Sadly, 2015 failed to deliver the demise of the GCC/UBB incinerator project that we all wanted for Christmas. I hope you all enjoyed the festive season nevertheless.
Despite the best efforts of a group of nomads, the Javelin Park site has not been rendered unusable for incineration and the threat of site works commencing in the next few months is upon us.
So what is Glosvain’s ongoing role?
Well firstly, we never give up hoping that better options will somehow prevail and the only show in town that might make that possible any time soon, is R4C. Those of you that attended our July meeting or the AGM, will know that the proposed technology, a combination of Mechanical, Biological and Heat Treatment (MBHT), is a high quality version of what we have always advocated.
The big question is, will a viable enterprise and proposal emerge in time that either enables GCC to countenance a contract cancellation, or persuades UBB and their financiers to withdraw. I hope so.
There are a lot of issues to be addressed, involving both the County and District Councils, so please lobby your councillors to remain engaged with this. They are the decision makers and responsible for the solution we end up with.
Meanwhile we continue to pursue a number of issues:
1. The County Council has appealed against the Information Commissioner’s instruction to reveal contract data. This means that the case will now be heard by a judge at a Tribunal. It will probably take until next Christmas to exhaust the process and arrive at a resolution. Cos Ttofa has been and is our resolute participant. See here for more info.
2. Chris Harmer is working with parish councillors to provide technical data about air quality monitoring and soil sampling equipment, which the consultative group will ask UBB to fund.
Hopefully, UBB will see that it is in their interests to find ways to reassure the public about their greatest concern – the volume and nature of the projected emissions. Obtaining equipment asap would enable a data collection and measurement regime to be established and benchmarking to commence. It’s important to understand that other pollution in the Vale, from the A38, M5, diesel trains and canal boats, and industrial premises is all discounted when incineration emissions are projected (see next). That is why we need monitoring equipment asap.
3. Plumeplotter continues to provide an invaluable indication of the anticipated level and nature of incinerator emissions, mapped onto the likely areas of deposition and displayed on the Glosvain website. Created by a local activist, the quality of this work has been positively peer-reviewed by a nationally recognised expert. We are grateful to both experts for enabling us to advise local residents in a more informed way than either GCC or UBB have managed to do.
4. This year will see the start of a new refuse collection contract in Stroud District. We hope residents who don’t compost will make use of the new food waste collection. We need to reduce waste and increase recycling in every way we can. The County Council’s waste strategy aspires to a 70% recycling rate, which is probably unattainable if the incinerator goes ahead. We suggest that the weight and volume per head of waste not recycled is a more critical factor and will ask that this data is regularly published on their website.
Finally, I hope the new year brings improvements in the quality of those things that are most important to us all and that Glosvain's work is a contributor to that.'
Gerald Hartley (Chair)
Please come and join us at a Demonstration on Wednesday 11 Nov at 9:15 am outside Shire Hall, Gloucester City Centre. The County Council Cabinet will be meeting on that day. They are set to make a decision that will make it more difficult than ever to ditch the incinerator.
They are planning to hand over a further £17m of our taxpayer cash to UBB to pay for escalating construction costs. This would make it a total of over £30m given to UBB upfront to start the incinerator project, before a spade has even broken ground. Astounding, when we know it would be better if GCC cancelled the project right now and paid the undisclosed cancellation fee. We could then save £10 million per annum, over 25 years, by using a better and cheaper alternative such as R4C (which would also cost £135m less to build!).
Neither elected councillors, nor the public, have ever been shown the full costs of the incinerator, despite the Information Commissioner having ordered GCC to disclose the details last month. It is outrageous that this hasn't happened. Instead, GCC is appealing the decision, keeping the information hidden for as long as possible, and until after they make this further financial commitment on 11 Nov.
Please help make a difference - come to the DEMO!
What else can you do.....?
--Email your county councillor..... Let's put as much pressure on theCabinet and Council as possible and make it clear that they are poised to make a thoroughly undemocratic and financially reckless decision.
Here's a list of all the councillors and their email addresses, ordered by their constituency. Alternatively you can look up contact details for them here on GCC's website. Please copy the leader of the council, Mark Hawthorne (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hope to see you on Wed 11th - bring a banner!
