Incinerators welcome here – thoughts on the Council Meeting 25th Jan 2012 – part one

There’s a plan sir?

General Melchett: You look surprised, Blackadder.
Captain Blackadder: I certainly am, sir. I didn’t realise we had any battle plans.
General Melchett: Well, of course we have! How else do you think the battles are directed?
Captain Blackadder: Our battles are directed, sir?
General Melchett: Well, of course they are, Blackadder, directed according to the Grand Plan.
Captain Blackadder: Would that be the plan to continue with total slaughter until everyone’s dead except Field Marshal Haig, Lady Haig and their tortoise, Alan?
General Melchett: Great Scott! Even you know it!

Came away from last night’s council meeting wondering whether the tories were ever that opposed to incinerators and supportive of clean air. Michael Young is their councillor on the Greater Manchester Waste Authority. I think it’s fair to say that no-one has ever mistaken Michael for anything but a Conservative. Last night was a bad night for Michael Young.

As Trafford’s lead member on the Waste Authority, Michael has been stewarding Trafford’s input into the Greater Manchester Joint Waste Development Plan, although technically as a planning matter, it comes under Davyhulme’s Councillor Michael Cornes.

Yes, but Michael Young was taking the lead last night, and gave no impression of being the subordinate in the process.

The Joint Waste Development Plan is essentially the identification of sites and areas for waste facilities. The Conservatives have volunteered Trafford Park and Carrington as areas for incinerators. These are the same Conservatives who queued up at planning to state how implacably opposed they were to the incinerator at Barton, now identifying more areas for waste incineration.

What’s the problem?

Certainly Michael Young didn’t see a problem. And if there was a problem, it should have been raised earlier.

Labour has voiced our concerns about this plan as it has been developed. Those concerns have got louder as we’ve learned more about the risks associated with incineration. The Barton Incinerator campaign has taught us a lot. We’ve seen so much evidence of the risks to health, our position is clear; we don’t want any more incinerators until we can guarantee clean air, and that is a long way off, given the poor air quality at present.

Michael Young was adamant his consultation had yielded no opposition from the public and therefore the public were content with the plan, and the plan should be submitted. In effect he blamed everyone but the Conservatives for their plan. This is not a new device, but it’s probably the most shameless demonstration I’ve seen.

Where were the antennae? Did nobody realise that the absence of public opposition might suggest that awareness of the consultation was practically non-existent and that it would serve the council well to raise the consultation’s profile? It’s impossible not to conclude that the Conservative base position is quiet support for incineration unless opposition reaches such a crescendo that they’re forced into joining the opposition in set piece events.

Anyway we voted against  the waste plan. The Lib Dems abstained – they were neither for nor against the adoption of a joint waste development plan. Pathetic as usual.

I am going to give a lot more credit to the one Conservative who abstained – Lisa Cooke. It was a courageous act.

The rest of the Conservative group voted for the adoption of the plan. We will still be able to oppose any incinerator proposed for Trafford Park but this strategy makes it much harder to defeat it. We will then have to question any Tory who joins a popular opposition. What are you doing this for?  Votes and nothing more.

Here’s the Report to Council on Joint Waste Development Plan






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