Weekend working, the Council, Veolia and local residents
Residents in Round Hill, Hollingdean and areas on and adjoining Ditchling Road have had to put up with weekend working on the Hollingdean Depot site - a nuisance to those wanting to enjoy quiet leisure time with their families or on their own. What have the Council got to say about it?
Senior Environmental Health Officer, Jim Whitelegg, in his letter to a resident living in Princes Road, explained the operating restrictions
"Working hours for the main construction works are restricted to Monday – Friday 07.00 to 19.00 hours and 08.00 to 13.00 hours on Saturdays, although wherever possible noisy activities will be undertaken Monday – Friday between 08.00 hours to 18.00 hours with no working on Sundays or Bank holidays. I understand the contractors usually finish at 17.30 hours Monday to Friday."
"These hours are good practice in line with guidance taken from BS 5228 Code of Practice for controlling noise from construction sites. Within any construction site, especially large scale projects, there will be times when works will exceed these hours due to emergencies or the nature of certain activities."
"Should any emergency works or activities that can not be carried out during the hours stipulated above, 72 hours written notice shall be given to the City Council along with an agreed method of works. An example of such work that may over run would be concrete floor pouring where the concrete is poured and continually power floated until properly set. The work can only finish when the concrete is set and this is dependent on variable factors such as atmospheric conditions.
The work on Saturday morning was a concrete pour and the contractors applied for a extention till 14.00 hours. I've spoken to the contractors and unfortunately the concrete curring took longer than expected and the didn't actually finish until 16.30 hours. Normally, the floor slab pours would be carried during the week which would enable the concrete to set within the usual working hours." What have local residents got to say?
Princes Road resident, Simon Biddell, thanked the Council's Environmental Health Officer for his statement, but added: "personally, I still think that construction work in densely populated residential areas should not be undertaken at weekends but perhaps this is just wishful thinking" The planning committee meeting
Monday 19th June: at a special meeting, Les Hamilton the Chair of the Planning Applications Sub-Committee counted 8 votes FOR and 4 votes AGAINST Veolia's proposals.
So now Veolia has the Council's go-ahead to build a Waste Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility at Hollingdean Depot subject to several planning obligations and 53 conditions. Council Officers' Report and Recommendation
- the Council's go-ahead for Veolia's Hollingdean Depot is subject to the planning obligations and conditions listed in this document. If the developer breaches any of these conditions, then planning permission may be withdrawn. Local residents wishing to minimize the adverse effects of this development, should know what the obligations and conditions are. The Waste Hierarchy - presented by Alan Buck
The background to the development (the Council is both client and adjudicator) was presented by the Council's Projects Officer, Alan Buck.
He described the historical context, outlining through dated documents (though not rigorous analysis) how Hollingdean came to be the applicant's preferred and only site.
More useful was his description of the WASTE HIERARCHY, which Councils are meant to follow:
1. Waste Prevention
4. Energy Recovery
Energy Recovery and Disposal are the least desirable options, as Hollingdean, Newhaven and the Ozone Layer are about to learn. Shouldn't the Council be doing more in support of
The Waste Hierarchy?
The Dump the Dump Campaign
has helped to give rise to some important sub Campaigns, especially the Take It Back Campaign
involving itself in the over-packaging of the merchandise we buy in the shops.
At points in the meeting, members of the Sub-committee and Council Officers seemed to be searching for canditates for sweeteners e.g. contributing to the arts; contributing money to the local schools to recompense them for the absence of a cycle lane under the Victorian railway bridge.
Many local residents receive piles of junk mail through their letter-boxes in spite of stickers on the door and informing the Mailing Preference Service that they don't want it. Over many fortnights, the unwanted junk mail delivered to me exceeds my own paper waste. Perhaps money, or better still the Law or a name & shame
list, could be used to stop this dumping of unwanted litter on our doormats. The notion that the Government and Local Councils put Waste Prevention at the top of the WASTE HIERARCHY is not matched by sufficient action. The case for recommending the proposal
- presented by Maria Seale
The Council's Case Officer, Maria Seale, gave a competent presentation, though clearly weighted on the side of the developer.
