Gardens & wildlife

Veolia 2006-02-02 Campaign Meeting

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This is a full transcript of the Campaign Meeting organised by Dump The Dump on 2nd February 2006 at the Downs Infant school after Onyx's first application for a Waste Transfer Station & Materials Recovery Facility at Hollingdean Depot  (which drew over 3,000 objections) had been withdrawn. All the objections are discounted in the wake of the new application.  The two main speakers at the meeting are Gus Garside and Edward Stark (Governor of the Downs Junior School) both speaking for the Dump The Dump campaign. Present at the meeting are Local Councillors [Councillors Jeane Lepper (Labour), Pat Hawkes (Labour) Keith Taylor (Green) and Richard Mallendar (Green)] and the MP for Brighton Pavilion ward (David Lepper) who are opposed to Onyx's proposed scheme, as well as representatives from DOVE (Defenders of the Ouse Valley) who are opposed to Onyx's proposed Newhaven incinerator, and members of the Take It Back campaign against unnecessary packaging. This meeting marks the first anniversary of the Dump The Dump campaign comprised of local residents, especially parents of children at the Downs schools and other schools affected by Onyx's (Veolia's) proposal.

As well as the following transcript, there is an Illustrated Report of the same meeting.

Chair: I'd just like to thank everybody for coming along this evening on such a cold night. The aim of the meeting is to share information on where the campaign is at now and to discuss what we need to do for the next stage in the campaign. There'll be two speakers and after which we'll take questions from the floor. Also I'd just like to say that we invited Councillors and Council Officers as well as the applicants. Some can't be here and others declined. It is also important to convey is how far the campaign has come so far. The reality of blocking what's proposed so far is a huge achievement of the campaign. So thank you very much.  

Gus Garside: I'm just going to speak for a little bit. I think it's probably worth just saying that although we don't have Council Officers, we do have Local Councillors here. We do have the support of our Local Councillors and our Local MP - David Lepper who's here - so thanks for coming.

I'm not going to go over all the reasons why we're objecting to this site.  But Ed's going to go over quite a lot of that in far more detail and with far more knowledge than I will . And most of it's here in bullet point form in the leaflet. But I'll just say a couple of things. Basically, we're here to bring you up to date and to really indicate where we think we can go from here. 

Well, I'll say a couple of things about the objection. We do remain opposed to a single site proposal to handle all the domestic waste from all of Brighton and Hove in a residential location. It's close to two tower blocks which house some of our older residents . It's close to several schools and only a few metres from this particular school's playground. We don't think this proposal makes sense either in terms of health or in terms of sustainable waste management. We object to the proposal which would mean between 158 and 200 vehicles from Onyx and CityClean combined - we haven't been given consistent figures on this: one set of figures says it's 158 vehicles; another says 200 vehicles - but if we go with the lower number - 158 vehicles. Assume that they're making one journey in & out per day and in fact some of them will be making more than one. If we go with one  in and out - this is seven days a week. And we are told that two thirds of them will go towards the Vogue Gyratory. The calculation is that that would mean there would be on average one vehicle every four minutes travelling under that bridge.  It's going to be actually more frequent than that. We also know because we've been told that 33 of them are going to be these vehicles here: 44 tonne trucks and that's an Infant School child standing next to it. That's actually in proportion, so that gives you some idea of the size. There'll be on average one of those every eleven minutes going under that railway bridge if this proposal goes ahead. So traffic will be brought to a complete standstill several times a day. We don't know what's going to happen if the bridge is damaged. That hasn't been made public. But if correspondence between the Council and Network Rail is anything to go by, it's not a case of if it's damaged. It's a case of when it's damaged.

So what's going to happen if a lorry .... where will they go? Where will the rest of the traffic go? And will the waste just pile up? 

We've got a model, which we'll show you later, which shows you how the lorry and the bridge work together. Ed will demonstrate that for you. 

OK. So where's the waste going to go, once it's been sorted? Well, the non-recylable waste - and that we're told is about 70% of it - is planned to be taken to Newhaven where Onyx are applying to build an incinerator.