P.S. Don't forget, it's our AGM on Mon 9th November at 7:30pm at Quedgeley Community Centre.
Abbey (Andrew Gravells) email@example.com
All Saints and Oakley (Colin Hay) firstname.lastname@example.org
Barnwood and Hucclecote (David Brown) email@example.com
Barton and Tredworth (Jasminder Gill) firstname.lastname@example.org
Battledown and Charlton Kings (Paul McLain) email@example.com
Benhall and Up Hatherley (Simon Wheeler) firstname.lastname@example.org
Bishop's Cleeve (Robert Bird) email@example.com
Bisley and Painswick (Jason Bullingham) firstname.lastname@example.org
Blakeney and Bream (Richard Leppington) email@example.com
Northleach (Paul Hodgkinson) firstname.lastname@example.org
Brockworth (Robert Vines) email@example.com
Cam Valley (Brian Tipper) firstname.lastname@example.org
Campden-Vale (Lynden Stowe) email@example.com
Charlton Park and College (Klara Sudbury) firstname.lastname@example.org
Churchdown (Bill Whelan) email@example.com
Cinderford (Graham Morgan) firstname.lastname@example.org
Cirencester Beeches (Nigel Robbins) email@example.com
Cirencester Park (Joe Harris) firstname.lastname@example.org
Coleford (Paul McMahon) email@example.com
Coney Hill and Matson (Stephen McHale) firstname.lastname@example.org
Drybrook and Lydbrook (Colin Guyton) email@example.com
Dursley (Stephen Lydon) firstname.lastname@example.org
Lechlade on Thames (Ray Theodoulou) email@example.com
Grange and Kingsway (Barry Kirby) firstname.lastname@example.org
Hardwicke and Severn (Anthony Blackburn) email@example.com
Hempsted and Westgate (Pam Tracey) firstname.lastname@example.org
Hesters Way and
Springbank (Suzanne Williams) email@example.com
Highnam (Phil Awford) firstname.lastname@example.org
Kingsholm and Wotton (Jeremy Hilton) email@example.com
Lansdown and Park (Tim Harman) firstname.lastname@example.org
Leckhampton and Warden Hill (Iain Dobie) email@example.com
Longlevens (Kathy Williams) firstname.lastname@example.org
Lydney (Alan Preest) email@example.com
Minchinhampton (Stan Waddington) firstname.lastname@example.org
Mitcheldean (Brian Robinson) email@example.com
Nailsworth (Dorcas Binns) firstname.lastname@example.org
Newent (Will Windsor-Clive) email@example.com
Pittville and Prestbury (David Prince) firstname.lastname@example.org
Quedgeley (Mark Hawthorne) email@example.com
Rodborough (Brian Oosthuysen) firstname.lastname@example.org
Sedbury (Patrick Molyneux) email@example.com
South Cerney (Shaun Parsons) firstname.lastname@example.org
St Mark's and
St Peter's (Christopher Coleman) email@example.com
St Paul's and Swindon (Bernard Fisher) firstname.lastname@example.org
Stonehouse (Lesley Williams) email@example.com
Stow-on-the-Wold (Nigel Moor) firstname.lastname@example.org
Stroud Central (Sarah Lunnon) email@example.com
Tetbury (Anthony Hicks) firstname.lastname@example.org
Tewkesbury (Mike Sztymiak) email@example.com
Tewkesbury East (Vernon smith) firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuffley (Tracy Millard) email@example.com
Winchcombe and Woodmancote (Roger wilson) firstname.lastname@example.org
Wotton-under-Edge (John cordwell) email@example.com
Updated and revised plume models1
, using the US Environmental Protection Agency’s AERMOD
software which has regulatory status in the US, has established that the incinerator pollution could extend over populated areas of the Stroud District such as Edge, Paganhill, Whiteshill, Ruscombe and Randwick as well as Standish Woods, in addition to local areas we are already aware of such as Moreton Valence, Haresfield and Kingsway.
This new study
wind data rather than the Bristol Filton data used by Urbaser3
. In addition, the study has discovered that, because the incinerator building height and mass is so large in relation to the chimney height, the downwash from the buildings reduces the effective chimney height resulting in higher levels of pollution.
