Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Councillors witness yet another quarry breach

This morning, three Wrexham councillors - George James, Dave Bithell and Paul Pemberton - visited the protest at Hafod Quarry, only to witness one of the wagons arriving from the Johnstown direction (see pic) where it apparently caused traffic mayhem as it passed the school. The wagons should always approach the site from the by-pass, not via the village.

Please can someone elaborate on the story as I'm reporting from afar just now (East London to be exact).


24 Comments:

At Wednesday, November 01, 2006 6:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lorry did come down Bangor road passed the school and when it arrived at the quarry it had a traffic cone trapped under the front wheels. This had obviously been dragged down from where the lorry had failed to negotiate the road works at the top of the road by the SCHOOL! If the vehicle has hit a cone without noticing what if it’s a child next time? I hope Carwyn Jones makes the right decision and stops this madness. If not roll on the elections!!!

 
At Wednesday, November 01, 2006 8:38:00 AM, Anonymous traffic warden said...

Politicians lack imagination and foresight and have a nasty habit of only seeing sense when it's too late. So although it's blindingly obvious to everyone else that if a driver doesn't notice a traffic cone, he's just as likely to drag a small child down the road, it probably won't be until the death of a child that the politicians finally act.

I sincerely hope I'm wrong. Come on, Carwyn - restore my faith. Talking of Carwyn, it's November 1st. Isn't Carwyn supposed to have decided by now?

 
At Wednesday, November 01, 2006 10:18:00 AM, Blogger dafad ddu said...

Maybe the driver was John Doe - the landfill apologist?

What happened to the tight safeguards etc?

 
At Wednesday, November 01, 2006 10:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If A driver can fail to negotiate the corner at the top of Bangor road then drive over a mile to the tip with a cone stuck in his wheels then he should lose his HGV license,and shouldn't even be trusted with a mini.

 
At Wednesday, November 01, 2006 11:15:00 AM, Anonymous Carl Davies said...

It was a John DOH alright, what an idiot.
Totally ignorant of any road law.
Our councillors voted to let this bunch of crooks run this circus..they should be held to account. If, God forbid, in these dark winter months a child could be in the way of one of these halfwit drivers, how would these councillors answer to that? Is that what it will take before they act with conscience? THIS IS EVIDENCE OF NOT ACTING WITH CARE OR RESPONSIBILITY.

 
At Wednesday, November 01, 2006 12:49:00 PM, Blogger Blodwen Fleer said...

Did Carwyn visit on Mon or Tues? Any sightings?
I heard he's delayed any decision til early Nov, whatever that means in terms of a date, who knows?
It's all delaying tactics as far as I can see.

Let's hope nothing terrible happens whilst he twiddles his fingers.
Every infringement on the conditions of MWH gets worse than the last, the incometence and gross negligence of this company is astonishing.

Considering this is them 'behaving' in light of the licence being under review it's unbelievable. Imagine if they were left to do the job with no observers? Scary.

 
At Wednesday, November 01, 2006 4:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did this driver come down Bangor road has TOM-TOM broken?

 
At Wednesday, November 01, 2006 4:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I live in England, my family originally came from North Wales and a have several relatives in the Wrexham area. As a retired planning officer I have followed the news about the Hafod landfill site with interest. As is usually the case with this type of development, the issue has generated a great deal of protest and anger among people who live near the site.

I have been reading articles in the press and on weblogs about the issues and also reports on the Wrexham Council website and although I can sympathise with local people it seems to me that their protests and anger are directed at the wrong people.

I have studied all the reports on the Wrexham website about the Hafod site and it is obvious that the site has the benefit of a valid planning permission that was granted in 1995. The ONLY question that then remains is if the permission can be implemented following the subsequent designation of a Special Area of Conservation within the site. The Town & Country Planning Act 1989 & 1990 (intoduced by Mrs Thatcher's Conservative government) which governs all aspects of planning specifies the route that must be followed if circumstances arise that affect an existing permission. The first test that the local authority MUST apply is if the original conditions can be modified to accomodate the changed circumstance. If this is the case, the LA can issue a modification to the permission. If conditions can not be modified then, and ONLY then, the LA can revoke the condition but must then pay compensation up to the value of the permission.

