Category Archives: Community Activisim

Plans panel to discuss incinerator.

Meeting on Thursday will discuss the report of the Chief Planning Officer and provide details and proposals for the controversial incinerator at Cross Green Market.

Veolia presents its pre-application to the Leeds East Panel on Thursday at 1pm at Civic Hall.

As previously reported on knowyourleeds, the meeting will discuss the proposed incinerator in Cross Green Market. The incinerator – 300 meters from housing – will burn around 150,000 tonnes of Leeds’ black bin rubbish a year and 30,000 tonnes of commercial waste.

Due to its complications and considerable public objections, although the majority of planning decisions are the decided by a solitary senior member, the controversial plans will be decided by all of the council’s 11 Plans Panel (East) members.

No formal decision on the development is due to be made on Thursday, but panel members can ask questions, raise issues, seek clarification and comment on the proposals. Judging by their remarks previously, it should be interesting.

Members of the East Plans Panel are:

You can see the pre-application report of the meeting below:

LCC have said there is no opportunity for public speaking about the proposals outlined in the presentation. However, there are rules to panel meetings which you may want to take note of for future meetings.

All of the following information can be found on their website.

What happens in a panel meeting?

When the application is ready to be considered by the plans panel, if you have commented on the planning application you are informed by letter or email of your right to speak.  An officer will prepare a written report and an officer recommendation (normally for approval with planning conditions, or a refusal with reasons) for each application.

Who can speak?

One objector (or spokesperson for a group of objectors) may speak against the application and one person (usually the applicant or their agent) may speak in reply in support of the application. Each will be allowed three minutes.  Anyone wishing to speak must notify the council of their wish to do at least two clear days prior to the date of the plans panel.

The chair of the panel decides who will speak and allocates an equal time for all parties.

Members of the panel may ask questions and seek clarification of the speakers on any points arising from their presentations.

Once this has been completed the objector/supporter will take no further part in the debate.

Who will be there?

In addition to the members listed above, the council’s legal representative, planning officers and a highway’s officer are also present. Not forgetting the press and Veolia executives.

Opportunity to speak

On arriving the porter will direct you to the room where you register with a member of staff.

It is important to be aware that this is a meeting to which the public are invited. However – unlike a public meeting – dialogue between public speakers and the plans panel members is limited to answering questions asked by the panel.

As the incinerator isn’t the only item they’ll discuss, when this application – or any others for that matter which you’ve commented on – is reached, the planning officer will explain the proposal and plans.

The objector will be asked to speak first by coming forward to the table with a microphone so everyone can hear. The applicant/agent will speak after this.

Conditions of speech

You will only be allowed to speak for three minutes. Prepare for this. Someone else can speak for you if you wish but you they may dismiss you if you stray from the ‘planning matters’ of the case and emphasize or expand the information you have already submitted.

Decisions

As this is a pre-application process these rules won’t apply, but generally the plans panel discusses the application until they reach a decision which are set out in the official minutes of the Panel meeting (published after the meeting).

In some cases the panel will decide to defer a decision until further information is obtained.  Some applications may also be deferred for a ‘site visit’ to allow panel members to visit the site.

All applicants have the right to appeal to the Secretary of State, Teresa May (Cons), if the application is refused or conditions are attached which they think are unreasonable. Third parties have no right of appeal.

Keep an eye on www.leeds.gov.uk/publicaccess to find out about the decision and knowyourleeds.

Will you be going and what do you want answered? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Final say on Leeds Incinerator?

Veolia will enter a 25 year contract next month to dispose of household waste. Photo©knowyourleeds

Veolia looks set to enter into a 25 year contract with Leeds City Council next month to burn Leeds’ household waste. With a £68.6 million Private Finance Initiative buffer, its estimated value is £550 million.

The proposal for the incinerator based at the old car boot sale site in Cross Green Market wasn’t the biggest. But the capacity to burn 180,000 tonnes-a-year meets the council’s requirements.

As head of east Leeds community activist group COVEN, Sarah Covell is angry that councillors and Veolia haven’t done enough to address the resident’s concerns over the plans.

“They’re saying it’s a landmark building. It is. I doubt don’t that for a second. It’s a very beautiful building. It’s just in the wrong place with the wrong things inside it.”

Artist impression of new multi-million pound incinerator

She’s dismayed that a lack of political pluckiness can dismiss widespread concerns, even when something is opposed so openly.

A group of Labour councillors walked out of a vote last November which recommended the incinerator.

“It’s called predetermination,” said one of the absentees, Coun Ron Grahame (Lab, Burmantofts and Richmond Hill). “Predetermination just takes me out of reckoning altogether.

“I’m not allowed to predetermine the situation for the incinerator prior to it coming to the East Leeds plan meeting. That’s why I walked out. I didn’t give in to myself whatsoever.”