A fully peer reviewed report
from Imperial College on behalf of Public Health England has found that, for three incinerators studied in the UK, the measured pollution levels are factors of 3.6, 19, and 123 times the values predicted at the time of their planning approval2
It could be that similarly high levels of pollution will apply in the Stroud District? This would mean that the figures quoted and used by UBB at the public enquiry in 2014 could be wildly inaccurate and indeed using the best case in the PHE report would be 3.6 times worse than predicted, meaning that it could have a considerable detrimental effect on the local beech woods as well as on the health of local residents.
At a recent meeting between the local parish councils and UBB requests were made for UBB to provide pollution monitoring equipment so that community monitoring can take place.
There are better ways of dealing with our waste such as Community R4C
instead of outdated incineration.
1 See http://plumeplotter.com/news/hills/
2 “Using metal ratios to detect emissions from municipal waste incinerators in ambient air pollution data”, table 8 page 8. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231015300753
3 UBB's Air Quality Assessment (Planning Application appendix 13.1) can be found here
, where use of the Bristol Filton weather data is referenced. Note that Filton is approximately 40km from the Javelin Park site.
PRESS RELEASE - 9TH OCTOBER 2015
Gloucestershire County Council Ordered to Reveal Full Incinerator Contract Details
Campaigners opposed to the waste
incinerator planned for Javelin Park, near Gloucester, have won a long-running battle
to obtain the full details of the contract.
Since 2013 the Council had consistently
refused to disclose large swathes of information in their contract with
contractor UBB, because of "commercial
confidentiality", claiming that the commercial interests of GCC and UBB
would be prejudiced.
Now, following a ruling by
the government’s Information Commissioner, the Council is compelled to disclose
the information it has been withholding.
Campaign group GlosVAIN
and others have long sought the financial details held within the contract.
These had always been blacked out or “redacted” in any publication of contract
information made by the Council.
A further request for the
full incinerator contract and business case was made to the Council under
Freedom of Information (FOI) rules in Jan 2015. Following further refusal by
the Council to release full details, a complaint was made to the Information
Commissioners Office, which adjudicates on disputed FOI requests. Following a 5-month
review of the case, the Commissioner issued his decision via a “Decision
Notice” on 8th October.
To the delight of
campaigners, the Decision Notice now sees the ICO order GCC to release all the
information previously withheld in both the contract and business case. This is
expected to include key financial information and key dates.
Campaigners are expecting
the information by 12th November, with the Decision Notice stating that
“the public authority must
[disclose the information] within 35 calendar days” and that “Failure to comply
may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the
High Court […] and may be dealt with as a contempt of court.”
Haresfield resident, Cos
Ttofa, whose FOI request yielded the ICO decision, commented on the outcome.
“The ICO ruling is great news. Once the Council release the information, we the
public will finally get to see the full facts relating to this incinerator. It
has been a long waiting game. The ICO had previously ruled that other councils
had to disclose their incinerator contract details and GCC knew this. These
precedents meant it was almost inevitable that the council would be compelled
to release the information, and be shown to have been wrongfully and
unjustifiably withholding it from the public for years. The public have every
right to know how vast amounts of their money is planned to be spent.”
Sue Oppenheimer, Chair of
GlosVAIN commented, “The Council was wrong to hide this information from the
public. The ICO is very clear that GCC claims that the commercial interests of
the Council or UBB would be harmed are unfounded.
We should soon know
whether or not the Council’s claims of value for money from the incinerator and
large contract cancellation costs are all hot air. We suspect that the
information will support GlosVAIN’s assertion that the incinerator is a
dreadful financial deal for Gloucestershire taxpayers. Available
alternatives would be much cheaper, smaller, safer and more environmentally
friendly. The Council’s obsessive secrecy has always made us suspect that they
have something to hide and are seeking to cover up poor financial decision
making, by delaying release of this information for as long as they possibly
Notes for Editors
The full Decision Notice issued by the
Information Commissioners Office can be viewed here.
The Information Commissioner’s office is the UK’s independent
authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting
openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. https://ico.org.uk/
More information about the history of GlosVAIN’s attempts to
obtain the incinerator contract can be found on its website here.
