Soapbox Alan Graves: Have incinerator cash fears taken precedent over health?
THE issue of the recycling centre for Derbyshire being sited within the city boundary is very controversial and a political nightmare.
It is a nightmare the Conservatives were happy to hand over to the now Labour-controlled city council. I find the history of where we are quite unbelievable and a democratic disgrace.
In 2007, I was asked to champion the cause of bringing an incinerator to Derby by two Labour councils, Derbyshire and Derby City, wholly supported by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Council officers from both authorities insisted that we would become bankrupt without it due to rising landfill prices. I also listened to the protestors and experts in this field and soon changed my opinion on whether Derby should have an incinerator. At the time, I was pleased Labour councillors Robin Turner and Baggy Shanker agreed that this should be opposed.
The council then changed hands to Tory/Lib Dem control and the plans were pushed forward, leaving it easier for Labour to change tack and oppose the intended incinerator.
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The whole council found itself in a huge mess because, quite rightly, through detailed evidence on health issues, transportation, general nuisance and questionable recycling performance, the planning committee refused permission. This gave victory for the protesters, er, and the Labour Party and, um, the Conservative Party.
The recycling company appeals and we have the Conservative leader both supporting the appeal and speaking against the proposal on behalf of the planning committee. Democracy was trampled on when the recycling company was allowed to appeal three times until they were given the "right" answer.
Since May 2012, the council has been run by Labour under Paul Bayliss, who was previously photographed supporting the protesters. You would have thought the battle was won; all he had to do was cancel the contract. It seems Mr Bayliss's beliefs were put aside because of money, claiming the council would go bankrupt. With the evidence that incinerators can cause an array of long-term and fatal illnesses within a certain radius of the plant, I fear financial considerations have taken precedent over health concerns.
I only hope the protesters can now appeal against the appeal and overturn this disastrous decision.