Incineration doesn't make sense to us for two reasons. Firstly, because of the disasterous effects on the atmosphere both locally and globally. And secondly, the proposed incinerator is to be run commercially by a private company: Onyx. And it needs to be fed sufficiently to insure profit. So built into this plan, are restrictions on recycling targets. You might recall a letter from CityClean some months ago that certain things like tetrapaks will no longer be collected for recycling. 

It's probably worth just mentioning a couple of facts here. Incinerators like this buy in additional waste to keep them operating at a profitable level. They purchase waste. They actually buy waste. And the second fact is that Onyx don't just handle domestic waste. They're the main contractors for commercial waste in the area for people like ASDA and major companies. So, if you put those two facts together, you can draw your own conclusions.

If you want to know more about the incinerator proposal, we've got people from DOVE (Defenders of the Ouse Valley) over in the corner there.

So where's the vision for sustainable waste management that seriously addresses the major issues such as reducing unnecessary packaging?  Compaction, recycling and increasing re-use either personally or through streams like Freecycle? It's been down to Dump The Dump to advertise things like that. 

And in other countries, supermarkets aren't allowed to give away disposable shopping bags, so where's the vision that's going to change all that with this Council? 

You may already know about the campaign we have against unnecessary packaging. It's called Take It Back, and you can find out more about that at the back. There's a stand there. You might have read about it in the Observer colour supplement last Sunday. There's a couple of questionnaires about the Take It Back campaign going round. There's two of them going round because we try to minimise the use of paper. Please do fill it in and do go to the stand at the end of the meeting and find out more.

OK. So what's happened so far? Well, we've had three public meetings to date. All have been very well attended, as this evening's is. Because people are very concerned about this plan. We've conducted a survey to find out how concerned you are. And 95% of local people say that they're very seriously concerned about this development. We've been gathering facts and we've been consulting with local people while the Council and Onyx have tried quietly to get on with their plans with as little consultation as possible. But we've exposed them and your letters have wrangled them so much that they called a Public Meeting. So many of you turned up to that meeting that they had to hold a second one.

So what's happened since then? Well, they had to give a public apology for misinforming people at the second public meeting that the schools had been consulted when they hadn't.

Another thing that's happened is that our local MEP, Dr Caroline Lucas, has said that the contract between Onyx and the Council breaches European Law which gives Local Communities a right to greater consultation than they were offered. The Council issued a statement saying that they awarded the contract before the Law came into being. But the contract is being investigated.

The planning committee have considered The Waste Local Plan - that's the planning framework of which the Hollingdean site and the Newhaven incinerator could be a part. They've approved the Waste Local Plan, but I must point out that it doesn't mean that it's been formally adopted. That requires final approval from the government of SE England or GOSEE. The government have now placed a holding area on the plan to allow them to look at objections: your objections. And of course, the proposals for the Hollingdean site or the Newhavn incinerator have themselves not yet been looked at by the committee. The Council have informed us that they have taken concerns to Onyx and have asked them to withdraw the currrent application and to re-submit a new one. 

Among the things they've asked them to look at are traffic and rail use, environmental health and the visual look of the buildings. They've asked them to look at these things because of your letters, because of your objections. And they have told us that all the letters of objection to the original application can no longer be taken into account in relation to the new application. 

When the new application is in and announced, we'll have a mere 21 days to object. But your letters have made and will continue to make a difference. Once the new application has been made available, we'll read it, we'll draw up bullet points of concerns and will compose a pro-forma letter for people to sign and send in or to use as a basis for your own letters. And we'll give you the deadline and get the information out to you as soon as possible. So it's absolutely vital, this evening, that you give us your contact details. Even if you've given them to us before, make sure that we have them. We've got forms at the back for you to give us your contact information. Wherevet possible, if you could give us contact emails, that would be best, because that reduces cost and we can do things faster. I must say that we are simply a group of residents and parents.  The Council has money to spend on this process: your money. Every time we do something, it costs us money. So in order to keep you informed, we'll be asking for contributions to the fighting fund this evening.  A pound would be great from everyone, but more would be fantastic.

The Dump The Dump campaign is a year old, and we feel that at our 1st birthday, we can say that we've achieved a lot. [Fantastic! Applause]. The first fight has been run in that Onyx have been forced to make a resubmission. Let's not give up now. Let's get ready for the next battle. The Council received over 3,000 letters of objection which they're now discounting. When the time comes to consider the new application, let's see if we can spread the word and double that number. 