Construction would be phased over one year with the Waste Transfer Station first and then the Materials Recovery Facility.
Lorry movements to & from the Waste Transfer Station will generally be between 7am and 7 pm involving 6 return trips per hour. 110,000 tons of this waste per year is currently produced by the city. The maximum throughput provided for in this proposal is 160,000 tons per year, though the design will accommodate 200,000 tons. Mixing fact and fiction
Mixed in among Maria's factual data were some highly contentious sentences: The proposal accords with the proximity principle.
Not really, if residents the other end of Brighton and Hove can dump it all on Hollingdean. There must be a point at which a single site suffers over-intensification and over-development. A true proximity principle would share the burden more fairly. The ALTERNATIVE SITES ASSESSMENT has established that there are no other suitable alternative sites in the city
. NOT TRUE: Council Officers passively accepted Veolia's insistence that everything should be on a single site. No Council Officer has offered any critique of Veolia's rigged process manipulated to get the result they wanted. The very first point to query is the title of the analysis itself. Why isn't it called an ADDITIONAL SITE ASSESSMENT?
In spite of all the months Council Officers have had to demand a more rigorous analysis from Veolia, they have accepted every subjective judgement and unsubstantiated claim as BIBLICAL TRUTH.
The presence of the Coastways railway, used by Veolia in their analysis as a reason for preferring Hollingdean to the edge-of-city site at Hollingbury Industrial Estate, was a complete red-herring. It was left to one Member of the Sub-Planning Committee, Averil Older, who voted against the dump, to establish that Veolia has never had any intention whatsoever of transporting waste by rail because of the economic cost.
Hangleton Bottom, another edge-of-city alternative site, was characterized by Veolia as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in spite of its separation from the Sussex Downs by the A27 by-pass.
Hollingbury Industrial Estate was similarly dismissed as an alternative owing to its proximity to the Downs.
Once the A27 by-pass (itself a very controversial development) was laid, a compromise was made and a means existed to relieve west-east routes (e.g. Hollingdean Road and Upper Lewes Road) from through traffic and heavy vehicles not suited to streets on which there are residential dwellings.
Yet, Veolia's ALTERNATIVE SITE ANALYSIS deems the A27 by-pass unsuitable while the conurbation of dwellings is just the place for one 44-tonne truck every 11 minutes in addition to the current volume of traffic.
Members of the Sub-Committee made partial reference to these issues and some were honest enough to admit that they had not really done their homework.
Nearly every factor in Veolia's ALTERNATIVE SITE ANALYSIS would benefit from closer scrutiny. They even predicted that there would be less public outcry with Hollingdean as their choice of single site rather than the edge-of-city alternative site at Hollingbury Industrial Estate. Perhaps objections from Asda and other commercial enterprises and upsetting The Argus (whose main newspaper offices are based at Hollingbury Industrial Estate) meant more to them than the residents of Hollingdean, Round Hill, St Peters and Lewes Road. Sub-committee members uneasy about failure to visit similar installations that are up and running
The worst neglect, which several members of the Sub-Committee were honest enough to own up to, was failure to make any visits to similar Waste Transfer Stations (e.g. Islington, Alton, Portsmouth) that are already up and running to survey the actual effects on residents. Perhaps the Downs Infant School should make a homework plan for adults licensed to take such big decisions without any knowledge of the effects.
Councillor Delia Forester claimed that she had done some homework, a 3-hour session on the Internet that morning searching for info on problems encountered in up-and-running UK Waste Transfer Stations. She reported that she did not find a single example. This does not tally with examples quoted by speakers invited to some of the earliest Dump The Dump Meetings. Problems with vermin, asbestos, smog, air pollutants, asthma, noise, road safety, were quoted to us very early on by people from other parts of the UK who had been involved in similar campaigns. Councillor Forester's morning session on the computer could be tested if others tried to see what they can do with an Internet Search Engine. However, a better course of action would have been for Sub-Committee Members to visit themselves the localities where WTSs are already up and running and follow up the exact concerns of Hollingdean residents.
