Waste Consultation Compared To Farce

moorwell alp 2The consultation into waste management in Scilly has been compared to a, “Brian Rix farce” by the Council’s vice chair.

Amanda Martin joined other elected members in heavily criticising the process.

The debate, arranged by community group Heart, resolved that there’ll be a serious challenge to the Council proposals for waste management.

Consultants SLR shared their plans last month, but many islanders and the councillors present at Wednesday’s sessions felt there had not been proper promotion of the future waste consultation exercise.

Cllr Dudley Mumford claimed that the Council was guilty of failing to kick off the consultation properly and Cllr Martin was applauded when she added that it was a, “blue print on how not to do a consultation.”

She warned that the public needs to be taken seriously and some councillors are very concerned over the process so far.

Dr Randolf Hessing spoke of the, “anger and shock” of Telegraph area residents when they learned about the plans. He went door-to-door to speak with them about the proposals.

There could be increased traffic in that area and down MacFarland’s Down under the plans to shift ‘inert’ waste from Moorwell to Pendrathen.

Juliet May was concerned that 35,000 tonnes of rubbish could be transported by that route.

Dr Hessing had asked for more copies of the consultation leaflets to distribute. He found it difficult to get them, first being told they had been taken back to the mainland and that the Town Hall had no copies.

One islander asked whether it was cynical to question whether the perceived lack of promotion was deliberate so that people didn’t know about it.

Dr Hessing spoke against the plans. He told the meeting that, “everything man ever made is tipped on that dump.” He opposes, “taking bits, saying it’s inert and carting it around the island.”

Cllr Dudley Mumford warned that, “technically, the dump is probably polluted anyway.” He explained that the Council knew that there had been leaching at Moorwell and had to deal with that previously.

Some attendees felt the Council had already made their minds up and there was uncertainty over who was driving the process. And while Cllr Marian Bennett felt that councillors should take responsibility for the situation, the meeting heard that none of the members who attended the session were on the General Purposes committee, which oversees waste.

Ray Wornes went further, making allegations over the competence of the chief technical officer Neville Gardner over the process.

Amanda Martin said that Mr Gardner had spoken highly of the consultation jn a Council meeting the previous day. She recommended that people watch the webcast to, “get a feeling” of how the waste exercise was viewed.

Unfortunately that meeting is currently unavailable online.

Cllr Bennett explained that SLR appeared to be Defra’s preferred consultants and the government agency was paying the bill. She credited the, “good job” they had done on Bryher after their plans had made, “an enormous improvement to waste management.”

But while Amanda wanted a second consultation meeting, many attendees appear to have made their minds up and want the plans stopped.

It was asked whether the Council has authority to stop SLR while they are investigated. Mr Wornes claimed SLR’s Andy Street said the decision had not been made.

Amanda suggested that written evidence of opposition through signed letters would be the appropriate means to show opposition, rather than email or petitions.

The meeting heard a motion could be brought if locals wrote, “signed and dated” letters to the chairman. Then councillors would vote on whether to keep or kick out the proposals.

Meeting chairman Adrian Davies agreed that Heart should help facilitate that process after there was unanimous support from the attendees for that.


25 Responses to Waste Consultation Compared To Farce

  1. paula March 11, 2013 at 4:47 am

    i agree with adam and ray.
    more needs to be done to help residents and visitors reduce the amount of rubbish we all produce in the first place, followed by effective sorting and ‘management’ of the waste produced.
    councils around the country do provide food composting schemes, i have no idea how much it would cost to set up but removing a good proportion of waste that needs to be processed might in some ways pay for itself, plus the possibility of a small return on selling the end product.
    Andy Street said to me at the presentation ( i refuse to call it consultation) that waste management needs to be achieved through many small scale schemes, its about the only thing i agree with.
    businesses on the channel islands are encouraged to return printer cartridges for recycling to prevent leeching of chemicals into the soil.
    many councils have reclamation yards where they sell useful items, furniture, crockery etc it might only be a small return but perhaps if handled properly it could work.
    We need a fully knowledgable and commited person to lead us in this.
    the co-op say they are commited to reducing food packaging and as one of our biggest importers i would hope this is true, so why then does all my veg come in bags, often in a plastic tray in a bag?
    i worry about the use of an incinerator and the ash it produces, where does that go?
    its not really a new incinerator we need but a whole new community mindset.

  2. Todd Stevens February 11, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Also- Im told that the old incinerator has always had a capacity to produce power for the islands- but it was never put into operation!! If true-that has been an utter waste of a very valuable resource; and one that should not be allowed to re-occur IF we should be forced to have another similar new machine.