Ed Stark (Governor of the Downs Junior School):  I'm just going to cover some of the ground that Gus has covered. Flesh out a bit about local information. And hopefully get you so carried away, that you'r going to get really involved in this campaign. So thanks for coming out on a cold night. 

So here we are then. Hollingdean. So what's actually going on? I think we should make it clear from the outset where we as a campaigning group stand. It sounds pretty good  - campaigning group. You should see us. As a group, we do support responsible waste management. We've been called NYMBYs in the local media. No, we're not that. I've got a new one. It's a NIYBYE. It's Not In Your Backyard Either.

As we've gone through this process, we appreciate the problems that  Local Authorities have in dealing with waste - waste which we all produce. We've got a good understanding of it, and we have some understanding of the problems they're facing. So we are not trying to be totally negative about this. 

Waste management and recycling will only ever be effective if it's done in partnership with communities and not by the imposition of schemes that adversely impact on people's lives and environments.

So what have we been doing this last _  _ _. Well, we've been kicking up a stink with our demos. We've been on demos in the summer, the winter. We've kept the protests up. We've kept the letters going. You've been supporting us. That's been great.

But perhaps we need to know who we are dealing with here. We are dealing with Brighton and Hove City Council, in particular CityClean. CityClean is the waste management arm of BHCC and they're based just down the road here at Hollingdean Depot. We're also dealing in a way  with East Sussex County Council because about 10 years ago - a bit more actually - Local Authorities were required to produce a plan for how they would deal with waste. It's an important subject and had to be addressed almost on a semi-regional basis, so it was a case of ESCC and BHCC getting together. And this resulted in what was known as a Waste Local Plan. Gus has already referred to that. It went through a number of stages in 1998 and a second draft was produced in 2002. There was a government inquiry by a government inspector in 2003 and after that, changes were made to the plan and we got the second issue.

Interestingly, some of the changes that the Government  Inspector wanted were not included in the plan. For instance, the Council chose to ignore the health implications of the Waste Local Plan. Gus has mentioned that on 6th December, BHCC approved the Waste Local Plan going forward for adoption. And then on 23rd January, the Argus told us that in fact GOSE (Government Office for South East) said that the plan would be put on hold while it was reviewed. 

There have been anomalies along the way as well. ESCC and BHCC entered into a twenty-five year PFI (Private Finance Initiative) contract with Onyx before the Waste Local Plan had been approved. And before any one had seen the type of proposals that Onyx might come up with. 

So we have a situation where a 25-year contract had been entered into with no one knowing exactly what they were going to get. In corporate finance terms, that's known as a gravy train. it's one billion pounds over 25 years. The Waste Local Plan has a life - we are told on the Council's website - of 10 years.

So we are dealing with this company called Onyx. Who are Onyx? Onyx are part of an organisation called the Veolia Environment Group. That's a French company that provides a whole range of municipal services right across the world. Closer to home, you might know that they also own a company that we've had association with in the south of England. Before, they owned a company called Connex, the south-eastern rail operator. 

On their website, Veolia say - this is one of their environmental statements - we realise that our every day actions have impacts on the improvement of people's living conditions. We never forget the effects of our business on our employees and our society as a whole, and operate with the common will in mind. Bear that in mind. We allow our managers to assume full responsibility for the decisions they are called upon to make in carrying out their duties and expect them to fulfil that responsibility. You can make your own decision about that later.

Let's just remind ourselves what the scale of the Onyx plan is. We're going to have a Waste Transfer Station - that's a WTS - with a capacity to process 120,000 tonnes of black bag rubbish per year.  So that's whatever you don't recycle. It could be anything. It will be anything. 

We then get a MRF, as they refer to it - a Materials Recovery Facility. They call it a MRF because it sounds like a furry little domestic pet. In fact it's a Materials Recovery Facility and that's where paper, glass, cardboard is sorted, but not tetrapaks.

The buildings will be over 49 feet tall. If we think of the height of the building we are in now which is probably six and a half metres, we're talking about a fifteen metre high building - so a significant blot on the landscape. There's a bit more as well.

They'll operate between 6.30 am and 6.30 pm. And what they say in their Environmental Statement is: that fixed plant and machinery will operate 24 hours a day. And the noise effect will be greatest at night.