The easiest installation to visit (just 60 miles away!) would have been the WTS at Islington, which also uses 44-tonne lorries running through streets with residential dwellings. The proposal to defer the decision to give time for further investigation
Councillor Ken Norton acknowledged the lack of thoroughness in preparation for this meeting and proposed that the decision should be deferred subject to further investigation. Councillor Sue Paskin seconded this suggestion and it was evident that one or two more Members might have supported it. This rattled the Chair and the senior Council Officers sitting either side of him, who did their best to steer the meeting back on track for a final decision before the day was out. The question of a deferment was put to the vote, but was lost: 3 members in favour, 4 against and 5 abstentions. The case against - as put by members of the Dump the Dump campaign
Excellent speeches against the proposal were made by Rachel Attwell (very effective), Ed Start (thoroughly covered the ground with all the necessary references to the Waste Local Plan) and Dr Bernd Eggen of Sussex University, an expert in environmental and atmospheric chemistry (referring to risks of particulates circulating within a 1km radius increasing the instances of respiratory diseases and cancer). Supported by contributions from Local Councillors
These contributions were backed up by good speeches from Local Councillors: Pat Hawkes, Juliet McCaffery, Richard Mallendar, Keith Taylor, Tehmtan Framroze and Jeane Lepper. Veolia's case - John Collis had little to say which we hadn't heard before
When John Collis rose to his feet, his case had already been put by Maria Seale whose presentation ended in an animated computer simulation meant to show us what the new Hollingdean Depot would look like. We saw some human life in the form of cheerful-faced Veolia staff (more plausible on a cat-walk than working in a tip!), but all the residential dwellings & gardens beyond the perimeter of the development site had been whited out. My own back garden will overlook the WTS, but a blank area of white was substituted for what should have been my greenhouse. I tend to my tomato plants quite frequently, but was disappointed not to be given the status of a stick-figure in the animation. I'd been blanked out of it.
Mr Collis had a team of consultants with him, but preferred to do all the speaking himself, using the consultants only on the rare occasions when he was unable to answer questions.
He would have been aware that the Road Safety & Transport implications of his proposal posed a very valid challenge. He was fortunate that criticism of these flaws in the proposal had been used up on the Council's Traffic Manager, Peter Bloxham.
The Road Safety issues relating to the Victorian bridge cannot be resolved because of the shear lack of space for two pavements, a cycle track and a road wide enough for traffic in two directions, including those 44-tonne trucks. The Council's Traffic Manager's responses
Peter Bloxham assured his questioners that a cycle lane would cost no more than £10,000 to install (just the cost of paint, markings etc), but it appeared that there was no room for it. Hollingdean residents were unimpressed by the Traffic Manager's suggestion that the loss of a cycle lane could be mitigated by spending £10,000 on sustainable transport provision elsewhere in the city. There was little on offer to Hollingdean at all. It was impossible to widen the bridge. Management of traffic flow using traffic lights was not considered an option since the consequent delays would be too disruptive.
It was quite clear that the Road Safety issues relating to the bridge were still unresolved. The application was therefore pushed through by subjecting it to many obligations and conditions. We learnt from Peter Bloxham that if the developer were to be in breach of a planning condition, the application would have to be re-submitted.
There were both tears and shouts of "shame" when the vote was taken at the end of the meeting. Where to go now
However, it is not the end of the line. Brighton Pavilion's MP David Lepper will hold discussions with councillors and campaigners about the possibility of having the application called in by the Government Office for the South East for a public inquiry. If this does not succeed, then Dump The Dump Campaigners will also do their utmost to ensure that all the planning obligations and conditions are strictly adhered to. However, there are a few more factors which could influence things. The instrumental test will be whether the proposed volume of traffic movement is actually feasible and safe. It is a pity to have to wait for hold-ups and accidents to find out. Then there are political and economic factors such as laws on carbon rations and the price of oil. Veolia will continue to operate within a changing political and economic climate.
