Saturday, April 08, 2006

£1,000,000 DOWN THE DRAIN!

Paid out by Rugby residents!

Apparently, according to RBC, in trying to protect themselves from being polluted, by Cemex cement plant!

How much does Cemex cost us as a TOTAL BURDEN?

£1,000,000 on Air Quality Monitoring in Rugby:
Paid for by the long-suffering residents to monitor "potential pollution impact from the Cemex Cement plant".

RBC recommend spending another £500,000 of our Council Taxes merely to "REASSURE the public"! An Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) for nitrogen dioxide (NOX) has been declared Borough and Dunchurch wide. RBC say "the likely exceedence of a national air quality objective is caused by traffic pollution" and "the main pollutant is traffic linked". "Any action plan would require the whole traffic system round Rugby to be reviewed."

Cemex Cement emit many thousands of tonnes of nitrogen dioxide each year, but this has not been accounted for, nor has its up to 1,000 HGVs as planned for by WCC, when it issued the "unlawful" planning permission.

Below is an extract of the Report to RBC Cabinet Agenda item 14 on 10th April 2006.

It was "generally felt" that any reduction in the Council's air quality monitoring programme would be criticised by some "sections of the community" and especially by "specific campaigners". This would be "likely to INCREASE THE CONCERNS of local residents about air quality issues".

The vicinity of the cement plant has been subject to particular focus and detailed assessment. However there is currently no evidence to indicate an exceedence for particulate matter (PM10) anywhere in the Borough.

The Group has only considered the monitoring of ambient air quality as the monitoring of emissions from the cement plant STACK is regulated and controlled by the Environment Agency through the plants permit. The Council's duty towards ambient air quality monitoring is limited to those pollutants that the Government has established Air Quality Objectives for. Whilst there are many other pollutants in the environment they are USUALLY at such low concentrations that effective monitoring is not practicable, and even if it were there would be little or no action that could be taken as there are no Air Quality Objectives for these pollutants.

Rugby has one of the most comprehensive air quality monitoring schemes in the Country for its size and population, with only some major cities and metropolitan areas having levels of equipment approaching ours. The VAST MAJORITY of our current equipment is deployed to MONITOR POTENTIAL POLLUTION IMPACT from the CEMEX CEMENT plant. The Councils monitoring results are frequently criticised by some groups.


Part of the Group's discussion at all of its meetings had focussed on the issue of what health benefit was obtained from the investment in air quality monitoring. It was agreed that there was NO ACTUAL HEALTH benefit from the programme as it only sought to IDENTIFY POLLUTION issues. The Air quality Objectives that have been established by the government are based on the statistical probability of foreseeable health impact IF the standards are exceeded. As there is only 1 Property in the town centre area where an actual exceedence is predicted (from nitrogen dioxide) and 12 others that are potentially at risk of a marginal exceedence due to traffic pollution, it was therefore agreed that to continue to invest significant Council
resources in this issue would be predominantly for the PURPOSE of PUBLIC REASSURANCE.

The Director of Public Health from Rugby Primary Care Trust outlined a wide range of alternative activities that would have major positive health impact in the community. These ranged from funding smoking cessation schemes, health eating schemes, tackling obesity, exercise programmes, fuel poverty and other schemes that would have direct long and short term health benefits.

For the purposes of achieving positive health outcomes then these intervention schemes present significantly better opportunities for improving the general health of the people of Rugby than ever could be achieved through air quality monitoring. It is understood that a report will be going to Partnership and Community Engagement covering these issues and Public Heath following the merger of the local Primary Care Trusts.

* The public and campaign groups have been totally excluded from the Air Quality Monitoring programme.
* The data has been with held, or provided after many months.
* We have also criticised the incorrect use of the equipment; the random locating of equipment; the calibrating of the equipment; the failure to have a QC/QA process; the failure to have source apportionment; the fact the air quality meetings have been held in secret and no minutes have been made available; the failure to note and investigate the health-damaging PEAKS particularly of PM10; the incorrect data on emissions from the cement plant used by the Council's consultant, and subsequent incorrect dispersion model; the deliberate exclusion of the public, and exclusion of those of us who possess knowledge on air quality issues, industrial pollution and plume dispersion; the failure by RBC and by Defra to answer questions about the way the Turnkey monitoring has been carried out, which is NOT in accordance with the manufacturer's and NETCEN's stated APPROVED method.