No one knows exactly what sort of noise this machinery will make. All the surveys that have been done have been based on experience which Onyx have in other operations or on what they call "despot studies", which means that somebody iun an office has come up with an idea on how many decibels the noise of the operating machinery will be.   

They also say elsewhere in their Environmental Statement that the noise effect will be substantial. If you live in Nettleton Court or Dudeney Lodge or Princes Road or just along here in Ditchling Road or if you live in Upper Hollingdean Road facing the site, you can expect that the noise from the site will be substantial.

Traffic movements: Gus has already touched on this. There will be 242 CityClean two-way trips a day. These will be going from The Hollingdean Depot and back to the Waste Transfer Station or to the Materials nRecycling Facility. Interetingly, when we were talking about noise, by the way, from where we're sitting now, the Waste Transfer Station will be furthest away from this building. And in that building will be one of the recycling operations where glass is taken. And the reason why glass is going to be taken there, is because Onyx recognise that the noise from that operation will be substantial. So we get 242 Cityclean two-way trips a day, and we get 66 Onyx 4 tonne trucks making two-way trips a day.

It's worth remembering that the Brighton Hollingdean Depot was opened in the 1890s for Brighton. It was just for Brighton. It wasn't for Patcham or Saltdean or Rottingdean. They weren't even part of Brighton then. What's going to happen now is that site is going to have to absorb the waste of Brighton, Hove and Portslade - Rottingdean, Patcham  and Saltdean as well. And whatever anybody tells you, Onyx have it in their plan the option to bring waste in from outside the area as well. They are quite specific that they want waste to come in from the west of Lewes District Council area. Onyx say in various parts of their submission - there are about ten volumes in this planning submission, though we have read it. These are terms which come up quite frequently in it. That the plan will be absolute, adverse and substantial. You can make your mind up what you think that implies for us. While we're talking about that, we might as well talk about traffic.

Have no doubt about it. The traffic impact of this scheme - both Cityclean and Onyx - is absolutely major. Huge. The Cityclean fleet - this is the Cityclean fleet for the whole of the city of Brighton and Hove - has now been relocated to the Hollingdean Depot. So that fleet now already operates from there. Onyx say that they will manage their fleet to minimise the impact on traffic. So the effect of that it that they will say that their vehicles won't be going out during busy periods. They'll hold them back. And Onyx will only use Hollingdean and Upper Hollingdean Roads. The reality of the situation is that they will be left with a huge tailback of traffic if they're not going to use the road during the rush hour.

So what will it mean? Onyx and Cityclean will be using the road. Hollingdean Road is one of the major cross-town routes. I suggest to you that it's one of three major cross town routes. The three routes that a driver can take across town to conveniently get from east to west. One is obviously on the A27. The other one is the coast road. And really, the only other one is through Hollingdean Road, Ditchling Road, Fiveways, Preston Drove. So one of gthe major cross-routes for the town is going to be subjected to even more traffic.

And then there's the railway bridge.  Well, we all know the railway bridge.  The bridge is owned by Railtrack whio say that most of the damage which is done to their bridges is done by waste collection vehicles. If the bridge is damaged or hit, then rail road networks in the area are not allowed to operate. Everything comes to a halt. Railtrack has said that they require major works to be done at the bridge in order to minimise damage to it. In effect, what that will probably mean is that they will only allow one lane of traffic going through at a time, which will probably also mean that they'll be traffic lights either side of the bridge in order to control that.

What about pedestrians? Nobody's talked about them really. There are other peak times in the day. They are not just the rush hour when people are going to work and coming home. There are other peak times when kids are going to school and coming home. There are times when people who live in Hollingdean want to go down to Lewes Road to the shops or to go about their daily business. And the major fact is that Onyx's 44 tonne juggernauts will be going past people's front doors within about 5 feet. So what will happen to pedestrian access safety? We contest that Hollingdean and Upper Hollingdean Roads are already overloaded with traffic. Any increase on whatever scale is totally unacceptable. And the access problems for the large vehicles that Onyx plan to use will be a major road safety hazard. We should be looking at reducing traffic in Hollingdean Road, not increasing it.

