Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Let's Recycle: "SITA confirmed for £900m West London contract"

Link to web site

"SITA UK has been formally named as the preferred bidder for the £900 million, 25-year residual waste treatment contract for the West London Waste Authority (WLWA).

"... The contract covers all aspects of treatment including any necessary transport, the operation of transfer stations, and contracts for outputs such as energy and refuse-derived fuel for the West London boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Richmond-upon-Thames. It will involve handling up to 300,000 tonnes of waste from households per year.

"SITA will take over the operation of two rail-linked waste transfer stations in West London, via which waste collected from more than 1.4 million residents in the boroughs will be transported by rail to a new energy from waste (EfW) facility in Severnside, South Gloucestershire."

Evening Standard: "French-owned Sita UK poised to land £900m waste deal"

Link to web site

"French-owned utility firm Sita UK is set to take over the disposal of rubbish in west London, in a £900 million scheme that will mean 300,000 tonnes of trash a year are no longer sent to landfill.

"Sita UK, part of Suez Environnement, is leading a consortium that plans to collect the waste from six boroughs and burn it in a new purpose-built electricity plant in Gloucestershire.

"The six councils — Richmond-upon-Thames, Ealing, Brent, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow — are responsible for collecting rubbish from 1.4 million people, living in 600,000 households.

"At present, the boroughs send waste that cannot be recycled to four landfill sites in Abingdon, Bicester, Calvert and Bletchley."

Monday, 29 April 2013

The Guardian: "What links the MMR scare and austerity?"

Link to web site

"Dodgy research pushed by publicity-happy academics. False claims burnished into golden truths by irresponsible newspapers, apparently trying their hardest to manufacture a panic. Finally, the repercussions: bad decisions and, years later, huge worries about the harm posed to the public.

"I'm describing the MMR scandal, the story of how one paper published in a top medical journal prompted a mass scare about a possible link between the triple jab and autism, and led to around one million children being deprived of full vaccinations against measles, mumps and rubella. It's been in the news again this week, following a measles outbreak in Swansea affecting 900 people, and worries that London may be next.

"Yet listening to the radio discussions, a feeling nagged at me. Didn't this saga, with its origins going back more than a decade, sound similar to a more recent episode in a different field – the economics of austerity?"

Sunday, 28 April 2013

North London Waste Plan: The Empire Strikes Back

Preparation of local plan for waste in North London
"The London Boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest are proposing to prepare a new local plan for waste in their boroughs to take the place of the non-adopted North London Waste Plan (NLWP). This is the start of the process to prepare the new Plan and the boroughs are inviting you to make representations about what it should contain.

"After the boroughs had submitted the previous waste plan for examination, the Planning Inspector decided that it failed to meet the Duty to Co-operate and the boroughs have therefore agreed to start again as is required by law. When the boroughs submitted the NLWP, they believed it to be 'sound' – that is, in accordance with the relevant tests. 

"The Inspector halted the examination and never went on to consider issues of soundness at the examination. The boroughs therefore consider that the information generated through the preparation of the submission NLWP is a useful starting point from which to develop the new plan. 

"Representations made throughout the preparation of the NLWP will also help inform the work on the new plan. All previous stages of the NLWP are still available to view at www.nlwp.net.

"Evidence will be reviewed and updated and account taken of changing circumstances as the plan evolves. The boroughs propose to re-consider information on the amount of waste requiring management in North London and the extent to which it can be managed by the current facilities as well as to identify specific new sites which have potential for waste facilities to manage any shortfall in provision.

"The plan is intended to provide a framework for planning decisions relating to waste facilities and so will contain policies to be used when the boroughs assess planning applications for such facilities.
"We are inviting you to make representations on any matter relating to the new local plan for waste. Your comments are particularly invited on the following matters:
  1. The content of the local waste plan: Please let us know what you think the new local plan should contain. Do you think any content was missing from the submission NLWP?
  2. The need for new waste facilities: Do you have views on the need for waste facilities in North London to deal with the waste likely to be generated in the next ten to fifteen years? If so, what types and size of facility might be needed?
  3. The characteristics of a site suitable for waste use: If sites for new waste facilities are required, what type of site should be chosen? What criteria should the boroughs use to select waste sites? Do you think that the site criteria and assessment method in the submission NLWP are a useful starting point? Can they be improved upon?
  4. Proposals for waste sites: Do you have any new suggestions on sites or areas in North London that might be suitable for future use for waste management?
  5. Policies: Do you have any suggestions for planning policies to ensure that waste developments are suitable in terms of location, environmental impact and any other important consideration? Do you think the policies in the NLWP are a useful starting point? Can they be improved upon?