A “38 Degrees”
petition demanding contract disclosure has obtained 4,700
signatures to date, evidencing the weight of public interest and concern about
non-disclosure of this information to date.
Opponents have long maintained that that the full cost details
of the largest, most
expensive contract that GCC had ever entered into needed to be in the public
domain, as the public had the right to know whether the Council was obtaining
value for money.
A wide variety of figures have been cited by GCC’s leaders in
relation to contract cancellation costs, ranging from £60m to £150m, but none
of these have ever been substantiated, whilst contract details have been
At the Council’s Extraordinary Meeting
that took place on 18th February 2015, many councillors voting on whether or
not to terminate the incinerator contract, complained about the lack of
access to the relevant financial information. Campaigners cited
this as a failure of local democracy.
Disclosure of the full contract, including termination costs,
will help proper scrutiny of the soundness or otherwise of the case for
continuing with the incinerator.
Former Secretary of State, Eric Pickles granted planning
permission on Appeal on 6th Jan 2015, despite prior unanimous rejection of the
proposal by the County Council’s Planning Committee.
At an Extraordinary GCC meeting on 18th Feb 2015 the
Council voted not to scrap the incinerator contract.
In 25th June 2015, Stroud District Council challenged
Eric Pickles decision at the High Court. However, this challenge was confirmed
as having failed on 10th July 2015, leaving the way open for the
incinerator to start being built in the summer of 2016, with it expected to
become operational in 2019.
Campaigners continue to battle against the plans despite the
existence of planning permission, with GlosVAIN declaring its support for rival
plans being progressed for the construction of an alternative to the incinerator
at the same Javelin Park site, utilising a form of Mechanical and Biological
Treatment of waste (MBHT). This project is named CommunityR4C. Further
information is available on the project’s website here.
SEPTEMBER 2015 UPDATE
Disclosure: still in the dark
Our requests for full disclosure from GCC of the planned Javelin Park incinerator contract, despite two months' chasing by the Information Commissioner's Office, are still being met with redacted documents. This is ridiculous and exasperating, but the Information Commissioner is still putting pressure on so it isn't over yet.
Recycling plant: a guiding light
In inspiring contrast, the response to the R4C project for a community benefit recycling plant has been hugely positive. The packed meeting on 7th July produced a core group of expert volunteers who have been working through the summer to get the project off the ground.
This plant could divert almost 95% of the county's black bag waste from potential incineration to efficient recycling and sustainable fuel creation. It can be implemented at District Council level - in line with the legal duty to re-use and recycle wherever possible.
Local well-known names Tom Percival (illustrator) and Kevin McCloud (presenter) have produced a fantastic little animation which explains it all
in 3 minutes.Watch it by clicking below. Please share it!
The project has also met with positive responses from local businesses and politicians.
Who needs an incinerator?
With this possibility now in place, the future for a mass-burn incinerator doesn't look so sure (despite planning permission). Within the next few years it may well become illegal to burn what could be recycled. R4C could therefore save the council from saddling us with an expensive redundancy.
The next step is to make this clear, and show what the public really supports.
What you can do to help:
- come along
to the next 38 Degrees Stroud meeting on Monday 21st September
, 7.30pm at the Old Town Hall where we will be focusing on the progress of this project, what it can do and how we can support it, for the sake of our health, our pockets and our landscape. RSVP here
. Read more in SNJ about the upcoming meeting here
your own community,
or help with high street leafletting - if you are interested in offering a little of your time to help spread the word in this or other ways please contact Lizzie here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for caring about this issue, and I look forward to seeing many of you on the 21st.
|Check out the all-new Community R4C website!|
on Community R4C
The following statement was agreed at the meeting of GlosVAIN supporters held at Standish Village Hall on 27th July 2015:
“The R4C proposal is consistent withGlosvain’s long held view that a Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) plant would be a better option for Gloucestershire’s waste than Mass Burn Incineration (MBI) with electricity generation. As we currently understand the R4C proposal, it would be at the better end of the spectrum of MBT configurations and therefore an appropriate alternative worthy ofGlosvain’s support. Had such a proposal come from any viable enterprise we would take the
Glosvain will continue to function as originally intended by the parish councils, individuals and groups who set it up and funded it, to oppose MBI at Javelin Park and to advance constructive alternatives. In the event that the MBI project moves toward construction, commissioning and operational phases, we envisage Glosvain continuing to monitor the inevitable impacts upon local communities.