We were getting into heavy water here.  We didn't really fully understand the full implications of the traffic impact. Onyx has a consultant. They have an office in High Holburn. That was an expensive consultant. We needed a consultant. We needed more information. Well, we got one. We got a professional architect's modeller to produce for us the only bridge model you'll ever have seen of the bridge in Hollingdean Road. And also we've got a model of the Onyx lorry that will be using it. And we also got a Travel Report by a Traffic Consultant with over 30 years experience worldwide in the transporting of hazardous waste.  

model of bridge

We're going to take a look now at the model of the bridge. This is to scale. The truck is to scale. The cars are to scale. This is probably the first model of the Hollingdean bridge that's ever been made. Here you see it. An Onyx vehicle going through between every 5-11 minutes. You can see from this that the idea that Onyx have that the flow of two-way traffic won't be interrupted is utterly false. [Laughter]. You have to ask yourself what will happen to pavement access and pedestrian safety in these circumstances. Rather deftly on the drawing that Onyx has submitted - we've got a copy of it here - they show that one of the footpaths is not there. It's actually the footpath which takes about 80% of the foot traffic. 

They're also talking about putting in a bike lane. [Laughter]. Yea. The plan would be that they would remove the path which is on the - as you are going down from our end - the left hand side - the one that's most commonly used. So what is unacceptable is the overintensification of traffic on this route. It's just totally unsustainable.

It will also have a massive negative  effect on our part of town and will just contribute to decline and degradation of the area. So do take a look at this after. You'll be surprised and amazed at the proportions. One of the things about our consultant's report. We actually went and did this on the street. We stood on the road. We stood on the pavement. And he was amazed at what the drivers of these trucks would have to do. In order to get round the Vogue Gyratory they would be blocking three lanes of traffic. To get round from the Vogue Gyratory into Hollingdean Road, they would probably have to go on the pavement or certainly go into the lanes of oncoming traffic down Hollingdean Road. And when they get to the bridge, clearly there's going to be a major obstruction.

So we're very pleased with our consultant's report and we're very pleased with our model because we think we've demonstrated something which Onyx have chosen to ignore. [Applause]  I really would like to thank Sarah and Ron for what they've done there. It's fantastic. 

So while we're talking about traffic, let's talk about pollution. A large part of Brighton has now got an AQMA - I'm sure you know what that is. Actually, it's an Air Quality Management Area. Now we've got a map of that. Here it is. I'm afraid it's not going to come out very well. It came off BHCC's website. If you follow the red dots, out little bit of this area is up here. And the shaded area - this is the AQMA. This area has been designated - and there are a number of these sites around the country -  where it's considered that air pollution - usually traffic pollution -  is of such a significantly high level that special measures need to be taken in order to control it. Our little bit of Hollingdean Road is here and you will see, if you can pick out the detail, that it conveniently finishes at the bridge in Hollingdean Road. But nevertheless Hollingdean Road is an area that does need whatever attempts are made to improve the air quality. The idea is that over the next couple of years, once monitoring is finished, that measures are put in that improve the air quality. There'll be things like walking and going by bike. Onyx apparently can't use bikes to transfer this waste so they'll still be bringing in their big trucks. But the reality of the situation, without being too sarcastic about it, is the fact that we have a ludicrous situation where - this is an amazing contradiction. We have a big increase in residential population around the area which is affected by this AQMA. This is a contradiction that we're going to also introduce more traffic of the HGV variety, which is going to have a significant impact on people's lives.  

Just consider the increase in residential accommodation around Hollingdean Road. There are new apartments in Hollingdean Road opposite the old garage. There is new accommodation in the old Power Station at the bottom of Hollingdean Road. In Freehold Terrace, there are new apartments that have been built. There are plans to build flats on the old (Esso) garage site in Hollingdean Road. There are new flats already being built at the Vogue Gyratory adjacent to the Bear Pub. Then in Lewes Road of course you've got more residential accommodation at the bottom of Coomb Road. There are plans to build more residential accommodation on the old army barracks site. So this whole area is becoming increasingly residential. And increasingly polluted.  