It also took Labour councillors: Mick Lyons (Temple Newsam), Katherine Mitchell (Temple Newsam) and Asghar Khan (Burmantofts and Richmond Hill) out of the reckoning.

According to the YEP, landfill taxes would cost the council £16m a year by 2013. “If we don’t deliver on the timescale mapped out we will put this council is financial jeopardy,” said Coun Mark Dobson (Lab: Garforth and Swillington), the council’s executive member for environmental services, reported the YEP.

“It’s definitely in the wrong site. It should have gone to the Aire Valley where it belongs,” said coun Grahame to knowyourleeds.

Councillors across the political spectrum have expressed concerns over incinerator plans. Coun David Blackburn (Greens, Farnley and Wortley) said at the time: “To go for incineration is the worst decision the council has made for years.”

While Coun Stewart Golton (Lib Dem, Rothwell) blogged: “Since taking power 18 months ago, the Labour Party have been very quiet on their waste policy. I assumed they were working hard on an alternative. Imagine my surprise that their alternative to an incinerator is…an incinerator!”

The proposed facility will create up to 300 jobs during the three-year construction period say Veolia and 45 permanent jobs.

“It’s not local people from East End Park who get the jobs. It’s not just we don’t want this in our ward. We want them [LCC] to look at other methods of residual waste disposal,” said Sarah Covell.

Critics say more recycling options needs to be evaluated. Photo©knowyourleeds

“Somethings gone wrong somewhere,” said Coun Grahame, “the incinerator itself is totally in the wrong place. When they tell you there’s 200 other sites to look at, you look at 200 sites and you think, well it comes down to an old car boot sale site (Cross Green Market) then there’s something not really right.”

Despite these criticisms, Veolia looks set to win the battle. But that’s old news.

The proposals for the incinerator began in 2006 but this week the proposal are open to public scrutiny for the last time.

First stop: Richmond Hill on Thursday, next St Philip’s Church on Friday before finished at 8.30pm, Saturday at Halton Moor Community Centre.

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Deadline day for firefighters across Leeds.

Fire services could be amalgamated © 2010 - 2011 West Yorkshire Fire And Rescue Service

Firefighters will find out later today if proposed cuts will lead to jobs losses and station closures across West Yorkshire. Up to 135 firefighters jobs could go and 10 fire stations face closure.

The results from the consultation period, which outlined the proposals to save money across the fire services, ended last week after a three-month period. The findings are expected to be reported back to West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority later today.

David Williams, a Gipton based Fire Brigade Union rep with 14 years firefighting experience, said: “Unfortunately I’m expecting the Fire Authority to agree to close 10 perfectly good stations and build 5 new ones.

“They will agree to remove 7 fully operational fire engines and reduce the operational firefighting staff. Fewer firefighters doing the same or even more incidents results in a poorer service for all.”

Included in the plans is a provision to build new a fire station to replacing existing ones. The authorities believe the cost of building a new station in east Leeds which will cover both Gipton and Stanks – rather than them having separate stations – will be off-set by selling the existing fire stations. 

David believes cuts should elsewhere, not to frontline staff.

However, while David Williams hopes that won’t happen, the proposal said it’s due to the success of the fire services (in reducing the risk of serious fire and incidents) which justify these new measures.

The proposal states: “It’s entirely appropriate that the general reduction of risk and demand is taken account of when determining the level of resources required.”

You can see the business plan in full here:

Over the next four years, the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority has to find savings of £18 million after its budget was slashed by 25% in government funding. This comes on the back of a series of cuts to the service in recent years.

Community activists plan to fight the proposals. They are incredulous at the data used by the fire authorities to present the case. The COVEN group released a counter report which questions the authorities findings. In a highly critical report, COVEN said:

“Reducing the front line services you provide and lowering the number of ‘coal face’ firefighters is wrong. Had you laid out in your business case some indication of other savings you were to make, ie reductions in revenue funding at senior management level, we may have been more sympathetic.”

Questions will also be asked about how money has been spent in recent years by the fire services. The Fire Brigades Union said £2 million has gone to Bramley fire station, £130,000 on a malfunctioning lift at the fire authority’s HQ and up to a £1 million has gone towards an empty building in Wakefield.

In 2009, recruitment was suspended in anticipation that funding would be reduced. In the meantime there’s been a Young Fire-fighters Scheme to help young local people understand what firefighters do and how they can get into the service. Despite positive feedback from all sectors, not one person has been recruited into the fire service.

“We won’t be recruiting for another five years and that’s a massive concern. You can’t buy experience and that’s vital in a service such as ours,” said David.

Interview requests from the council and fire authorities have not been returned.

What do you think? Should fire services be cut or are the measures fair given the current climate? Have your say below.

You can read COVEN’s counter report below.


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