We were very sorry to learn that Bedfordshire Against Covanta Incinerator (BACI) have lost their battle to stop the incinerator at Rookery Pit, just south of Bedford from gaining an operating licence.
A high court judgement has ruled in favour of the Environment Agency and has dismissed their claim to quash the Permit. You can read the full story here:
We must continue to fight the Emsrayne application every step of the way. The decision to give Covanta the operational go-ahead will mean that there is even more over capacity of incineration in the UK and less justification for yet another massive incinerator.
Please continue to spread the word and invite more of your friends and family to join us by signing up for the fight on our web site and by joining our facebook group.
Sincere thanks from all the SHLI team
9th November 2018
It’s been a while since the last newsletter but a fair bit has been happening, from disappearing banners to meetings at Parliament and with the head of Central Beds Council. We still need to continue to raise awareness and funds ahead of the inevitable planning application submission. Read on for a full update.
Planning Application Submission
Unfortunately Emsrayne Renewable Energy Limited are still going ahead with submission of their planning application for a 49.9MW incinerator. We don’t know when they plan to submit their application but understand they will soon. The battle is not over.
Following on from the success of the envelope stuffing event in early October we’ve managed to reach over 3500 residents in the Caddington Ward. We know from Central Beds councillors, including Kevin Collins that many residents are extremely concerned and have now contacted him and his colleague to express their views, confirming that the majority of those contacting them are from Central Bedfordshire. We want to thank those people for contacting their councillors and to all those who helped to get the message out there.
The Strange Case of the Missing Banners!
Some of you may have noticed that a number of banners went missing from the junction of the Chiltern Green Road with the B653. It transpired that the waste company Biffa had been instructed by a Central Beds Councillor to remove them. The banners were taken from the cycle path bridge and around the junction. These banners were taken without permission from private property. They should not have been removed. We’ve complained about this and have been assured by CBC that they are looking into the matter. Watch this space...
Total Fina Pipeline
Following careful study of the Scoping Opinion issued by Central Beds Planning it seems that the developer has to agree with the pipeline manager a detailed and costed plan for relocating the high pressure Total Fina fuel pipeline that cuts diagonally across the proposed site. This will be a risky and complicated relocation and we, as local residents, and CBC planners will be looking very closely at the proposal to ensure it has been fully planned in great detail, as the potential impact of an accident is huge.
Meeting at Parliament
On 16th October four representatives of SHLI were invited to meet with Bim Afolami MP at parliament. We were there to meet with Grant Shapps MP for Welwyn Hatfield. The meeting was a very positive one in which Grant outlined what we should focus on to defeat this proposal and explained his part in the successful opposition to the proposed incinerator at New Barnfield, Hatfield. He explained to us that, with a proposal such as ours it is highly likely it will get called in to the Secretary of State.
Bim Afolami told us that he has spoken with a number of MPs who have incinerators in their constituencies and their opinion is that we should do everything we can to stop an incinerator being built. They believe there are still too many unanswered questions concerning the potential health impact of incinerator emissions, some of which are still unmeasurable. Bim has assured us he will join us in doing everything he can to stop this happening.
Meeting with Central Beds Council
On the 23rd October four SHLI representatives and a parish councillor from East Hyde met with Central Beds Council’s leader James Jamieson, a CBC planning official and Caddington Councillor Kevin Collins to express our concerns over the proposal. They stressed that they were not able to offer any opinion or take a position as they have to remain neutral at this time. We raised concerns not only about the incinerator but the removal of the banners and the social media comments by Councillor Richard Stay which detail his support for the proposed development, whilst other CBC councillors have remained silent. The council were concerned to hear about the removal of the banners and we are pleased to say that following on from the meeting they have now published a statement on their website which you can read here:
We are continuing to raise awareness and ask that you all share our campaign with friends online and by word of mouth. We will be holding a public information event in Caddington in the new year. We still need to raise more funds for the inevitable costs we will incur in opposing the planning application. If you need a supporters’ pack (car stickers, posters, flyers etc) please email email@example.com and we will post you one.
For now, we are playing a waiting game. As soon as the application is submitted we will let you know. We will then leap into action, analysing the application and submitting an objection point-by-point with the help of all our supporters and professional consultants.
Sincere thanks from all the SHLI team
2nd November 2018
A big thank you for helping us raise awareness of this dreadful proposal. We could not have got this far so quickly without the help of our supporters.
The Supporters' Meeting last Saturday was a great success and gave us the opportunity to meet many of our wonderful supporters and to update them on the campaign. We were also excited to meet many great new friends offering their support.
If you missed any of it, here are some audio files of the presentations from the SHLI team:
In the few short weeks since we launched our campaign we have gained over 3,000 website sign-ups and over 4,600 Facebook members. We’ve also raised almost £13,000 towards our fighting fund. An astonishing achievement! However, this is just the beginning of our fight. Together we must take this momentum forward to ensure we’ve done everything possible to to defeat Emsrayne’s ridiculous proposal.
If you were unable to attend the meeting and would like a supporter’s pack containing leaflets, car stickers and posters with information on what you can do next, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for all of your efforts.
Together we can beat this!!
Very best wishes,
The SHLI team
8th September 2018
We’ve been hard at work raising awareness in so many different ways. We’ve had a few things to celebrate but still have a very long way to go.