  3. Todd Stevens February 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    At a recent meeting with the SLR team they stated that yes, the Moorwell site is horrific- but to a mainland inceration unit the household rubbish mound is nothing. Mr Gardner should be asked why it has it not been shipped in the past everytime the incinerator broke down or was “upgraded”- I rather suspect the answer would be in his own statement that it had been useful to gain funding. Well thanks for that Nev!!

    I cant see any reason why household rubbish cant be shipped in those lorry containers that have built in compactor units . One or two of those per week sent off on the boat to be burnt on the mainland would be about all we’d need to keep ahead of it.

    Worried about shipping rubbish on a boat that brings our food? Howabout a supply boat with two separate compartments-food comes over in one- rubbish goes back in the other instead of going back empty as it does now.

    Said Boat instead of an incinerator please!?

  4. Ray and Linda Wornes February 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    21 years ago Biffa Waste offered our Council the opportunity to transport all of our waste to the mainland. That offer was ignored by Officers despite their own concerns about the threat to our water supplies from toxic leachates seeping from the ash tip alongside the incinerator. The Moorwell tipsite would not be there today and there would be no need to spread the present toxic waste anywhere else on these islands if they had taken up the offer.

    A new start is therefore required with a new Chief Technical Officer highly skilled and experienced in separation, recycling and transportation methods. Why have we wasted 21 years to return to the same policy of toxic waste dumping in the Pendrathen and Bar Point coastline and another highly toxic incinerator with the problem of disposing of hazardous fly ash (from the filters in the chimney) and toxic bottom ash? We are being told that a new
    ‘energy from waste’ incinerator is ‘renewable energy’ but the fact is that when recyclable material is burned, much more energy is required to replace the material burned. A Canadian study has estimated that “on average, recycling saves 3 to 5 times as much energy as is produced by incinerating municipal solid waste.”

  5. Excelsior! February 11, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Only two questions to consider:

    1) Was the consultation done in the right way.

    2) is teh solution in the best LONG TERM interest of the islands.

    If people are complaining about the short-term effects of waste being transported past their houses and an increase in vehicular activity, then that’s a poor show.

    If, and I stress, IF, this is the best long-term solution to the very serious issue of waste management on Scilly, then some people are going to need to accept that. Unless, that is, they dont actually care about the islands. Some short-term pain in exchange for long-term gain is essential here, we’re in a mess.

    I see Juliet May was complaining about 35,000 tonnes of rubbish passing by her house. Well, let’s be honest Juliet, what percentage of that came from your restaurant and chalets?
    Not a barbed comment, just asking a question, perhaps an uncomfortable question but a valid one.

    The Moorwell Alp didnt just happen because the Council are ‘evil’ or poor at their jobs, it happened because we’re all guilty of pretending that waste just disappears when the binmen take it from outside our house once a week. It happened because we buried our heads in the sand and preferred to live in a dreamworld where rubbish just evaporates. These are questions that we should have been asking 20 years ago.

    I’d like to see businesses charged a lot more for waste disposal, especially the Co-op. Sorry, businesses already charge a fortune for an inferior product, you can use those profit margins to help us deal with the waste you produce that we cant get rid of.

  6. Adam Morton,St.Martins February 11, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I don’t suppose there is much choice over shipping out the current mountain of mixed rubbish, but in future I cannot see that filling in a large hole with rubble & broken masonry can be a bad thing. The key to avoiding the problem in future is separation at source to prevent contamination. White goods are now shipped out and disposed of by the manufacturers; Glass can be suitably crushed for aggregates and sold back to the public or used by the council or recycled in some manner. Steel and aluminium cans should be sorted, crushed and sent for recycling. Kitchen waste can be composted in sophisticated composting machines if biodegradable bags are used. Cardboard and paper can be sorted, baled and sent for recycling as can plastics. This still leaves nappies & dog waste etc that will have to be incinerated using fuel to burn it. I very much doubt there will be any significant saving from an expensive incinerator that’s supposed to produce electricity.
    The problem is not so much buying machines to do this but paying enough labour to run these systems. However carefully some people sort and clean their rubbish there is always one idiot that chucks a piece of iron in a bale of paper or a bag of maggoty fish heads in with the cardboard which breaks the machinery or some poor soul has to sort through. I think that the commercial skip waste will have to be tightened up a lot as furniture from holiday lets and other commercial items are just getting piled up with no one paying for their disposal. I am told that on the mainland it costs£5-600 to hire a skip, painful though it will be, it may be the only option for avoiding this again. Even if all this is done properly it will still require a huge labour force and wage bill, the more the public does for themselves the less it will be. But it’s still going to cost everyone a lot more than a grant. Landfill on someone else’s back door is totally unacceptable in this day and age. One only has to look at what the boat brings in to know what must go out! About 15.000 tons a year isn’t it? Probably enough to keep a small landing craft busy full time! As far as I am concerned any council consultation is a joke. Firstly few of us hear about it till it’s happened and then fewer still can get to it from the off islands unless they pay a special to get there and back.