Defra basically have admitted that the monitoring can be manipulated by the persons who "set up" the monitors, and it seem they are reading at least ONE THIRD lower than they should be - presumably so the results "look better for the Council", and to avoid investigation into the source of these high readings of PM10 Particulate, for which there is NO SAFE LEVEL! (particulate from the cement plant stack, and various sources, will have toxic pollutants adsorbed onto the particulate).

CEMEX: 14th March 2006 have written to RBC about the Air Quality Report sent to Defra:

1. Asking them to remove "frequent shutdowns" as "this is not correct". In 2004, the last year for which we have data, there were 458 start-up/shutdowns - how frequent is frequent - surely about 10 off/ons a week is frequent?

2. To remove "in significant quantities" from the phrase "NOX is only emitted from the main stack in significant quantities".
3. Saying that the following quote is misleading: "The impact of emissions from the CEMEX site can clearly be seen on the plots". Cemex state that "The predicted impact from the site is NO GREATER than that modelled for traffic."
4. Saying that the "major increases in cement production from 1.4 to 1.8 million tonnes cannot occur without major modifications as indeed we have explained on many occasions." (31/01/06)

RUGBY BOROUGH COUNCIL: in a reply to Cemex 15th March 2006:
1. The Report covers both nitrogen dioxide and PM10 as the two major pollutants in the Borough.... NOX for the AQMA, and PM10 because of local concerns about particulates.
2. The definition of "frequent" is debateable. The modelling includes the stack and 18 low level point sources.
3. The results have been published (on RBC web site) to allow readers to make their own determinations, but the results do seem to suggest elevated levels of particulates around the cement plant, and in areas with high traffic flows.

Have requested that the Council considers active health improvement as a corporate priority, rather than monitoring and reporting back alone.

ENVIRONMENT AGENCY: in an attempt to convince Rugby Residents that the cement plant causes no problems, and that local residents are NOT AT ALL concerned about air quality and health related issues caused by pollution (especially from the products of complete an incomplete combustion), have just recently carried out a PUBLIC RELATIONS exercise. They have conducted a door to door survey of 500 "specially picked persons" from the wards "around the works" to ask them a few questions about how they feel... This survey will be published on our site along with the official results. OUR own survey results will also be published.

RUGBY PUBLIC: Have your say. Write in with your comments please.

"To read in full Rugby Borough Council Further Air Quality Assessment 2005"


Anonymous said...

I wonder where else our money being thrown away?

Lilian said...

Well might you ask "Where else our money is being thrown away":
At the Rugby Cement Community Forum meetings which are paid for by the public, but are just a talking-shop, and a means for Cemex and the Environment Agency to inform the members what they are doing, and to carry on the "PRETENSE OF CONSULTAION". There is ABSOLUTELY NO LIAISON. The Agenda is totally manipulated by the Chair person Carolyn Robbins (Conservative) who also controls the meetings in such a way that no questions get answered. It is a farce.

Rugby Borough Council have been involved for years in secret meetings, and have cunningly and deliberately (and maliciously?) kept the Public and the Members of the RCCF, and the previous Liaison Committee, out of the MANDATORY FORMAL CONSULTATIONS for LAPC, IPC and IPPC Permits involving the cement works. RBC have deliberately worked against the people of Rugby, and against their best interests, and have damaged the quality of life, the environment, air quality and health - all the time using the money of the Rugby rate payers to fund their illicit practises. Now they have also had the farce of the air quality monitoring and want to spend a "further £500,000 merely to reassure the public" - not you note to actually monitor air quality!

There is now a new Chief Executive and we have made a FORMAL COMPLAINT and asked for an investigation into the "corrupt pratises" at this Council. Is he going to continue on in the same old way?

There is a lot more too, involving the 48 Councillors, only one of whom has helped to dig into this sewer. The other 47, are by their silence complicit as they refuse to answer any questions or look into it. They know which side their bread is buttered! They have their hands in OUR pockets!