The report that was considered by the Wrexham Planning Committee is on their website and it examines all the issues in great detail. Both the report and the minutes of the committee show that the planning officers took expert advice from the relevant agencies involved and it is obvious from the reports and minutes that it was perfectly possible to modify the original conditions to protect the SAC. Therefore the only option open to planning committee members if they were to perform their duties properly as the law demands was to serve a modification order on the site occupiers. Any other decision would indicate that members chose to disbelieve expert advice or that they did not observe material planning considerations. On all the evidence I have seen I would also be astonished if the Welsh Assembly Minister will decide to revoke the permission. He too is charged by law to work within the Town & Country Planning Laws and I can see nothing in the evidence that would enable him to revoke that permision.

As residents we might not like some of the laws that are used to govern the country especially when they affect our homes and localities but surely we would be the first to protest if our elected members broke the law. So why are the protesters attacking Wrexham councillors who have in all honesty done their duty and acted in accordance with planning law. It would be a different matter, would it not, if one of the protesters wanted to perhaps extend their house in a way that complied with all the planning criteria and the council ignored material planning condsiderations and refused permission! You cannot have it both ways!

It appears to me that the real villains in this issue are the councils of Liverpool and Merseyside who are shipping their waste to Wales. Waste disposal is a tough enough task for any local authority anyway. After all, none of us want to live near a landfill site or an amenity site or an incinerator but we all produce lots of waste and we all expect our LA to dispose of it. It is only fair to expect that Liverpool should be dealing with their own waste in their own region.

So why are the protesters not protesting outside Liverpool council? There is nothing in law to prevent Liverpool dumping their waste in the Hafod site and both the Wrexham Council and the Welsh Assembly, if they act within the law as they MUST, do not have the powers to stop them. The only people that DO have the power to stop the dumping going ahead are the councillors of Liverpool so why don't the protesters get their act together and start naming and shaming them.

 
At Wednesday, November 01, 2006 7:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My god!!!

A lorry driver, who was a stranger to the area, took a wrong turn and (shock, horror) wiped out an innocent traffic.
It will be less likely to happen when the signs giving directions are erected on the A483.
It was nothing to do with me though I have used Bangor road in an LGV for years and unless I am going to Hafod will still do so. Perhaps you would be better trying to get a 7.5 tonne limit put on that stretch.
JD

 
At Wednesday, November 01, 2006 8:29:00 PM, Anonymous watcherandthetower said...

Hi Annonymous ex planning officer,

You seem to miss the point completely,and drawing a parallel with an application for a domestic extension is just ludicrous.

Could you answer this question.
Why is it that if, according to you, everything about this case is black and white could you explain why our highly paid and highly trained officers at the planning department needed outside help(at a great cost)to arrive at an advice system for councillors.
I have never heard of officers seeking outside help for a domestic extension.

Another point if you said you have read everything to do with this case then surely you must remember that recently councillors were given the opportunity to modify or revoke!!!
Are you saying that if they revoked they would be breaking the law!!!!

You say we point our anger at local councillors...you're damn right we do,It's about time councillors did what they are paid for and do their own research about things they make decisions about,if they are incapable then they shouldn't even be in the job.

Regards
Watcher

 
At Wednesday, November 01, 2006 8:35:00 PM, Anonymous HEG1 said...

It was almost fate that 3 Councillors should be present (2 on the planning committee) to see one of the many violations committed by MWH et al. On this occasion the lorry was from James Pick Up & Son Ltd. The driver seemed confused at best.

He came down Bangor Road and attempted to turn into the landfill site, dragging at least one cone (presumably from the temporary traffic lights at the top of Bangor Road) in with him that was trapped under his tyres. It was pointed out to the driver that he came the wrong way and should come in the from the correct, 'agreed' direction. However, he chose to ignore this advice. He was also causing a traffic pile-up that became potentially dangerous when cars attempted to over-take the lorry. The driver got out of the lorry and took a look at the cone, yet did nothing but get back in the lorry and drive onto the site, from the wrong direction.

The Environment Agency was contacted. It then said to contact Planning. Planning were their usual helpful selves - insisting nothing could be done. By anyone. When asked if anything could by done by anyone about a lorry driving through a village, past a school, coming from the wrong direction and dragging a cone along with it, the reply was "No."

But then we shouldn't be surprised really, should we...

 
At Wednesday, November 01, 2006 8:40:00 PM, Blogger dafad ddu said...