There is already evidence from people who live in Hollingdean Road that there's an increase in respitory illness in the area. So what we're getting is a huge intensification of industrial activity as a result of the Onyx plans for the Hollingdean site. There are major problems which come from this, as I've said, with respitory illness and so on. You don't have to take our word for that. It's a bit difficult to see, but actually there's a document - there's 191 pages of it actually - there's a document from The World Health Organisation and it's called The Effects On Children's Health and Development of Air Pollution. And what this concludes is that the accumulated elements indicates that children's health is adversely affected by air pollution levels currently experienced in Europe. It's strongly recommended  that children's exposure to air pollutants be reduced, particularly with regard to traffic-related pollutants. So you wonder if our planners are reading the right books.

We believe - our understanding of the principles laid down for huge developments such as a plan for Hollingdean is pretty good. We've got a good grasp of the planning guidelines such as the Proximity Principle, the best practice of Environmental Option, the waste hierarchy. And when Onyx state'the social and community benefits that our plan has'  - it's confined to two vague paragraphs about employment potential and the provision of an educational resource. I forgot to mention that there's a visitors' centre. On a wet Sunday afternoon [laughter] take your kids down there. Things to do with old black bin bags. [laughter].

There's been no attempt to carry out any sort of community impact assessment of this scheme, although there will be some bat boxes in the trees. No full risk assessment has been carried out. "It's not necessary", we were told. I wonder if they told the people in Hatfield that about the oil  refinery that went up. And there's been no health impact assessment. Given that the proposed site is on the edge of an Air Quality Management Area and all the other things to consider such as contamination of the environment, foul odours and so on. There's been no confirmation to School Governors that their responsibility's enforcable at law for which they can be surcharged could be  compromised. No discussion with local residents until Dump The Dump pushed them to have a public meeting. And no real understanding of the totally negative effects and degrading consequences of their plans. 

So why do we need to be concerned? Because those who are supposed to be looking after your best interests, are already sold on the Onyx plan.  In an article in The Argus in July 2005, the chief executive of BHCC stated "we need the new Hollingdean Facility". So much for an impartial planning authority. Then don't rely on the local NHS Trust either. Their reply to questions asked by the local planners were incredibly complacent. They took no notice of the AQMA designation and seemed to be breathtakingly ignorant of the consequences of the plan. I have a copy of their letter here. It's a publicly accessible document. Absolutely stunning. Our campaigning group has read all of the documentation and we think we have a good grasp of this situation. 

So where are we now? Well, we know that Onyx will be submitting a new planning application to the Council. Well, we've just 21 days to object to it. 21 days to read it, understand it, visit the site, ask questions, and get your objections in. Because all of the letters originally submitted, as Gus has already said, will be invalid. It will be a new plan with a new planning application number, so you've got to write again. As a campaigning group, we're going to have to read the documentation thoroughly and consider our response. In that article that I mentioned in The Argus when the Chief Executive of BHCC contributed to the debate, he said: "I notice that the campaigners don't suggest a viable alternative". Maybe we have other ideas - ones that take account of the impact of a major development on the members of a residential community. And plans and ideas which fully comply with the guidelines that the government inspector referred to. Plans which take into account the health impact of the scheme that will have a major effect on our community, that BHCC have chosen to ignore. Ideas also that commit to involvement and participation such as community scrutiny. To appraise the impact  of a major development such as that proposed by Onyx. We need to be on our guard for this new Onyx plan. There are too many interests involved to let it go by without fully understanding its implications. We have amassed a whole load of information about the existing planning application. And we plan to submit our own document to BHCC about the revised planning application that Onyx submit. It would be unwise for  us now to tell you what's likely to be in it, but nevertheless that document is in preparation and will be submitted on your behalf. But what makes a big difference, is that you make a difference. Your letters, your turning up at meetings particularly on cold nights and your protests. Badgering your Councillors, writing, emailing, phoning, Kicking up a stink. If it had not been for what you have done so far, the construction of the Onyx dump would have begun.  We need to continue to have your support, your anger and your courage. Thanks for listening [Long and loud applause].