  7. Pat Hicks February 11, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Interesing what Bryher resident says.. I was lead to believe from councilor bennett at the HEART meeting that all was working very well. and you were happy with the way it was running !!

  8. Mark Prebble February 11, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Not many comments in support of the Alp then…

    We have until 15th Feb to provide comments to SLR about their proposal

    Its not too late to support your elected council members in a call to review the whole waste management process.

    Please consider expressing your opinion to them as they will be the ones making the final decision on our future.

  9. Nobby Nobbs February 10, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Well said that person

    I think this year is going to be a big wake up call for a lot people who depend upon tourism for their living.
    And Kev Wright is absolutely right, things need to be discussed not hidden away.
    If the technical dept had engaged the population in a debate in the first place, then the issue would have been dealt with, but as ever they try and sneak things through on the qt, and then wonder why people complain.

    This website may well be us washing our dirty laundry in public, but it has given the people of these islands a voice for the first time. And look at the changes for the better that have already happened. “Yet another islander” should look upon debate and dialogue as a healthy thing that should be embraced. The last thing we want to do as a community is return to the days where nothing was said through fear of retribution.

  10. pete February 10, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    the alp should be removed from the islands totally to a centre that can dispose and recycle it..what ever the cost may be.
    get a grant money to do it , say its a once only removal , then get the council to be bold and bring in proper recycling and waste collection and disposal.
    Make it innovative , different , whatever? but our refuse collection from all the islands need sorting.
    imo at the moment the alp is in the perfect place to remove it from the islands as its right next to a beach so access via landing craft/barges is easy (winter months maybe ?) once you move it all round the islands it becomes so much harder for future generations to remove it if needed.
    in the summer over 20 large bags of rubbish and some 6-10 skips of waste metal and building rubble are shipped into st marys which all adds to the alp at moorwell, so whats the difference between off island rubbish being shipped to st marys and ALL the rubbish being shipped to the mainland for proper disposal ??

  11. Pat Hicks February 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Well said by returned Scillonian, kev wright etc.
    This site is a good way to bring things out in the open
    its good because the public do not discuss what goes on over here like it used to… but it is getting better.
    And hopefully by airing our views,
    things have got a better chance of being sorted out..
    the visitors i am sure are glad that we are all being more open .
    We have been held/stopped for far to long…

  12. Kev Wright February 10, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I couldn’t agree more with this statement from Returned Scillonian.

    “What galls me is the almost-racist view of some locals who berate and moan about anyone who isn’t locally born and bred on these islands. After travel costs these unfriendly moneygrabbers who make me ashamed of my heritage are the second biggest reason why Scilly is loosing visitors each year.”

  13. Returned Scillonian February 10, 2013 at 10:35 am

    “yet another islander” is a classic example of what is wrong with these islands. I’ve been away for 15 years. Maybe he or she should have experienced life elsewhere. We’re falling way, way behind. MANY Businesses in Scilly are tired and feature poor quality, poor service. As a Scillonian I am fed up of the argument against talking about anything negative. The dump is there. It needs removing. We’re told it will be. Any visitor will be able to see it. It’s there and surely the fact that we are talking about shifting this carbunkle is a postive? What galls me is the almost-racist view of some locals who berate and moan about anyone who isn’t locally born and bred on these islands. After travel costs these unfriendly moneygrabbers who make me ashamed of my heritage are the second biggest reason why Scilly is loosing visitors each year.

  14. Mark Prebble February 10, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Yes we all contribute to it, businesses and households alike, do we have any other choice?

    Have we been asked how we’d like to deal with our rubbish? So the council has a plan to spread the Morewell Alp around St Mary’s. That’ll get rid of it but how do we stop it building up again?

    How about making less rubbish to start with. How about the council providing decent options for the recycling of more materials as well as making it easier for everyone.

    It’s not negative publicity, it’s a plea for something to be left for the children and grandchildren to enjoy.

  15. yet another islander February 9, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    I know the dump isn’t good but every single one of us contributes to it. Once again let’s air our dirty laundry for all the world to see and put as much of a negative advertising as we can on this site; that will really encourage the visitors to the islands.