Hi John Doe
Yes, shock horror, a driver ignores the regulations regarding delivery to the landfill. On top of the dodgy paperwork... and these are just the examples protesters are witnessing.

It may be standard in the dumping industry (I suspect that's why you're so complacent), but it's not a great advert for Murkey Waste or the haulage companies they're employing.

 
At Thursday, November 02, 2006 12:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, shock horror, a driver ignores the regulations regarding delivery to the landfill. On top of the dodgy paperwork... and these are just the examples protesters are witnessing.

And the rest you just make up!

 
At Thursday, November 02, 2006 9:20:00 AM, Anonymous watcherandthetower said...

Hi,

You don't have to "make up" anything about landfill.It is a highly irresponsible way of disposing of rubbish.
The big question that has come out of all this is who regulates the regulators.
Just look at the layers and layers of lies at work here.

1)It is beyond dispute that it is impossible to monitor a landfill.Apart from a cursory glance monitoring doesn't exist,and that is part of this whole argument.If the actual monitoring of landfill were to be undertaken properly then the cost would make 100% recycling look cheap.
So to begin with we have a highly inneficient method of dumping that goes by almost unmonitored,the result being a toxic cocktail on peoples doorsteps.
2)In their sublime wisdom past generations of law makers passed laws that are now archaic and downright irresponsible.The modern enforcers of these laws do however throw out a couple of token gestures like pretending to subscribe to feeble attempts at supervising landfil sites.These in most are token gestures as the Hafod experience has proven.
3)The yellow dust day,the cone dragging day,the endless traffic violations,the fact that after 9.30am every day the gates are left wide open as an open invotation to any passing kid on a mountain bike.We know about all of these because unlike the environment agency,wrexham council or the Welsh assembly we stand outside the gates observing every day.
4)So what happens when we see something happening that shouldn't be happening.
a)Phone the police..who tell us they haven't got the time to chase blue lorries all day who are breaking the law.
b.)Write to the assembly...Carwyn writes back telling us that we should contact the environment agency.
c)Contact the environment agency...they tell us to contact the planning department.
d)contact the planning dept,they say there is little they can do.

Does make you wonder what's going on here doesn't it?

Watcher.

 
At Thursday, November 02, 2006 10:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Watcher

I believe that it is you that has missed the point. Your statements indicate that you have very little knowledge of the powers and duties of local government officers and elected members especially where planning is concerned.

Every planning officer in the country will have a qualification in Town and Country Planning gained after many years of study and will be able to use that knowledge to make a decision on almost all planning applications. However, some applications may require specialist knowledge and in those cases the local authority will seek advice. It is just the same in many areas of life - a GP will perhaps seek the advice of a heart specialist for example and I am sure that you would be the first to criticise a doctor who didn't if you were the patient!

You say that comparing an application for a domestic extension to an application for a landfill site is ludicrous. It is not! A planning officer in any local authority will judge ALL planning applications against national and regional policies. The scale of the development is irrelavant. The law demands that all applications are treated the same. On large applications there may be the need for more specialist advice but the relevant parties have a right to expect that if their case is to be treated fairly. The members of any local authority planning committee are commanded by law to also treat every application the same. Unless they happen to be a retired planning officer they will certainly not have the degree of planning knowledge as officers and they will also lack knowledge of many other area that might affect the application so they must rely on the expert advice they are given and if they disregard that advice they are open to charges of maladministration. A public inspector or a judge or law lords will also rely on expert advice that is the way the law works.

In the case of the Hafod site, I understand that the Wrexham planning committee refused permission when the application for use for landfill arose. The applicant appealed against the refusal and that appeal was allowed. That means that by law the Hofod site now has a valid planning permission for lanfill. The application that came to the Wrexham planning committee in September was NOT to overturn the permission, the council does not have the power to do that. The committee could only judge on how the SAC affected the permission. The options were to modify the permission to protect the SAC if that was possible or IF NOT then AND ONLY THEN to revoke. The committee took the advice of the experts as any resonable person would expect them to do and accepted that a modification was possible.

The Welsh Assembly will also judge the case against planning policy and they will take expert advice, they have to by law.

As I said before the only people who DO have the power to stop dumping are the councils of Liverpool and Merseyside but then as the saying goes there are none so deaf as those who don't want to hear.

Ex planning officer.

