Saturday, October 14, 2006

Letters from our politicians - 2 (Bruce Roberts)

Bruce Roberts, approved Assembly candidate for Wrexham Liberal Democrats, wrote to the Leader this week with a really feeble attempt to excuse councillors who voted against revocation of the 1995 planning permission. He rambles on a bit, but this is the important part:

Wrexham councillors voted not to revoke the planning permission because they had no choice. If they had voted against the advice of the officers (who were following national "guidelines") then they would have left Council Tax payers in Wrexham open to a compensation claim of up to £10m.

Successive governments of whatever party have restricted the power of local government to such an extent that local councils do not have the power to carry out the bidding of their constituents. The power of local government is being constrained more and more by guidelines, funding controls and national legislation...

...Until local democracy is strengthened to allow our locally elected representatives the power to make real decisions on our behalf these sorts of issues will continually crop up and the protests of local people will be fruitless.

Actually, Bruce, Wrexham councillors did have a choice - they had the choice to do the right thing and not to allow an obsolete planning permission to be used by MWH to landfill at Hafod. What they didn't have was moral courage and backbone. Every planning committee meeting I have ever been to has involved officers threatening that "if councillors choose to reject this, we may have to pay compensation". In this case, the advice was particularly misguided.

If the Lib. Dem/Independent Alliance which controls Wrexham council and whose members on the Planning Committee voted against revocation had bothered to do its homework, it would have discovered that MWH were well aware of the doubtful legality of the 1995 permission when they bought the site, and gave written assurance that they would not commence dumping until all planning matters had been resolved. Compensation (and who's decided on £10m, eh? Is it just a nice figure to scare council tax payers with?) should hardly be paid where a company goes ahead and starts dumping in full knowledge that their planning permission might not be allowed.

Aled Roberts is not a popular man in the Johnstown, Ruabon, Rhos and Ponciau areas. Nor are any of the members of his Alliance or other parties which voted against revocation. People won't forget decisions like this; they can't afford to because it will be them, their children and grandchildren who will be suffering the consequences for years to come.


At Saturday, October 14, 2006 2:05:00 PM, Anonymous Johnstown Voter said...

When it comes to election time, we will be campaigning against all those councillors in their own constituencies. We'll make sure people know what they've done to us and our village.

At Saturday, October 14, 2006 8:22:00 PM, Anonymous Gareth Owen Williams said...

It's quite obvious that this bloke is talking through his arse on the question of compensation.
10 million is yet another magic figure plucked out of thin air.
Why is it that these elected representatives are all incapable of doing their own research,is it a condition of office that you have to be a complete no brainer.
And this gonk will be standing for the assembly!!!!.It certianly leaves one with an unfavourable impression of the calibre of modern politicians

Gareth Owen Williams

At Saturday, October 14, 2006 8:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this application is revoked and the threat of £10m compensation to M.W.H is accurate, a total amount of £16,392.000 of taxpayers money will eventually be paid into the council coffers of Merseyside.
They have already received a handout of £6m from the government plus a further sum of 392,000 for the Mickey Mouse M.W.H outfit they created to carry out their dirty work.
Would it be presumptious to ask our illustrious councillors to enquire how they intend to spend our money? As they are experts at maladminstration they may be in a position to advise them.

At Saturday, October 14, 2006 9:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The £10m compo claim is entirely spurious and designed to scare us into caving in.
It has been bandied about by various politicians at council and Assembly level. Does anyone know who mentioned it first, so that we can ask them how they arrived at that sum? A second question would be 'why?'

Dafydd Wigley (Plaid AM) told the Hafod campaigners who travelled down to Cardiff that a similar about turn on a planning matter in Bangor, Gwynedd, had led to similar claims over compensation. In the end, the only compensation paid was for costs the company had incurred so far.

At Saturday, October 14, 2006 10:43:00 PM, Blogger Blodwen Fleer said...

I thought compensation was paid when something is suffered or lost? I don't see what MWH have lost? The only people who should be compensated are the people who really have lost out, the residents whose lives have been threatened and put on hold as a consequence of this filthy chasm.
The threat of £?(10, 17)m,as compo' is plucked out of the air to create a mental precedent. Like WMD, it is 'made up' to excuse war-like and aggressive economic contracts that destroy ordinary peoples' lives.

At Sunday, October 15, 2006 10:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is an acurate fact for you.

Landfills produce methane gas. This runs generators which are connected to the national grid.
Every time you turn on an electric kettle, light, pc just say thanks landfill.

At Sunday, October 15, 2006 11:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is an accurate fact for you.

Landfills produce methane gas. This is not just methane, but a mix, including carbon dioxide and many toxic contaminants. When landfill gas is burned, these are released into the atmosphere and sometimes recombine to make other compounds such as dioxins and furans, the most toxic substances known to man.

Read more here.

No thanks landfill.

At Sunday, October 15, 2006 3:34:00 PM, Blogger Blodwen Fleer said...

Is the Hafod site set up to store the methane/ dioxins or is it just being left to float into the air?
How are they dealing with the gases, does anyone know?

At Tuesday, October 17, 2006 5:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The gases will be flared off from the Hafod site. An application to have a gas-to-energy plant at the site, made in 2003, was quashed. Such plants release dioxins into the atmosphere. So does flaring, albeit to a lesser extent, unless the gases are cleaned before being flared.

At Wednesday, October 18, 2006 9:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you all hate Aled Roberts and all the other politicians.

Errr didn't Cllr Roberts vote against the original proposals made in the early nineties.

Now wot happened after that ? Seem to recall it was an appeal and a big wedge of cash out of the Council coffers, and people whingeing about council tax bills.

At Thursday, October 19, 2006 4:11:00 PM, Blogger Blodwen Fleer said...

Thanks for the info on the gases. Are they being cleaned in Hafod before being flared?
It seems whatever Wrexham does it always results in a load of dioxins being let off.
Does anyone have info on the water pollution likely to result from this site and what areas are likely to be most affected?

At Thursday, October 19, 2006 4:46:00 PM, Anonymous Stickler said...

I don't believe there is any duty (apart from a moral one) on MWH to clean up the gases before they are flared.

The site is within the River Dee Protection Zone - so any contaminated water which enters local watercourses is likely to end up in the Dee and thence in our drinking water. Of course MWH say they have procedures in place to prevent this from happening, but it's a very big site and an awful lot of water to deal with in the rainy season.

At Friday, October 20, 2006 10:40:00 AM, Blogger Blodwen Fleer said...

That's scary! We're totally in the hands of this private company in terms of assurances!
I wonder what the 'procedures' are against water contamination? It's not as though MWH have ever run a Welsh site, so how can they pre-empt a massive localised flood? Could we get this info from the EA under FOI (freedom of information)?


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