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Veolia 2006-campaign meetings

'Dump the dump' Public Meeting 2nd February, 2006 Downs Infant School, Ditchling Road, Brighton
The purpose of the meeting was to share information as to where the Dump The Dump campaign has got to after one year, and to discuss what to do in the next stage. Perhaps the most important message that the organisers want to publicize is that previous letters of objection will not count in opposing Onyx's new proposal for Hollingdean Depot expected very shortly. The consultation period will only be 21 days, so it is vital that local residents send fresh letters of comment and persuade friends and neighbours to do the same. The Dump the Dump campaign will also be advising on how best to respond to this resubmission.


The meeting was attended by David Lepper MP and Councillors Jeane Lepper (Labour), Pat Hawkes (Labour) Keith Taylor (Green) and Richard Mallendar (Green).


The first speaker was Gus Garside, a member of the Dump The Dump committee. He lamented the lack of any vision for sustainable waste management in Onyx's proposal, which fails to address the major issues such as reducing unneccesary packaging, compaction, recycling and increasing re-use either personally or through streams like Freecycle.

The meeting was told that if Onyx's proposal went ahead, one vehicle every four minutes (one 44-ton vehicle every eleven minutes) would travel under the narrow railway bridge between the Hollingdean Depot and the Vogue Giratory, bringing other traffic to a complete standstill several times a day.

model of bridge

The second speaker, Edward Start [Governor - Downs Junior School, Brighton] also highlighted the dangers that would result from movements of heavy traffic through existing bottlenecks. He reported that the Dump The Dump campaign had not only commissioned the model of the bridge [pictured above], but had also hired their own Traffic Consultant. The Consultant was amazed at what drivers of Onyx's heavy vehicles would have to do in order to get round the Vogue Gyratory. They would be blocking 3 lanes of traffic. To enter Hollingdean Road they would probably have to go onto the pavement or into the lanes of oncoming traffic. At the bridge itself, they would clearly create a major obstruction.

A new period of residents' consultation: write again.

The original letters of objection TO THE Hollingdean depot development thousands of residents sent, in revealing many of inaccuracies, will not count as objections towards the new application. A new application means that new letters of comment need to be sent in order for residents' views to be registered in the planning process.

There will only be the statutory 21 days consultation period once the new application is announced.

Jeanne Lepper stressed that letters of comment could be submitted right up to the date when applications are heard. She also emphasized the importance of contacting the 12 members of the Planning Applications sub-committee who will actually decide the outcome of Onyx's new proposal.

The organisers of the Dump The Dump campaign are eager to collect contact details, especially email addresses, so that they can contact other local residents as soon as the application is out. They pledge to do their best to read it and pass on the key information.

There will also be a summary sheet supplied by Onyx to highlight the key changes, in comparison to the old application.

Local residents are urged to write again or live with the Dump!

There were many interesting contributions from the floor at the Public Meeting on 2nd February 2006. The following offering could be a good topic for constructive feedback.

Graham Ennis, Omega Institute Brighton a Research Group of retired scientists and engineers

We thought we’d give you some facts tonight which could be very powerful in defeating this entire project. The three facts are about
1. Money
2. Council Officials & Onyx
3. How there is a green solution to this whole project


It costs several million pounds a year to run a waste disposal system for the Council and you and me and our rubbish. The Onyx plan purely sucks in money. They put it in the bank. They collect our rubbish well or not well, as the case may be.

What’s the alternative to that?

If you had rubbish brought back entirely ‘in house’ within the Council – and there is a legal way to do that – and it was run with the best Scandinavian and German practice and technology, where instead of just burning the rubbish, you convert it using modern technology into things like biodiesel (enough biodiesel to run all the buses in Brighton) and producer-gas (which you can make district heating from and run cars on) and recovering all the other valuable materials in the rubbish…

That rubbish is worth a lot of money in cash, which is all going to go up in smoke according to the Onyx plan. How much cash? About £3 million clear profit a year from running a modern recycling plant and extracting everything you can get back out of the rubbish. If you take that £3 million and you take, say £3 million roughly, from running the rubbish service (an that’s probably an under-estimate) that £6 million - £6 million in cash which we’re losing to be spent on schools and the health trust and public facilities in this town, which we desperately need.

Now why didn’t someone in Onyx and someone in the Council sit down, look at what was going on in Germany and Scandinavia, and do their sums, which a five year old can do on a pocket calculator. Well partly because Council Officials are abysmally ignorant of science and technology – they’re scientific and technological illiterates; a bright 9 year old could explain more about it in terms of science to them than they know.