Our volunteers have been handing out leaflets and talking to people at the airport consultations and across Herts and Beds - a huge thankyou to Liz for organizing them all. Raising awareness like this and meeting people face to face has proved to be an incredibly effective way of getting the message out there. See note from Liz below.
Jeff and his helpers have been up in the early hours before the heat and the sun come up putting up banners in prominent places; you may have seen the huge banners on the cycle bridge on the Lower Harpenden Road.
We are delighted to say that, thanks to the generosity of so many, we have exceeded our initial target of £10k on our gofundme page. That added to some other donations and a gift of £500 from Kimpton Parish Council has taken the fund to over £11,000.
You can still donate as we will need to continue raising funds. To those that have already given thank you so much. We need these finds to pay professional and legal fees, to cover PR, print, web and advertising costs. We are very lucky that we have a number of people giving their time and expertise pro-bono otherwise our bills would be a lot higher.
We’ve all been really busy contacting local politicians. We’re really lucky to have the support of Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami. Together with Bim we have written a letter to Emsrayne asking specific questions, we have yet to receive a reply.
Thank you all for responding to our call to write to your MP and your local councilors. The response has been very positive, and many councilors have publicly come out in opposition to the plans. We also contacted all the Luton Borough Councilors. We were very pleased to be able to draw to their attention the letter of support for the incinerator written by Robin Porter (LLAL Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman of LBC) despite his superior Cllr Hazel Simmons MBE publicly stating that the incinerator is not in anyway connected to the airport. Following a meeting of the airport committee David Franks (Lib Dem) issued a press release in strong opposition to the plans. Thanks to David for being so boldly vocal.
We’ve been really busy speaking with the press. Exposure of the airport letter has caused some difficulty for the developers and some consternation for the airport. We were seeking clarity on claims made by the developer that they have an agreement in place with the airport. As a result of all of this Emsrayne had to publicly state that they do not have any such agreement in place.
Tim and Nick were interviewed on BBC 3CR and Tim was interviewed on Radio Verulam. Both programmes have helped to raise awareness. Continuing to raise awareness is a very important part of our strategy.
We are continuing to dig up information all around the proposal and are very grateful to all our supporters who have come forward with useful nuggets of information. We will soon need to formally request information in the form of RFIs. If any of you lawyers out there have any experience of this please let us know. We need your help please.
Tim and Rainey went up to the House of Lords for UKWIN’s launch of their report Waste Incineration and Particulate Pollution: 'A Failure of Governance'. The event was marked in the national press and a debate on incineration and waste continues, with a special focus on air quality.
Going forward we are preparing for the inevitable moment when we have to submit our objections to the planning application once it has been submitted. We will need all of you to go online and do this on the Central Bedfordshire Council’s planning portal.
We believe that the developer has invested a considerable sum already and will not back down without a considerable fight as he has too much to lose but we will be ready.
Please rest assured that we are preparing for the fight and assembling a team of experts and professionals to help us. Much is being done that we cannot share and we hope you understand that. If you would like to help and believe you have expertise in an area which may be useful we would still like to hear from you.
Thanks again for all your support. Thanks to all the volunteers, visible and invisible, to all those that have filled our coffers and to those that continue to campaign without sleep.
Together we can beat this.
Sincere thanks from all the SHLI team:
David, David, Jeff, Jim, Liz, Mark, Nicole, Nick, Paul, Sunny and Tim
Huge thanks go out to all of you who have been tirelessly handing out leaflets, pounding the streets and talking to everyone, everywhere about the proposed incinerator. I can’t name all of you but rest assured we are truly thankful to have your support.
Our wonderful team of volunteers have played a crucial part in our strategy of raising awareness as quickly as possible in Harpenden and Luton and the surrounding affected villages. We had a fantastic response to our plea for help and currently have nearly 100 people on our volunteer database. To date we have handed out over 15,000 leaflets!! A further 5,000 are being delivered in the Luton area direct to households over the next 2 weeks!! Thanks to Mark for organizing that.
Offers of help have come from our WhatsApp group, our Facebook page and our website.
Many local people have collected leaflets or had them delivered and then gone on to leaflet their local neighbourhood, circle of friends and groups they belong to. We have leaflets in gyms, dentists, coffee shops, hairdressers, golf clubs and churches, vets, nurseries, tennis clubs and supermarkets!
In addition to this we have had huge success talking to people at many local events over the past 4 weeks including Kimpton Folk Festival, Wheathampstead Village Day, Harpenden Farmers Market, Classics on the Common, 8 local schools, Harpenden Station and Luton Parkway. We have had particularly good response at the Luton Airport Expansion meetings in Harpenden, Luton (Stockwood Park and Wigmore Hill), Caddington, Wheathampstead and Whitwell.
This two-pronged approach has resulted in much better local awareness but we need to achieve much, much more before the planning application goes in. Regular weekly emails and fact sheets keep everyone informed and pinpoint where we are focusing the effort over the next 7 days . Please do keep supporting where you can.
We now have our fantastic Stop the Incinerator t-shirts to really publicise the campaign. We think they are a great advert for the Campaign, walking billboards whenever we are out and about. Pleas look out for our volunteers when you see them and show your support!
8th August 2018