    • Kev Wright February 10, 2013 at 8:22 am

      So do you suggest we sit and twiddle our thumbs and do nothing about it? Big stories like this are bound to make news – because they are. And this is a news site, and one that people have offered very sensible (and some not so sensible) suggestions on. Having this debate is doing good for the long-term prospects of Scilly. If we go back to secret meetings and letting one man decide what happens then we might as well all give up now and move away. I’ve heard Scunthorpe’s just been decalred the least romantic place in the UK. Let’s all go there and quietly wallow in our misery without doing anything about it.

  16. Bill Hiner February 9, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Why is there no reclaimation yard on St Marys? I see tons of useful, used timber and furniture etc being dumped. Can this not be recycled by re-use?

  17. john allsop February 9, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Isn,t it about time that someone realized that rubbish can no longer be piled up on the islands. It must be shipped to a location where it can be dealt with in a proper manner. It will cost but that is what the goverment is for. No one will come to the rubbish islands or live there. The mainland could ship there rubbish there and artificial moutains of it can be built which is what has already happened, as a visitor said to me about the existing one which could be easily be seen from a launch as we headed for St Martins,his words were” what a dump.”

  18. Nobby Nobbs February 9, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Ray Wornes is absolutely right when he criticises the competence of the chief technical officer Neville Gardner

    One does have to question the chief technical officer’s competence, he has after all been in post for over 20yrs and the Moorswell alp has happen under his Stewardship.

    The weigh bridge which was installed under Neville’s stewardship has never worked and the incinerator isn’t much better. And don’t get me started on the sewage system.

  19. Pat Hicks February 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I went to the HEART/Community meeting and i would like to thank the councilors who was willing to answer questions. been along time coming.. I admire the councilors who have admitted that things have not always been right, and are willing to try and change things, but there are still a few who i think are in denial . i think those need to take a good look at themselfes. !! especially if they want to be relected

  20. IOS fan February 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    We returned to the IOS last year after a 20 year interval. It was wonderful to be back. We were however bemused by the lack of recycling practised, here at home in rural isolation we have green bins, black bins, boxes and crates for virtually everything – add composting to the equation and we have minimal rubbish that has to be disposed of. We have become adept and sorting and saving and so it was a bit of a shock to stuff everything in one bag for the early morning daily collection on St Marys – surely a vehicle could be adapted to collect sorted waste? Recycling must surely be the way forward?

    • Ian T February 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      Hear, hear! And, moreover, the situation that exists on Scilly wouldn’t be tolerated here on the mainland. Just another example of the Council not pressing Central Government for the essentials that others enjoy. I don’t suppose any Scottish Islands have the problems that Scilly has like.. transport, sewage, etc.

  21. Bryher resident February 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I wonder when Cllr Bennett last visited the Bryher dump, its an eye sore, and to try to improve the situation they have built a high fence around it and locked it so that no one can use it except for one hour on Saturday, we have to put up with rubbish collecting up around our property, the rats are having a field day, “good job” they had done on Bryher NOT! .

  22. Fran Grottick February 8, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Please may I correct an inaccuracy.
    Cllr. Martin did not say that the Consultation Process itself
    was a farce.
    The term was used to describe the difficulties that
    Dr. Hessing encountered when trying to obtain copies of the
    response document from SLR from our Town Hall.
    It is fair to say that there was concern expressed to the Panel
    about the process and possible outcome of the current
    “consultation” process, and that Councillors recognised
    those concerns.
    Letters to Chairman Mike Hicks were advocated if the Public have
    any concerns.
    Please clarify this, thanks,
    Fran Grottick(Heart Committee member)

  23. Mark Prebble February 8, 2013 at 8:50 am

    It probably comes as no surprise to members of the community that any transparency into the council decision making process is once again denied to us by the web cast recording currently being unavailable.

    I was at this meeting and would like to clarify your report, Councillor Martin’s analogy to a farce was specifically directed at the way in which Dr Hessing was given the run-around by council employees in his efforts to engage with the “consultation” process.

    The striking similarities between the recent SLR presentation and Kier’s presentation of the Porthcressa redevelopment, such that the way a council committee’s decision on a scheme is portrayed as a consultation process makes a mockery of pretending there is any real engagement with the public on decisions that affect us all.

    One would expect the council to face criticism and opposition to its waste management strategy should it persist in its refusal to engage meaningfully with the community about how we are to deal with our waste from the past as well as in the future. The current view of the council’s technical department would appear to be to spread the Morewell Alp around the island and burn everything else it can.