But they don’t want to know. They want you to go away, and not cause any trouble, and not rock the boat. So thank you for rocking the boat. They also don’t want you to know these facts because Onyx is going to make a lot of money – about £1 billion in cash flow in 25 years by using technology which is 70 years out of date.

It’s not only 70 years out of date…it’s illegal. As Caroline Lucas has said, this technology won’t be allowed very shortly anywhere in the European Union because of the pollution it causes and all the other problems.

Now if you put all that together, it’s a disaster and it’s costing millions of pounds which we can spend in this town on your behalf. And you are the people whose money is being taken for this as Council Charge payers.

Now what’s the solution?

We do what they do in Scandinavia and they do in Germany: use a thing called a bioreactor (which has got nothing to do with nuclear reactors) - you’ve got one in your kitchen: it’s called a pressure cooker.

But they’re rather big these pressure cookers (they’re about as big as this hall). You put a string of them around the edges of this town where nobody is living, as David has said.

You use those small sites with a limited amount of traffic to convert the rubbish. You use electric vehicles to take up the rubbish and bring it around. The European Union will even pay for these electric vehicles because they’re powered by fuel-cells and they’ve got a big project to actually get them on a trial basis into towns like Brighton.

Onyx is so stupid, they can’t even be thinking in terms of saving themselves £20 million on the vehicles by taking up the free offer of electric vehicles from the European Union.

These are facts. This is going to cost you huge amounts of money, and we’re going to end up with a lot of air pollution, and the whole thing is going to be a disaster in 3 or 4 years time because the European Union Court will say STOP – you’ve got to stop it completely: it’s illegal.

That is the mess that Council Officials and Onyx have got you into. We’ve got to go for the green solution.

Dump The Dump campaign letter asking the Planning Case Officer for Sussex to call in the Waste Local Plan

Dear Ms. Sprake,

I am contacting you in your position as Planning Case Officer for Sussex, with regard to the WLP that is currently under review by both ESCC and B&H councils.

I am writing to you on behalf of Dump The Dump, the Brighton and Hove based campaign that is objecting to the planning application made by Onyx Southdowns Ltd. to build a waste transfer station (WTS) and materials recycling facility (MRF) within major residential communities of the city and immediately adjacent (10 metres) to an infant school at Hollingdean.

We also are supportive of the campaign by Defenders of the Ouse Valley and Estuary (DOVE) to oppose the construction of a waste incinerator at Newhaven. We endorse DOVE's request to you to have the WLP called in by your office for ministerial review.

You will be aware that there is major local concern over the adoption of the plan by the two authorities and this has resulted in an unprecedented level of objections within the region. There have been around 1,500,000 individual objections to the WLP.

Public opinion in the region is opposed to the WLP which will have a major impact upon local communities in the region.

We would ask you to consider the following;

1. The WLP has resulted in major objections from the public that oppose it (1,500,000, mentioned above). Such a reaction is one of the criteria given on the GOSE web site for a call-in decision to made. We would urge you to do this.

2. The proximity principle is seriously compromised in both the Brighton and Hove (B&H) and Newhaven applications.

3. School governors at the Downs infant and junior schools were not consulted during the planning process for the B&H scheme. This compromises the governors responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act for the safety of pupils, staff and visitors at the school. The governors have a statutory duty, enforceable at law, to ensure that the safety and health of the school is not jeopardised - the WLP will make their position untenable.

4. The Lewes Road area of B&H has been identified by government as an air quality management zone and as such will be the subject of an action plan. The Onyx application states that they will seek to have this plan extended to include the WTS and MRF (B&H council officers have denied any knowledge of a planned extension). This recognizes that the impact of the Onyx application will have a major environmental effect on pollution in area that has already been identified as being in need of remediation measures by national government. This is in conflict with national policy.

5. The proposed Onyx sites at B&H and Newhaven will have capacities far greater than is required for the area. There is fear amongst residents that this will result in waste being imported into the areas from outside of the region. Onyx state in their planning app. to B&H that they wish to use the Hollingdean site for waste produced outside of the area - this compromises the proximity principle guidelines issued by DETR.
There are concerns that the proposed Newhaven incinerator, being adjacent to harbour facilities, will be used to bring waste from outside of the region and from abroad. Again, this compromises the proximity principle.

6. The WLP does not include a consideration for the health impact of its application. This was identified by the Planning Inspector, but has been ignored by both authorities.

7. The B&H plan will result in serious over-intensification of use on an already congested site, within residential communities. There is already an increase in residential accommodation in the immediate area and more is at the planning stage.