"To respond, please visit the ‘Have Your Say’ section of the NLWP website and use the special link. Or you can send your comments to feedback@nlwp.net. If possible please return your comments in MS-Word format. If necessary your comments can be posted to:
Archie Onslow
North London Waste Plan
Camden Town Hall
Argyle Street WC1H 8EQ

"Please send your comments by 7 June 2013. Comments received after that date may be fed into later revisions of the waste plan."
Meetings with interested groups
"If you belong to a group and would like to meet staff to discuss these or any other points about the new local plan for waste in North London please get in touch (see details below)."
What happens next?
"The boroughs will use these initial comments to help draw up a draft new waste local plan that they expect to produce in 2014. There will be further consultation at this stage and subsequent opportunities to give comments on the new plan."
Contact details
For more information phone 020 7974 5916

Further clarification was sought from the NLWP...
"Is the NLWP totally abandoning all findings that it used about 'new' sites in the last NLWP plan, including their scoring and the methodology behind the scoring? (That does not, of course, stop you from reconsidering the same sites, among perhaps many others.)

"It is true the Inspector did not rule on the credibility of your site examinations last time, but that is only because he threw out the plan higher up his agenda. If any aspect of the previous data is to be reused (other than perhaps the sites' physical locations), what data is that, please?"

And the NLWP replied...
"The boroughs are proposing to use the same overall approach to planning for waste in the new plan, but all elements of that approach will be reconsidered. As a result, no part of the old plan will be moved straight into the new plan without reassessment.
"As we said (above) the boroughs are reviewing and updating the data, to assess the waste management requirement in north London. We received a lot of comments on the criteria used, so we will be:
  • reconsidering the list of criteria,
  • how we measure the criteria, and
  • how any use of the criteria will be scored.
"Depending on the waste management requirement, we may well be assembling a new list of sites. Some of the old ones may need to drop out because they have been developed. Others, new to the NLWP, may be nominated or become available.

"This approach is partly reflected in the preliminary questions we are asking people at this stage of the process. Question 2 (above) relates to waste data and need; Question 3 asks about criteria, and Question 4 asks about sites. We are also inviting representations on any matter relating to the new local plan for waste."

Monday, 22 April 2013

Barnet Labour: "NLWA Inter-Authority Agreement: an outdated plan with wrong assumptions"

"At the Council Meeting at Hendon Town Hall on Tuesday 16th April, Coppetts Labour Councillor Pauline Coakley-Webb submitted a motion, insisting Barnet did not sign up to the Inter-Authority Agreement, which would tie Barnet to an outdated plan, with wrong assumptions about waste and recycling and a poor financial model."
Council: Tuesday, 16 April 2013
Non-Executive Business Item:

Councillor Pauline Coakley Webb

NLWA Inter-Authority Agreement
Council is concerned that despite the delay to the North London Waste Plan (NLWP) proceedings, Pinkham Way will once again resurface as a site for a waste treatment plant and depot.

Council notes the overwhelming opposition to this from local residents in the area because of the concerns about environmental pollution, as well as noise and traffic nuisance.

Council calls on Cabinet not to sign the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) Inter-Authority Agreement until a proper, open and thorough reassessment of the business plan is done by all co
uncils involved.

You can read Pauline’s speech here:
"Any councillor not aware of the complex timeline of events that has led to the fiasco of Pinkham Way should have by now read, and digested, the eloquently-presented timeline of events, sent to every councillor by a member of the 'Pinkham Way Alliance'.

The flaws, the secrecy, and the way in which this scandal came about goes back to 2007, with the launch of the North London Waste Plan [NLWP].

The lack of information to ward councillors and residents has, not surprisingly, led to a major campaign across three boroughs, all united in their objection to a waste plant on this site.

And one has to wonder how far back this proposal goes, as it is abundantly clear that had Barnet cabinet in July 2009 not approved the sale of Pinkham Way to the North London Waste authority, the rest would be history.

It should also be noted that cabinet made this decision three months before the the publication of the NLWP Preferred Options report - the time when, for the first time, the public would be made aware of the proposed plans for a waste management site.