We were told by the Chair at the end of the meeting that the Council was acting in the interest of all Brighton and Hove's residents. The Council has effectively put all its eggs into one basket and is short of a contingency plan if the bridge becomes damaged and the agreed route becomes unusable. If this plan falls flat on its face and amounts to a terrific waste of Council charge payers money, nobody in Brighton and Hove is going to thank the Planning Applications Sub-Committee for giving in homework which is not properly done and hoping that it will pass. LOCAL REACTION Anger as Dump wins go-ahead
- The Argus, 20th June 2006. Headteacher considered resigning over Dump decision
- The Argus, 21st June 2006. 44-tonne truck protest march: Sat 17th June
A 9-minute video of this event has already been edited and copies sent to members of The Dump The Dump campaign and both Downs Infant and Junior Schools.
Motorists peeped their horns in solidarity as over 100 local residents, including many children from local schools, made their way along the route proposed for 44-tonne trucks leaving from and returning to Hollingdean Depot. The marchers kept up a good chorus, chanting their opposition to the short-sighted proposal which would bring the UK's heaviest lorries onto their streets one after another, travelling to and fro, at 11-minute intervals throughout the day. The most ludicrous part of the plan would involve the movement of these juggernauts through the Victorian railway bridge, where they would compete for space with cyclists, pedestrians and other motor vehicle users.
The event, well managed by Dump The Dump campaign stewards and Sussex police, was an amicable affair causing very temporary hold-ups to traffic. With real juggernauts, which could get stuck under the bridge or injure someone without the protective layers of a 44-tonne truck, delays may be somewhat longer.
Pushing through an unsuitable scheme while Road Safety issues are still unresolved, would be to invite injuries and fatalities. It is just not feasible to cater safely for different road users within the limits of the railway bridge. The pictures of children (above and below) were taken within two minutes of one another. These were not children on the protest march, although they were curious to see an unusual gathering. I noticed other small children, often unsupervised, lurking on or near to busy roads all along the route of the protest march.
Children play and ride bicycles on Hollingdean streets. If the Council Officers, who have just recommended Veolia's scheme for conditional acceptance, had joined the 44-tonne truck march, they would have noticed small children and bikes along the way.
It is difficult for Council Officers when the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive both support the scheme and when they have been holding meetings with the developer and consultants motivated to push this scheme through for years.
Hollingdean's Local Councillors do
understand just how difficult it is to cross roads in this busy suburb with the existing traffic volume. They are unanimous in their opposition to this scheme. It is nothing but madness to throw in a 44-tonne truck every eleven minutes throughout the day. Hollingdean's Councillors certainly do not want to have to account for putting local residents' children at risk. And local residents do not want to hear rationalizations after tragedies have occurred from people with sparse knowledge of their community. They want this scheme rejected. Planning Applications Sub-Committee Meeting
Monday 19th June 2006 is set to be the day when Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Applications Sub Committee will decide the outcome of Veolia’s proposal for a Waste Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility at Hollingdean Depot. Dump The Dump Campaign's Agenda for the day of decision
We will meet at the bus stop outside Downs Juniors at 12.30, and take the bus to Hove Town Hall.
Meet at Hove Town Hall at 13.00.
BBC South Today should be there around this time.
The planning sub committee will come into Hove Town Hall well before the meeting. We will great them outside.
14.00: Our representation to the council (1/2 hour). If you want to come inside and sit on the gallery you may, but silence is required, otherwise the meeting will not go ahead. There will be representations for and against, so be prepared…
Chant and shout outside the Hove Town Hall, whilst the meeting is in progress.
We have no idea how long the meeting will go on for, but you can make your own way back, or you can wait to say goodbye to planning subcommittee after they have made the decision. Thank you for participating. This is it! Dump The Dump’s Final Response
29 pages (MS WORD Format)
The meeting on 8th June at Downs Infant School, where the Dump the Dump Campaign presented their final response to the application, was well attended and equally well chaired by parent and local resident Diana Leech. Political opposition to Veolia’s Hollingdean Depot proposal
A roll call of local representatives got the meeting under way as Councillors from Preston Park and Hollingbury & Stanmer wards stood to record both their presence and their opposition to Veolia’s proposals.