It would not be appropriate for funds to be transferred from Glosvain to the R4C supporters group. Glosvain supporters will need to consider for themselves whether they wish to be involved in the group that is supporting the R4C proposal.”
48 HRS TO ACT - SAVE FOI!
Save our legitimate access to information under Freedom of Information. This is under threat! Access to info under FOI could still end up holding the key to overturning the the Gloucestershire incinerator case. Don't let FOI be watered down under government plans!
SIGN 38 DEGREES PETITION HERE
The government has a plan that’ll make it harder for us to find out what they’re really up to. They want to introduce fees - of up to £600! - for people who use Freedom of Information laws to find out the truth about what they’re doing. But we’ve got 48 hours to have our say and knock these plans out of the water.
The government has been forced to hold a public consultation on their cover-up plan. They’re trying to keep this under the radar, and aren’t expecting many responses. So if thousands of us feed in, we could overwhelm their consultation and topple these plans to make government information harder to get hold of.
Press Release, 28/6/2015
demanding release of financial details of incinerator contract
delayed again by Gloucestershire County Council officers
Freedom of Information request for the financial details of the
Javelin Park Incinerator contract has twice been delayed by GCC.
A delay of 20 days is now followed
by a further 4 week delay, as the council has again sought more time
before responding to enquiries.
have to ask why GCC are indulging in these
bureaucratic manoeuvres,” said GlosVain
spokesman and Haresfield resident Cos Ttofa, "other
opponents of the incinerator are also frustrated
by these delays and GlosVAIN suspect these are
deliberate tactics on the part of the council to withhold the
financial details of the deeply controversial incinerator for as long
Ttofa went on to note the recent Local
Government Transparency Code, October 2014, which obliges councils to
be transparent, and states "The
Government has not seen any evidence that publishing details about
contracts entered into by local authorities would prejudice
procurement exercises or the interests of commercial organisations,
or breach commercial confidentiality."
also pointed out the precedents
of other incinerator contracts (e.g. East Riding of Yorkshire and
Nottingham) for which the Information Commissioner has ruled that the
key financial details must
be disclosed, specifically "All
information relating to pricing contained within the contract
other than that highlighting specific costs or profits of the
calculate that the 2 working months’
worth of delays caused by GCC will have the effect of
keeping the financial details hidden during this
critical period for the Javelin Park project, as
the High Court to challenge Eric Pickles’
granting of planning permission is
currently being determined. This case will be pivotal to the
fate of the incinerator. Should Stroud DC win the case, the Secretary
of State will need to reconsider the Appeal
against the refusal of planning permission.
first delayed the process of responding to the requests and
subsequent complaints in February, when a further 20 days were taken
on top of the usual 20 for the council to make its full, initial
response. By mid-April, the council had responded to a complaint by
reiterating its refusal to release the information.
Requestors have since referred their complaint to the government
Office (ICO), where the case is currently under review. Deadlines
placed on GCC by the ICO Case Officer to respond to enquiries have
been missed. Instead, the council has further delayed the process by
requesting a further 4 weeks from the ICO to respond. GCC has claimed
as its justification for its request for further time that the
project leader for residual waste is currently away from the office.
Extraordinary Meeting that took place on 18th February, many
councilors voting on whether or not to terminate the incinerator
contract, complained about the
lack of access to the relevant financial information.
The contract termination costs remain undisclosed. A wide variety of
figures were cited by GCC’s
leaders, ranging from £60m to £150m, but none of these have been
contends that the full contract, including termination costs, is
needed to allow proper scrutiny of the soundness or otherwise of the
case for continuing with the incinerator. Lack of transparency is
directly affecting the democratic processes in the Council, with
potentially enormous financial ramifications.
reasons allowable for withholding the information under the heading
of "commercial confidentiality" would have to be that
there is either a trade secret that disclosure would reveal, or,
that the commercial interests of GCC or UBB would be prejudiced.