But is wasn’t until February 2011 that the transaction was finalised, even though it had been agreed 14 months earlier. And the explanation of how we were all kept in the dark was down to a secrecy clause, stating:
“The parties will keep in confidence the full details of this agreement, and the fact that there are, or have been, discussions between parties, concerning the sale of the property.”
So we are back to, I’m guessing, commercial confidentiality as the answer for everything, and the reason that when all sorts of deals are done with private contractors , both councillors and residents are kept in the dark.

Was Barnet offering the sole solution for a waste treatment site? Certainly Barnet had a lot to gain in money from the sale of most the land, all within the Haringey border.

November 2009 saw North London waste authority privately informing Haringey that it would be submitting a joint planning application for Pinkham way with Barnet . This being because Barnet had plans to move its depot for the fleet of refuse collection vehicles to move there,  as their current home in Mill Hill is limited, by plans for future development of their current site.

All this was taking place on the back of Pinkham Way appearing in an interim North London Waste Plan report dated October 2009, under 'Preferred Options'.

It is only the tenacity of the Pinkham Way Alliance and information obtained under Freedom of Information which has exposed that just a few months before, in February 2009, an evaluation by Mouchel scored Pinkham Way at 63 points, ranking it 54th out of 64.

Fast forward to March 2009, and Pinkham Way had been reassessed with 99 points, and now appeared in the top ten of preferred sites.

In December 2009, the North London Waste Authority bought the site from Barnet .

All this without residents being aware of what was being planned. [There was] no mention, that I can remember, in the 2010 council election literature, that this administration was knowingly selling land which might end up housing one of the largest waste plants in Europe!

'Economical with the truth' was more the mode of operation.

And still the fight is not over, because now NLWA owns the land it is still being quoted as the North London Waste Authority’s first choice for handling some of North London’s waste.

Mr Mayor, we are calling in this motion for the cabinet to not sign the North London Waste Authority agreement, until a proper, open and thorough reassessment of the business plan is done by all councils involved.

I note that Cllr Cohen in his amendment agrees in part, but simply asks that any plan be robust and does not put this borough at any risk

One might ask just what risks does he see as acceptable, and who will decide what are acceptable risks .

Even though this fiasco started before the current cabinet member's term of office, he has to recognise that the secrecy around the sale of the site does not endear the public to have any confidence in this administration, deciding what is or isn’t an acceptable risk .

A reassessment of the business plan by all council involved must take place. It has to be thoroughly open, transparent, and open to scrutiny. It must take evidence from the Pinkham Way Alliance before any decision.Is made, and councillors must be kept informed and consulted before any decisions are made."

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Islington Tribune: "Campaigners bid to stop Pinkham Way nature area"

Link to web site
"THE North London Waste Authority (NLWA), which spent £12million of taxpayers’ cash in a secret land deal, could find its plans scuppered after residents applied to turn the area into a village green.

"The Tribune can reveal how the secretive authority’s decision-makers gambled council taxpayers’ cash on a doomed scheme to build a waste treatment plant on a nature reserve in Haringey.

"The authority is funded by seven north London boroughs, including Islington, which hands over £5m every year."

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

"Metal body parts from dead bodies being recycled as plane engines"

Link to AOL news

"A Dutch company is behind a scheme that is seeing metal body parts from dead bodies come back to life - as plane engines and road signs.

"OrthoMetals came up with the idea of recycling everything from steel hips to plates and screws from legs and skulls and selling them for use in the aviation and car industries.

"The company says that around half of Britain's 260 crematoriums have signed up to the scheme, which is generating 75 tonnes of metal a year."

Monday, 15 April 2013

"Biofuels: 'Irrational' and 'worse than fossil fuels'"

Link to BBC web site

"The UK's 'irrational' use of biofuels will cost motorists around £460 million over the next 12 months, a think tank says.

"A report by Chatham House says the growing reliance on sustainable liquid fuels will also increase food prices.

"The author says that biodiesel made from vegetable oil was worse for the climate than fossil fuels."

"Meeting on future of fire service in Barnet, Enfield and Haringey"

Link to web site

"The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority is consulting on the fifth draft of its London Safety Plan.

"The meeting will now take place at the Grand Palace Banqueting Suite, in High Road, Wood Green, from 7pm on Thursday April 18, instead of the Haringey Borough Council Civic Centre."