David Lepper:  David Lepper, Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion. Can I just congratulate everybody involved in the campaign because work upon thet site would be under way now but for this campaign. And the other good thing about the campaign is that it has sought a number of other related campaigns as well. It does seem to me that our focus has got to be further on saying: this site is the wrong site for this development. Ed's historical account misses out one point, if you don't mind me saying it, and that is: that Hollingdean Depot was not only just dealing with waste frrom a much smaller Brighton urban area. When it was built for that purpose, it was actually more or less on the edge of that urban area. It was not surrounded by houses. It certainly didn't have a school nearby and it was on the edge of the town. And some people disagree with whether there should be a facility like this, an that's a point you can make, but if there is something like this, the place for it is the edge of the urban area. [Applause]  

To answer the woman in the front here about central government, I did take part in the last meeting that this campaign had with the office of the Deputy Prime Minister to ask whether it was possible at this stage rather than when the Onyx plans are on the table to have the plan called in at that stage because of the close connection between the contractors and the Council. Unfortunately, that isn't legally possible at the stage, but once the new planning application is considered, if it doesn't go the way we want, then calling in will be what we have to do.

I think we've got to remain focused on campaigning against this development on this site. Whatever view that people in this room may have about the wider issues of waste disposal, the one thing that we are all agreed on is that this is the wrong thing for this site. We might want to suggest other schemes, but we've got to focus on that. And I think that even though it's important to know the detail of what's in the new planning application when it comes forward, that is important, whatever you're concentrating on tonight, I think the important change: that is the traffic implications. Nobody in their right mind would think of putting that volume of traffic or vehicles of that size to and fro under that railway bridge. I commute regularly from here to London and many people here will commute as well. And how many times has there been a delay in the train on the main Brighton line -  I notice it recently more regularly - because of a collision between a vehicle and a railway bridge?  And we're going to get more of those, if this goes ahead. 

So look at the detail of the new plan, but this remains a constant. They can't do it without having those traffic movements. And that must be a central objection, I think. So congratulations to all involved. I support the campaign. All I plan is to make sure that this plan is not approved, and if it is approved by the City Council then trying to get it called in by the office of the Deputy Prime Minister. [Applause]  

Member of the public: when I drive down Fiveways to the top of the traffic lights to turn left into Upper Hollingdean Road, for years, there's this great big sign which bans heavy vehicles turning left. You go down Upper Hollingdean Road and down under the railway arch. So who has suddenly waved the magic wand to say that this can happen? We can't do it on a day to day basis.

Local Councillor: Can I just answer that? We've had letters about this. This is completely separate from this planning application. People in Hollingbury Road have been getting CityClean vehicles going down Hollingbury Road into the depot. There's no excuse for this. If they're not going down there they tend to be going down Roedale Road. We've been trying desperately to stop them doing that unfortunately the route that's been designated is Ditchling Road. The only drawback was that they couldn't turn into Upper Hollingdean Road by the flats. So that is now being changed and they will widen that corner and the HGVs will be allowed down so they will not be able to go down Hollingbury Road - there's no excuse for them to go down Hollingbury Road or Roedale Road any more. There are a few other improvements to the bus stop - but also Roedale Road - I'm the Councillor for this side of Ditchling Road, The other side isn't my .. For years and years and years, I've been worried about Roedale Road. I don't know if anybody here has visited Roedale Road, but you know damn well that that is a horrendous - it's a wide road - it's a bus route, it's very_ _ _ and the speeds of vehicles there. So what we've now got with this new scheme that's coming in over the next few weeks. They're going to narrow the end of Roedale Road. There's going to be a traffic island at the end there at its junction with Upper Hollingdean Road. It will enable pedestrians to cross more easily, but it will slow that traffic down going in & out of Roedale Road. And this is something we've been after for a hell of a long time and we're finally going to get it. And there are all sorts of other minor improvements. You're going to get a new school plaque and sign in Hollingbury Road and I'm sure you will enjoy that. This is something we've been asking for for a long time and it's got nothing to do with this application.  But nevertheless it does make life a lot easier for us who live in these roads that are ultimately - if it ever goes through and I hope it won't - are going to take the dispersal traffic.  If traffic is backed up in Upper Hollingdean Road to the railway bridge, which it surely will be if you've got lorries like this in that part, it's going to as some of it already does, along Davey Drive, Roedale Road and Hollingbury Road. And that's what we are desperately now trying to prevent. And it's going to get far worse if this ever ever should get off the ground.