These would have to outweigh the public interest for releasing the
information in order for the information to be withheld.
Mar - detailed case for disclosure submitted to GCC by
Haresfield resident whilst awaiting their response. The disclosure
of key contract financial details by other authorities in relation
to incinerators, as mandated on appeal to the Information
Commissioner's Office was cited. More detail in 11 Mar GlosVAIN
press release here.
Mar - GCC provide response
and re-release contract
However, still heavily redacted and not a single piece of additional
financial information disclosed, with GCC again citing commercial
confidentiality as the reason.
July - the revised deadline for response by GCC to ICO
Stroud District Council was at the High Court on 25th June to challenge the granting of planning permission by Eric Pickles earlier in the year.
The Judge, Mrs Justice Lang, deferred her decision. So we now wait for the outcome, which could take up to a few weeks.
If Stroud's challenge is successful, the Secretary of State (now no longer Mr. Pickles following the election) will need to retake his decision. This could either reaffirm the planning permission previously granted by Pickles or, hopefully, reject it.
If Stroud DC's challenge is unsuccessful, there will be nothing left to do via the standard process to stop the incinerator.
You can read more about the High Court challenge in the following press articles:
Stroud Council's Legal Hearing Nears
Instigated by Stroud District Council, a legal case challenging the legitimacy of Pickles' decision is due to be heard by the High Court in London on 25th June. If this challenge succeeds, it will delay the project for further inquiry, and it hinges on the height and scale of the incinerator.
This is directly related to the issue of pollution, as the proposed height of the chimney stack is linked to the toxic nature of emissions - if all you are puffing out is steam, for example, you can do that at 5 metres. If you need the planned (astonishing!) 70 metres, there's a good reason for that, and those toxins will still be ending up somewhere...
This link will show you in real time where they are predicted to go:http://www.plumeplotter.com/glos/
TOXIN FREE TEA PARTY!
Following Jeremy Irons' galvanising and sell-out appearance in Stroud last month, local communities are taking democracy into their own hands and conducting "toxin free" community surveys (in the style of the remarkably effective Lock the Gate movement in Australia).
Haresfield itself, located right next to the Javelin Park site, is completing its survey as I write and preliminary results show that 98% of residents wish to declare their village free of incineration pollution, which is a clear statement of no social licence for this incinerator.
To celebrate this result and make it known to the world, the village is throwing a delightfully decorous ...
Toxin Free Tea Party at the gates of Javelin Park
Saturday 20th June at 4pm
... where a wide verge of beautifully kept grassy lawn, well protected from traffic, beckons us all to join them with picnic blankets and flasks of tea, a mere few days before the High Court hearing.
Do come along (just off Junction 12 of the M5, direction Stonehouse - park in good time at the Wyevale Garden Centre GL10 3DP)... naturally all County Councillors will receive personal invitations and the press have already been alerted.
Look forward to seeing many of you there!
Getting the Full Contract Revealed
We are still awaiting the outcome of applying to the Information Commissioner's Office to enforce transparency around Gloucestershire County Council's contract with UBB.
JEREMY IRONS SAYS... "GIRD YOUR LOINS, MOBILISE, BE NAUGHTY!"
The screening of the film Trashed at Stroud Cinema on 4th May was a sell out. Star of the film, Jeremy Irons, introduced the film and took part in a lively discussion following the screening. The evening was an inspiring and renewed call to action and to not stop fighting!
You can read more about the events of the evening on the website here.
A lively discussion followed the celebrity screening of Jeremy Irons' documentary "Trashed" at the Vue cinema in Stroud last night (4 May). The film focuses on how we deal with waste in our culture, the extent to which this pollutes both locally and globally, and why landfill and incineration do not solve the problem but compound it.
Locally based barrister and earth lawyer Polly Higgins (top left in the picture) hosted a highly interactive Q&A session with Jeremy Irons, internationally acclaimed actor and star of the film, and Sue Oppenheimer (in the stripy top in the picture), who for the last few years has headed up the local campaign against the proposed Javelin Park incinerator.
