Saturday, September 13, 2008



WCC notes that “the previously jovial Southam Cement and lorry routing community liaison group has now become hostile” as WCC grants Cemex a new CLAY lorry route to and from Southam, causing COMPLAINTS and letters in the press from the village inhabitants. Residents of Marton , Princethorpe and Long Itchington suddenly awaken and realise their 3 villages will now endure all the (current) daily 140 Cemex clay HGVs , as the circular route limiting the number to just 35 is scrapped, and the 140 are now to be “in their back yards” on narrow dangerous roads they insist are “not fit for purpose”. They are not amused at having “just a taste” of what the Rugby New Bilton residents have suffered / had inflicted on them for years – over 70 lorries an hour at times, and an average of around 800 a day. Letters of congratulations and thanks can be sent to Warwickshire County Council planners and councillors, who have more tricks up their sleeves yet!

Temperatures have yet to reach fever pitch as locals in Southam and Rugby have still not realised the massive implications for them of the first of the two CEMEX WASTE/RECYCLING/CLIMAFUEL applications. The County Council and Cemex are trying to keep the two applications completely separate, and thus presumably to divide the community, to prey on the weakest and most vulnerable, to discourage any “joined up thinking”, and to avert any consideration of the BPEO - best practicable environmental option? Local people have just a month in which to voice their concerns about the first-proposed 360,000 tonne a year waste processing plant in the old cement plant at SOUTHAM.

At least Southam has a massive ever increasing landfill, as they excavate the clay, about 2,000 tonnes each day, in which they then dump the hazardous waste bypass dust. Residues from their new “processing” can easily be dumped without having to transport all that back to Southam from Rugby. It appears several operational landfills are available which can take hazardous and non-hazardous waste – even though there is still no IPPC Permit for the site, which it is believed makes the landfills unlawful, operating in contravention of EU and UK Law, without a PPC permit!

A smaller scale application (see WCC web site Reference “NW 08CM032”) made to the County Council in August by RMC/Rugby Cement for a 120,000 tonne a year waste processing plant at COLESHILL needs 100 HGVs a day – so can the Southam/village residents look forward to another 300 lorries a day on top of the 140 they are so upset about? Or will there be even more as the HGVs convoy back and forth – as virtual “lorry trains” between Southam and Rugby? Why do they, and the County Council, go on ignoring the disused railway line, the availability of which was claimed by Rugby Cement to be one of the main reasons for building the plant in an urban area in Rugby instead of at any of the other available more suitable rural sites. Rugby Cement in 2000 (see WCC and RBC committee meetings on web) “saved” the railway route for its own future use, as it “forced” the Western Relief Road into the green belt, delaying the construction by 8 years, and costing the public purse £40 million instead of the £11 million quoted in 2000, and also polluting and poisoning Rugby residents, contributing to the high levels of particulate in the “hot spot lorry routes” and to the AQMA for Nitrogen dioxide, which affects health.

Will the more powerful Southam residents and coalition of county councillors try to force the new waste plant, along with all the extra pollution from lorries and plant pollution into the RUGBY SMOKE LESS ZONE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT AREA, on to long-suffering down-town Rugby residents? After all it will ONLY be a grand total of 1100 juggernauts daily for New Bilton residents? What can it matter as in this area lives and the environment are already obscenely blighted by the CO-INCINERATOR – its emissions - uncontrolled/controlled - and fugitive pollution, “nuisance dust”, hovering, menacing plume/s, and low level point sources which remain unregulated and unmonitored. What does it matter if this already disadvantaged area gets more muck heaped on it? They are used to it.

Where is the Sheriff when you need him? Questions and reasonable applications for access to environmental data, and even Freedom of Information requests, remain unanswered as the “outlaws”, the notorious Environment Agency, are “above the law.” The public and Rugby Cement Community Forum are refused access to environmental data by both the Environment Agency and Cemex, as they work together to “slip in all the applications between the meetings of the Forum” – so that no proper response is ever made. In this atmosphere of concealment and refusal to co-operate, how can community relations improve?

Trials and “waste burning” experiments go on and on, year in year out, as the trials are extended without the public’s or RCCF’s knowledge, and presumably outside of the PPC Permit and its conditions. There are endless variations and secret negotiations going as the back-slapping “back room boys” meet at the OK Corral. Any person who asks pertinent questions, and who understands the issues, is slapped down, labelled as a trouble maker, ejected from meetings, and threatened with ASBOs, and worse. Now the search is on by Cemex, the EA, WCC, and RBC for a “new” malleable Community Forum, to be peopled by “no brainers!”

On 17 September the experienced ENVIRONMENT COUNCIL will attempt to facilitate an evening of “cordial discussion” and of “shaping the future for the community engagement process around the cement works in Rugby.” You can find the report under discussion on their web site. We nervously wish them well, as under their auspices Cemex, the Environment Agency, WCC and RBC will meet with about 40 delegates in a battle for pole position, as the “warring factions” (see Rugby Times articles) have their heads banged together.

“CONTINUED EXPOSURE TO A DUSTY ENVIRONMENT will generally result in receptors becoming less sensitive to dusty impacts and an acceptance of a certain level of dust deposition.” So there we have it, in a nutshell, dump more dust on folk and they will give up complaining? The WCC/Coleshill application NW 08CM032 is full of such little gems, and it also contains RMC’s own May 2003 assessment of how “nuisance dust”, that they NEVER acknowledged existed in the Rugby Cement application for IPPC, is a very difficult issue. So why was there never ANY dust assessment for the Rugby Cement plant – considering all its Low Level Point Sources and fugitive emissions? Because they did not want anyone to know!

LITTLE GEMS ON MINERAL DUST FROM RUGBY CEMENT/RMC 2003 that somehow “slipped their mind to tell Rugby residents in their application?”

“Road traffic can be a significant source of dust in urban areas.” – especially from 1,000 lorries each day! “Dust is defined as particulate matter in the size range 1-75 microns.” “Accurate and reliable quantitative prediction of dust impacts is accepted to be very difficult principally because dust emissions depend on a wide range of factors many of which are site specific and vary from day to day.” “Deposition of particles causes soiling on windows and cars and is considered a nuisance. In addition occasional clouds of dust can cause a visual and sensory nuisance.” “Attitude surveys undertaken by the department of the Environment have indicated that in terms of nuisance to nearby residents continual or severe concerns about dust are most likely to be experienced near to dust sources.” “Nuisance dust in the community is normally perceived as an accumulated deposit, however the point at which an individual makes a complaint is highly subjective.” “Wind direction from the South West occurs most of the time and will cover areas to the North and East.” “Particles greater than 30 microns will deposit within approximately 100 metres of the source, while 10-30 microns will travel 200-500 metres and small particles less than 10 microns can travel up to 1 kilometre” into Rugby town centre?

“LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE” was a County Councillor’s response to the question as to whether Rugby residents should be informed of the massive increase in size of the Rugby cement plant. While the Environment Agency said they only got away with it in Rugby because there had been “no intelligent opposition!” Is it now a case of one bitten twice shy – or will they dump it on RUGBY once again?

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