Local Councillors who will be speaking against the scheme on 19th June include Jeane Lepper, Pat Hawkes, Richard Mallendar and Juliet McCaffery. Councillors Kevin Allen, Tehmtan Framroze, Paul Elgood, Simon Williams and Keith Taylor also oppose Veolia’s proposals. It was explained that Local Councillors who are also Members of the Council’s Planning Applications Sub-Committee are disqualified from voicing opinions in advance of the Planning Meeting on 19th June. Residents will have to attend the Public Gallery at Hove Town Hall from 2 pm on the day to monitor everybody’s position. Dump the Dump Campaign considers putting up its own candidates
It was mentioned that if local wishes are ignored, the Dump The Dump campaigners may well consider putting up their own independent candidates in the 2007 Council Elections.
On a Parliamentary level, campaigners have the support of Brighton Pavilion’s MP David Lepper, who has written to Alan McCarthy, Brighton and Hove City Council’s Chief Excecutive, arguing against the scheme. However, Alan McCarthy has stated publicly (in advance of the Planning Applications Sub-Committee Meeting) that he thinks the scheme should go ahead. Council Officers’ Report and Recommendation due on 13th June
Council Officers will shortly make their Report on the Application public (expected on the Council web site by Tuesday 13th June) and Members of the Dump the Dump Campaign’s guiding committee believe that Council Officers will recommend acceptance. However, it is the Local Councillors on the Planning Applications Sub-Committee who make the decision. If they refuse, it is almost certain that Veolia will appeal to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate, which would then make the final decision. If the Planning Sub-Committee accept Veolia’s proposal, there is no right of Appeal for those opposed to the application. The Council has already received 2100 objections to Veolia’s revised proposal
Thanks to the efforts of the Dump the Dump campaign (and Sandra, Mel and Gareth got a special mention) local residents have been stirred into action. To date, the Council has received more than 2100 letters objecting to Veolia’s revised application - the background to this is the 2250 letters sent in relation to the previous application when the developer was calling itself Onyx. Dump the Dump’s response to the application
After Gus Garside’s useful update on the progress of the campaign over the last year, Ed Start presented the main item of the Meeting: the Dump The Dump Campaign’s official response to the Application. Each member of the Planning Applications Sub-Committee will be sent a copy of this 29-page document posted on Dump The Dump’s web site. The developer will also get a copy. Changes in revising the application were cosmetic
Ed Start reminded local residents that changes that Veolia has made to the revised application, resulting from the initial outcry that the Council could not ignore, have been very slight. The revised application reduced the capacity or throughput of the waste transfer station from 180,000 to 160,000 tons per annum. The crucial thing to remember was that the proposal is still for buildings on the Hollingdean Depot site capable of dealing with 200,000 tons per annum. With London Boroughs itching to export their waste to East and West Sussex, an application by Veolia (later along the line) to increase capacity by 40,000 tons per annum might be looked on very favourably by a Council strapped for cash, though the main profit would go to Veolia at the cost of more traffic, noise and pollution to our local area.
The planned split would be 70% black bag waste and 30% recyclable materials – the black bag waste would be destined for incineration to the concern of residents in Newhaven and the Ouse Valley. Impact on the local community not of great concern to Veolia
Veolia hardly shows much concern for communities. In an application consisting of 16 volumes + plans + appendices, there are just 6 pages on the impact of their application on our local community.
Ed Start emphasized that Dump The Dump’s official response was necessary as a permanent record showing that the majority of the community do not want these plans. The geography of the valley where fumes would be circulating does not lend itself to a Waste Transfer Station without further endangering school children and the residents already suffering from the intensification of the Hollingdean site.