 
At Thursday, November 02, 2006 10:57:00 AM, Blogger dafad ddu said...

So back in 1995 Wrexham's planning officers (who according to our friend have years of experience) recommended rejection of the Hafod planning application. What has changed in the meantime to allow those self-same planning officers to accept the planing application?
Since 95, the law on landfill has tightened up if anything.

 
At Thursday, November 02, 2006 11:06:00 AM, Anonymous justice said...

I don't agree with our retired planning officer friend on the legitimacy of the planning application.
But I do agree that our focus should be on Liverpool's dodgy waste disposal scheme (I'm surprised it's not called "Sweep it under the carpet Ltd").
I don't think Carwyn Jones has got any intention of revoking the plan - this added delay is just to try to buy time for his Labour chums and defuse the anger felt locally.
When (not if) he decides to allow the dumping to continue, I think we have to start changing our tactics and take the fight to Liverpool itself.
The people of Liverpool don't know about this scandal. I suspect some of Liverpool's councillors don't really know about it. We should make sure the people who voted for it (4 Labour and 1 Tory on Mersey Waste Disposal Authority) are well aware of their actions.

 
At Thursday, November 02, 2006 12:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Hafod

In 1995 the case would have been judged against the planning policies that existed at the time. I have not been able to examine the reports for the 1995 refusal but I expect that the then officers and members of the council probably would have used amenity and perhaps transport criteria to justify refusal. Unfortunately (very unfortunately in my opinion) the application was then allowed at appeal. As I said, that appeal decision meant that the site now has a planning permission that is valid in perpetuity so now Wrexham council CANNOT make a recommendation to reject the permission even though landfill policies have been tightened since 1995. The local authority cannot act retrospectively.

Two things have changed since the council rejected the application in 1995. The first is that the application was allowed on appeal and Wrexham cannot change that. The second is that a SAC was created within the site - the only options Wrexham then had was to modify the permission to protect the SAC or if that could not be done, revoke the permission and pay compensation (they could not revisit ANY of the issues that were considered during the original application, those had already been dealt with at appeal). As we know, the expert advice was that the permission could be modified and that advice was followed by Wrexham and I will be very suprised if the Welsh Assembley do not also follow the advice irrespective of the political make up of the Welsh Assembly.

Hello Justice

You've got the idea, my friend. I wish you and your colleagues the very best of luck.

Ex planning officer

 
At Thursday, November 02, 2006 9:45:00 PM, Anonymous Tom Hughes said...

Why would Carwyn visit the site if it is a forgone conclusion?
Unless it's just a Labour gimmick?
What was the 10 year wait before dumping all about if it's all so straightforward?
How can the guarantee of the safety of the SACs site be ensured when they can't even drive down the right road?
MWH are incompetant and I wouldn't let them run a bath let alone a scheme like this.
For that reason they must be stopped.

 
At Friday, November 03, 2006 11:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all the breaches etc, that continue to occur it's the PPC permit we should be going after. Without that the site would be worthless to MWH.

 
At Friday, November 03, 2006 8:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The credability of any reports of breaches has been seriously comprimised when the CCTV footage shows them to be totally false. What ever is reported to police, EA or planning will be treated with a view that it is contived because of the lies already told.
Ok, there have been breaches but without hard evinence any claims made against MWH will not get given the time of day. That doesn't mean witnesses or anonymous reports. Photo and video evidence is your only way because of false claims made.

 
At Friday, November 03, 2006 8:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The welsh assembly can pretend to be planning officers and write whatever they like here but the bottom line is Carwyn Jones can stop the tipping. He knows that the planning was grossly wrong when it was granted as it is far to close to a residential area. If he does not do the right thing the labour party in North Wales will lose even more votes. Karen your future, like ours, lies in Carwyn Jones’s hands

 
At Friday, November 03, 2006 9:05:00 PM, Blogger youngProtestor said...

Where is Johndoe? Has he been sacked? Maybe it was his job to get the sponges out of the wheels and has been dismissed for failing miserably!

 
At Friday, November 17, 2006 5:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello youngprotestor,
I have not been sacked. I am in Spain for the winter as I usually winter here.
I have been asked to pass on that MWH employees did listen to their teachers. 7 'O' levels, 4 'A' levels and a degree. That is just one person who checks the wheels as well as other jobs at Hafod.
JD

 

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