Meeting Hears Of Strong Mistrust Of Council Over Waste

moorwell alp 2There’s strong mistrust of certain Council officers and a feeling that islanders’ representations on waste have not been considered.

That view was voiced by both councillors and residents last night at a waste strategy meeting, called to address strong opposition to proposals for storing so-called ‘inert’ material at Pendrathen.

Resident Stuart Moore claimed that certain Council departments, “think they can act with impunity” and “walk over us.”

Stuart asked whether the use of Pendrathen for that purpose was a “done deal,” claiming the Council had a “history of going through the motions.”

Andy Street from the Council’s waste consultants SLR said no decision had been taken on which site to use for material removed from the ‘Moorwell Alp.’

Porth Wreck and exporting to the mainland are also considered options, but not all islanders were convinced.

Some locals felt the Council couldn’t be trusted to monitor and check waste for dumping, if Pendrathen was approved.

Linda Wornes quoted an Environment Agency officer who claimed they had a heavy workload and that meant arranging inspections from Bodmin could be difficult.

Some locals felt it would be hard to separate the existing Moorwell waste material and clean it up for removal and storage.

Dr Randolph Hessing produced a bag of waste dumped at Pendrathen which he alleged contained asbestos and also plastics, metal and glass shards.

Andy Street of SLR couldn’t offer an explanation. He said SLR had not been involved in that work. But when a Council worker alleged that she’d been told by another officer that recent dumping at Pendrathen was guided by SLR, Andy Street said they’d consider legal action against whoever had made that false statement.

The SLR consultants were then challenged over which Council officer they answered to, responding that it was the chief technical officer, Neville Gardner.

And that brought an angry response from the audience that no senior officer was in attendance. It was “shameful’ said vice chairman Amanda Martin and Cllr Dudley Mumford said it was “appalling.”

It was also noted that neither General Purposes committee chair or vice-chair, Cllrs Ticehurst and Lowen had attended. Their committee is responsible for waste management.

The overall waste strategy was approved in 2009 but it now appears it wasn’t widely consulted on within the Town Hall.

Cllr Mumford claimed that a working party of just four councillors and not the full General Purposes committee had seen the financial costings for the options available. He said he hadn’t seen it.

Dudley wanted to reinvestigate shipping waste off the islands. There was a feeling that quoted tonnage rates were inaccurate and that it would be preferable to use a specialist mainland facility, like the new plant at St Denis in Cornwall.

There may be no need to build a new incinerator at all, some islanders claimed.

Sue Hodgson asked SLR for a guarantee that Pendrathen and Porth Wreck, “would not be spoiled.” She didn’t get that, but Andy Street conformed that they had received a strong message, which would be reflected in their recommendations.

And after the 90-minute session, the consultants were left in no doubt about the strength of opposition to plans to transport waste across St Mary’s for storage.

There was also uncertainty over the next steps since no senior officers were present to advise. It’s thought that the report will go the General Purposes committee and, if Pendrathen is recommended as a storage site, it will then need to go before Planning.

4 Responses to Meeting Hears Of Strong Mistrust Of Council Over Waste