Thursday, 11 April 2013

[Reposted] Sun 14 April: Pinkham Way Alliance: Galitzin Chamber Ensemble

Barnet Times

"The stories behind Britain's most beloved buildings – audio slideshow"

Link to The Guardian

"We have a natural curiosity about our favourite buildings. Using stunning vintage images, Colin Philpott explains the remarkable histories of beloved British spaces – from the Ha├žienda and Free Trade Hall in Manchester, to the Southbank in London, and Cardington hangars in Bedfordshire, known for airships and film sets."

The Guardian: "London's cooking waste to fuel power station"

Link to web site

"Cooking waste from thousands of London restaurants and food companies is to help run what is claimed to be the world's biggest fat-fuelled power station.

"The energy generated from the grease, oil and fat that clogs the capital's sewers will also be channelled to help run a major sewage works and a desalination plant, as well as supplying the National Grid, under plans announced by Thames Water and utility company 2OC."

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

SciAm: "New Method Proves — Again — Climate Change Is Real"

Link to Scientific American

"In August 2012, John Christy, a climate scientist from the University of Alabama, Huntsville, testified to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that the Earth is not warming.

"In part, Christy's testimony, a controversial one, was based on what he described as a problem with how surface temperatures are measured and averaged.

"Climate scientist Gilbert Compo's response to that was: Well, I'll measure those temperatures differently.

"So he set out to use an entirely different method to determine if the Earth's surface temperature had increased 1.2 degrees Celsius since preindustrial times.

"The answer: Undeniably yes."

Monday, 8 April 2013

"Carbon Capture and Storage – Quite Possibly The Last Chance Before Runaway Climate Change Becomes Unavoidable"

Link to 'The Wasters Blog'

"Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is the only technology proposed at present that could enable emissions mitigation with continued use of fossil fuels, so why is it taking so long for it to be developed?

"Man generated energy-related CO2 emissions are higher than ever and further emissions increase seems inevitable. The rapid application of carbon capture and storage is a much heralded means to tackle emissions from both existing and future sources.

"In the minds of many it has been seen as a possible escape route for planet earth, allowing us additional time to move to renewable energy sources while the remaining usable fossil energy reserve is consumed.

"However, despite extensive and successful research and development, progress in deploying carbon capture and storage has stalled. No fossil-fuel power plants, the greatest source of CO2 emissions, are using carbon capture and storage, and publicly supported demonstration programmes are struggling to deliver actual projects.

"Yet, carbon capture and storage remains a core component of national and global emissions-reduction scenarios.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Barnet Times: "North London Waste Authority urges people to recycle as landfill tax increases"

Link to web site

"With landfill tax on the rise, North London Waste Authority is urging people in Barnet to recycle more and save money.

"From April 1 the tax on sending a tonne of waste to landfill went up from £64 to £72.

"As a result, the waste authority, which disposes of waste produced by the 1.7 million residents of north London, wants people to increase the amount of refuse they recycle, from 30 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020. [But possibly not more that that, because it might result in penalty clauses in 25-year procurement contracts.]

1992: Peter Lilley's Little List

Saturday, 6 April 2013

"The Daily Mail front page you will never see"

(Link above to 'Mark Thompson's blog')

"I" brief, "YOU" leak, "THEY" are prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act

"How civil servant risked jail in plot to save train service"

Link to Wales Online

"A civil servant in Whitehall was almost jailed in the 1970s for saving Aberystwyth’s train service and many others targeted for a wave of Beeching-style closures, it has been revealed.

"The Director of Public Prosecutions ordered police to track down the Whitehall mole who leaked a top-secret report on shrinking the rail network.

"The story only now be told after the civil servant responsible, Llandudno resident Reg Dawson, died last year."

NEF: "Mythbusters: Britain is broke - we can't afford to invest"

Link to web site

"nef and the Tax Justice Network have paired up top economists and journalists to write a series of guides exploring the truth behind common economic myths. This first mythbuster, prepared by Howard Reed and Tom Clark, addresses the question: is Britain really ‘broke’?

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

BBC: "Nasa's James Hansen retires to pursue climate fight"

Link to web site

"One of the leading voices on the science of global warming is to retire from Nasa this week to be more active in the fight against fossil fuels.

"Dr James E Hansen has been the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Research since 1981.

"He is sometimes called the 'father of global warming' for his early warnings about the impacts of rising levels of greenhouse gases.

"But some critics say he has hampered the cause by overstating the risk."