Veolia’s proposal makes a mockery of all the hard work local schools have been doing on minimizing the school-run through school travel plans i.e. promoting walking as a way of getting to school. Veolia’s plans are quite out of place so close to an Air Quality Management Area; it was pointed out that this designation was yet to be converted into an action plan, as anybody walking via the Vogue Giratory on Lewes Rd to Comet or B & Q will testify. The Health Protection Agency has not proved worthy of its name
Ed Start highlighted the campaign’s disappointment in relation to The Health Protection Agency. This body has failed to live up to its name, since its two and a half page report to Brighton and Hove City Council on the health implications of Veolia’s proposal is little more than a precis of what the developer is proposing. The developer regards local people as “highly sensitive receptors of pollution”, which may be better than being described as “collateral damage”, but falls short of George Orwell’s criteria for plain-speak. David Hawker, the Council’s Director of Education and Children’s Services
Following up on this part of Ed Start’s presentation, members of the audience called upon David Hawker, the Council’s Director of Education and Children’s Services to answer questions on the decision to place the development next to the schools. He bravely came to the front of the Hall. The absence of anybody from Veolia meant a shortage of targets for firing-practice, which is not very useful in a question and answer session when all the people present take no responsibility for Veolia’s plans.
David Hawker observed that he came to listen, not to defend Veolia’s plans. However, parents in the Hall seemed more familiar with the Health Protection Agency’s report than David Hawker. They pre-warned him that he would be officially briefed that noise would not be more than its present level, sprinklers would solve the problem of dust and smell wouldn’t be any greater than it is now.
Parents also made the point that if the Council’s Director of Education and Children’s Services had any intention of intervening, he was leaving it rather late to brief himself on this proposal. Given the proximity of 19th June 2006, he should have already taken soundings.
David Hawker insisted that he would act to safeguard children’s health if necessary and was not qualified to address other issues. Graham Ennis and alternative approaches to Waste Management
A powerful contribution was again made by Graham Ennis, director of the Omega Institute Brighton, whose group of scientists recently launched a policy statement outlining “alternative approaches to Waste Management”.
He saw Veolia’s scheme as technically and financially unviable and observed that events had already justified the caveats his Group had given the Council in relation to Veolia’s outdated and polluting technology.
Two weeks ago the European Union announced carbon taxes of 40 Euros per ton, rising to 100 Euros per ton, to be implemented by the end of 2006, on any company which exceeded its carbon rationing or carbon output.
Graham Ennis was very critical of the Council’s Chief Exectutive for signing a deal with Onyx and failing ro factor in the cost of carbon emissions.
He insisted that the use of bioreactors on a number of smaller sites and a waste management system operated by the Council, would be cost effective rather than a recipe for a black hole in the Council’s accounts to be paid for finally by local residents. Since carbon rationing will apply to Councils as well as big companies, the use of bioreactors would allow Brighton and Hove Council to trade in its surplus carbon rationing. The value of the waste could also be recognised if more of it was recycled, using state of the art materials recovery technologies.
Graham Ennis concluded that failure by the Chief Executive and his Council Officers to engage in dialogue about the best environmental options amounted to both technical illiteracy and a failure in local democracy. Fire at Hollingdean depot (Meat Market)
See report in The Argus
(8th June 2006) on fire risk to children's health. At lunch-time today, we were notified that there was a fire over the back of the school in the meat market. On advice from the Council and the police we kept children indoors and the windows closed for the rest of the day to be on the safe side in case there were any lingering fumes. We are awaiting the all clear from Environmental Health but in the meantime please collect your children and remove them from the school site as quickly as possible. I am expecting us to be open as usual tomorrow.
Headteacher......................6 June 2006
[Text and photos provided by The Dump The Dump Campaign]
There was a fire at the Meat market at Hollingdean depot at noon today. The school had to shut the doors and windows.
On the site there were a number of poeple in full body suits cleaning up, and there were warning signs for asbestos.
Just imagine a fire at a waste processing station, or simply their filtering system failing, which could be bad enough ...
Is this what we can expect weekly, if there is an operation of the proposed magnitude? Considering there will be all of Brighton & Hove's waste dealt with at the proposed facility, there could certainly be a fire risk - nice environment for the school kids.... mmhh
This shows again how ridiculous the overintesification of this site is ....and that is why we fight the proposal still.