Among the issues highlighted were the failure of democracy which is clearly shown by the ability of one government minister (Eric Pickles) to overturn a lengthy local democratic planning process which had culminated in the incinerator's unanimous planning refusal in 2013.
Jeremy Irons was sympathetic to how exhausting it has been working in the face of the extraordinary lack of transparency around the Javelin Park contract, and urged the audience to "re-gird your loins... look for the cracks... and embarrass people" . When following rules and procedures does not give room to acknowledge the real dangers, it is up to all of us, as Polly Higgins emphasized, to "shine a light on the duty of care" that those in public office have, "a duty to first, do no harm".
Stroud MP candidates and Gloucestershire County Councillors were all sent personal letters and emails offering free tickets to the screening on the grounds that it would usefully inform their duty to the public interest. However, while it was encouraging that the MP candidates all attended or sent proxies (with the exception of Neil Carmichael), only 3 County Councillors took up this offer (Sarah Lunnon, Steve Lydon, Brian Oosthuysen). 5 more politely declined (Colin Guyton, Paul Hodgkinson, Paul McMahon, David Prince, Suzanne Williams) on grounds of previous knowledge of the film or prior engagement. But a shocking 45 councillors did not even respond, including the Councillor in whose ward the incinerator is planned (Tony Blackburn) and the Leader of the Council (Mark Hawthorne).
While some Councillors are personally opposed to the Javelin Park project, it is an astonishingly poor show of interest in such a major local issue in the run-up to a general election, when a 30-second phone call or a 1-line email could easily have been made.
As Councillor Steve Lydon (Labour) said - "This is not over yet." Green Councillor and MP candidate Sarah Lunnon (just behind Jeremy in the picture) highlighted the very real possibilities for dealing far better with our recycling in such a way as to make incineration completely redundant and inappropriate (even were it safe, which the film made clear is very far from the case).
Jojo Mehta of Toxin Free Network (far left in the picture above), organising the event, said: "The evening was both entertaining and deadly serious. In particular it was heartening to have discussion on re-framing the issue in a way that actually gives the people a voice. Ultimately, no matter what is decided in the corridors of power, the social licence rests with us, with the people. Please go to www.toxinfreecommunity.org
to see how we can all have a say in what affects us and our families and communities."
She and Lizzie Fletcher of 38 Degrees Stroud would like to thank all those who made the evening possible, from Sue, Lynsey and all the Vue cinema staff to local chef and cafe proprietor Nic Allan who served an exquisite supper to Jeremy and guests at Star Anise (see pic), to Amy Perry whose Tetbury antique shop provided the lovely retro 50s chairs for the discussion, and of course to Polly Higgins for hosting, to the brave Sue Oppenheimer who joined the panel at the last minute on the personal invitation of Jeremy Irons, and to Jeremy himself. "I'm an actor, not an activist", he said. "I'm just a trumpet. It's all of you who can take this forward. Gird your loins, mobilise... be naughty!" Now there's an invitation.
Inspired to take action? We hope so! Join the discussion on the GlosVAIN Discussion Group - help take forward campaign ideas and share your own. View the group here. If we mobilise we can stop this.
TRASHED - THE MOVIE
38 Degrees have managed to get Jeremy Irons, multi-award winning stage and screen star, to come and personally present his film Trashed (2012), in which he stars and narrates a hard-hitting exposé of the perils of landfill and incineration, backed by academic and scientific experts from around the world.
The event is at the big screen in Stroud VUE Cinema on the evening of bank holiday Monday 4th May at 7.30pm and there are just a few tickets left.
All Gloucestershire County Councillors have been offered complimentary tickets on the basis that their duty to the public interest will be usefully informed by the content of the film...
After the film there will be a discussion and Q&A hosted by barrister and earth lawyer Polly Higgins.
Ever wanted to know where the emissions coming out of the incinerator stack would land? A local resident has developed a model to indicate where the plume from the incinerator would go and what concentrations of pollutants it would disperse.
This is a real-time model showing wind direction and predicted concentrations of pollutants on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour basis. It has been verified by a number of independent analysts, and is viewed to be as valid and as accurate as any of the information produced by UBB. You can see the model here: http://www.plumeplotter.com/glos/ . The message it gives is really powerful - see what you think.