputy chair of the Environment Agency on 1st May 2000 by Michael Meacher? He has been a member of the EA board since 1995, and before that served as a member of the EA advisory committee. And for good measure it appears from these Press releases that before all this he was formerly Chair of HMIP Advisory Committee and CBI Environment Committee.

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  • The Rugby Cement planning application was first mooted in 1994. The first of a three Stage Application was submitted to HMIP in 1995, which soon became the Environment Agency, but the paperwork was concealed from the Public Register. No evidence of any full application for an IPC permit has ever been placed on any Public Register. No fee appears to have been paid to the Environment Agency. The final part of the application was sent to the Health and Safety Executive and Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food in the June/July of 1999. MAFF objected to the lack of any standards and monitoring for VOCs and dioxins. No answer was sent to them. The Agency told them that the application was by then complete - after the four years of randomly "adding bits", on a spasmodic basis, but the Agency apparently ignored the very serious comments that MAFF had made. Not only that but RMC were the owners of the Rugby Cement plant.

    RBC Head of Environmental Health Office has "no memory" of any public or statutory consultation for the IPC permit, and she has no Minutes of any meetings about this application. She does not know HOW it came to get an IPC Permit, as she thinks it had no IPC application - which appears to be the correct situation. On September 13th 1999 the Rugby Cement plant was given an IPC permit without following the correct and proper procedure, as laid down and as followed at Padeswood etc.. Why is the Rugby plant of RMC so very different, and immune from proper procedures?

    It could not possibly be that a "certain private interest" was at play here? The EA lawyers should start investigating their own officers and masters to find out why the due process has NEVER been followed at Rugby. They should stop attacking altruistic members of the public, and start investigating why members of the public have been bullied, intimidated, and obstructed by Agency officers.

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