8. Onyx admit in their B&H application that the buildings erected at the Hollingdean site will have a 'major, adverse impact', this raises significant urban design issues as one of the communities adversely affected has conservation status and another is the subject of a central government Sure Start project, which will be seriously undermined by approval of the application.

We believe that there is an urgent need for your department to commence a calling-in procedure for the ESCC/B&H Waste Local Plan, either prior to or after its adoption by those authorities.

We support the DOVE request for a call-in by your office for WLP in all of its aspects.

The WLP will not enable the county to meet the required objectives for recycling that are to be issued by government.

There is significant and major local objection to the WLP, this alone is justification for call-in to be actioned.

I look forward to hearing from you that such a process can be started.

Yours faithfully,

Edward Start
Governor - Downs Junior School, Brighton
Member of Dump the Dump Campaign.

How might campaigning continue?
Campaigners can continue to fight Onyx's applications for planning permission to develop the specific sites. The minimum hope would be to force the developer to modify the proposals so that the worst outcomes could be avoided.

There are also longer-term campaign strategies which some campaigners may already be pursuing.

Local planning is an ongoing process and is also subject to changing directives by government and the EC. The recycling targets in the Waste Local Plan fall short of targets which will become statutory by 2007. Within the intervening period Brighton & Hove and East Sussex Councils will be required to prepare a Waste Development Framework to take the place of their Waste Local Plan. International agreement &/or government action to take the problem of global warming more seriously, could raise future targets still further.

'Dump the Dump' campaign history May to June 2005
Most, if not all, Round Hill residents will have received a letter from the Council and Onyx, setting out their plans for a Waste Transfer and Recycling Facility at Hollingdean Depot. This site is very close to Round Hill and right next door to the Downs Infant School. There is mixed feeling in the neighbourhood about it and there is a vigorous campaign against it, called 'Dump the Dump'. They staged a demonstration at Hove Town Hall in May, when they made headline local news. Over 250 people turned up with placards and banners and the Argus and Meridian News attended. Cllr Jeanne Lepper, David Lepper MP and Cllr Keith Taylor support the campaign. There were further demonstration in June and November, when the Council's policy and resources committee voted to approve the Waste Local Plan.

The 'Dump the Dump' campaigners have produced a fact sheet that explains all the myths and facts surrounding this application. It also gives all the relevant names and addresses of people to contact to voice any concerns you may have. The application will now not go to the planning committee until much later this year, which gives people more time to read the Onyx reports and make an informed decision.

Have you made your mind up?
If you haven’t written voicing your concerns about the plans for Hollingdean Depot, now is the time, it’s not too late. The Chief Planning Officer for Brighton and Hove City Council, Martin Randall, has made it clear that all objections will be taken into account.


At the public meeting on 23rd June 2005 held by the Council (after demands by the local community that they consult with us) it was very clear that the Council has no other sites in mind and that Onyx will simply continue to amend the planning application until it is passed. The cost for both Onyx and the Council if they cannot have a site in the city will be extremely high.

The Council appears to be trying to pass this wholly inappropriate development simply to avoid fines from Central Government and the EU. In contrast to small grass roots recycling bodies that see recycling as a positive act, the Council seems to portray it as a response to pressure being put on it.

If the plans are agreed, the Waste Transfer Station will be the drop-off point for every single black bin bag in the whole of Brighton and Hove. We believe that no account at all has been taken of the physical and psychological health effects on the people who are living in this community.

City Clean have already transferred all of their vehicles to the site where previously they were spread across the city. The savings made by the Council in time and money will be negligible in comparison to the costs already being paid by those people unfortunate enough to have this depot on their doorstep. These include people living in one of the most densely populated areas of the city and 800 schoolchildren whose lessons and lives are already being disrupted by the activity on the site and its HGV traffic.
We say ‘Small is Beautiful’: we are happy to deal with our own rubbish in our own local community, but feel it is unreasonable to expect one community to pay the price of a serious increase in noise, smell, artificial lights, HGV movements at all times of the day and night, stress and air pollution, to enable the processing of ALL the waste from the whole of Brighton and Hove.

Think before you buy
Do you really need to buy goods that are heavily packaged? Wouldn’t it be nice to cook a proper meal instead of a microwave packet? Do you really need yet another plastic carrier bag? In France and other European countries, you have to pay for every plastic bag you use. It’s up to us as individuals to take responsibility for our own waste. There are tips on how to reduce your waste on www.brighton-hove.gov.uk.

This page was last updated by Ted on 15-Jul-2019
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Gardens & wildlife