Ed Stark: Can I just top up something that Jeanne said about Heavy Goods Lorries. A few years ago, some of you may well remember, there was an issue with Sainsbury's servicing their store in Lewes Road by coming through here.  And they had to agree to not use the Fiveways access for servicing the Lewes Road store, which they've generally done. Something to watch out for regarding HGVs. You may have heard it on the radio this week. The supermarket chains where they exist in town centres currently have a restriction on when they can service the stores. So they can't come before 6am and they have to finish by 8pm.  They are saying that this makes their store operations difficult and what they're asking the government to do is to set aside those __ so that the folk in Princes Road or Hollingdean Road - they could be having Sainsbury's trucks going past their doors all day and all night. So there's all these covert traffic intrusions that you need to be aware of.

Ed Stark: This is a question for you Jeanne about the way you voted on The Waste Local Plan. What Jeanne did was to abstain rather than vote against. And we'd be interested to know why.  And we'd also like to have your assurance that we can have your support.

Jeanne Lepper:  You've got my support. I'm glad to have the opportunity to talk about why I abstained. I'm probably the only Councillor who is a local resident affected by this. So I'm not just here as a Councillor. I'm here as a local resident. And you know that I oppose it. And you know that I'm going to __ my Council to stop it and that's through the planning process. 

And I've always said all along that this is far too important - there is too much at stake for our kids - and in my case grandchildren - to play Party Politics with. And I've always sought to keep that out of this campaign because it should be a united campaign. We don't want this facility here and that should be our focus. And I regret a leaflet that's gone round misrepresenting myself and my colleagues on the Council accusing us of sitting on the fence and not really being dedicated to fighting this facility.  Well, I live here and I can assure you I am. 

But what did I abstain on?  Well, it was an amendment to agree - and I've actually got it, you know,  I brought a copy of it because I thought this would come up. It was to agree that the induction of the Waste Local Plan is delayed to allow time for a Waste Local Plan public inquiry. To be reconvened for further investigation as follows. And then it goes on to talk about _ _. Now the Waste Local Plan modifications which I have here. I was being asked to sort of vote against. But there are things in here which are going to be very useful to me as a Councillor when I go to planning to ask them to turn this down. And was I going to vote agianst it? So it's not on the table for me use the processed planning application. No. It says here, and this is on the specific allocation. Five locations have been identified as having the potential to accommodate such facilities. That's sites for Material Recovery Facilities and Waste Transfer Station. And two of them are in the western area that we are in. In the western part of the plan area, sites at Hangleton Bottom and Hollingdean Depot have been identified.  Hangleton Bottom is located within the Sussex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, although it has become physically isolated from the majority of the AONB to the north due to the development of the adjacent A27 Brighton bypass.  This is the clincher. It is well positioned in respect of access having been located adjacent to the interchange to the A27 and the Hangleton link road. That's what I'm going to use for planning. I don't want to get rid of that. Then it goes on to talk about Hollingdean Depot which I don't agree with. It says that the site is centrally located in Brighton and Hove. The advantage of this site is that it is already licensed as a Waste Transfer Facility. And it says that redevelopment within the boundaries _ _ should be able to accommodate a strategic MRF. Well, I disagree with that so I'm not going to vote for a Waste Local Plan which says that, but I'm not going to vote against. But then there is a really useful sentence, which I would urge you all to quote in your objections. It says it would be able to accommodate this MRF provided the amenities of nearby residents are fully safeguarded. The local road network may limit the total capacity of the facilities provided there - oh what a gift! - I'm not going to get shot of that so I'm not going to vote agaisnt it , but I can't vote for it because it mentions Hollingdean. So I abstained. I think that's quite sensible. Now we come onto the reamendment - that I've been told off because I didn't support. If the reamendmend had proposed to get rid of the Hollingdean Depot site that would have been another thing. But the only site it mentions is Mountfield Mine as a primary waste treatment site - that's somewhere in East Sussex - I'm not sure where -  I couldn't vote for it. So I abstained. That is the reason, and I think I was right to do so, and I'd abstain again. 

Graham Ennis (Omega Institute Brighton): Hello. My name's Graham Ennis and I'm running 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

But, you won't hear any of this from Council officials or from Onyx. So hopefully, you'll hear bits of this from me. I'm going to be very brief.


It costs several million pounds a year plus  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 - and I by the way am Labour not Green - 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.

Ed Stark: It's about influencing the members of the planning committee because they're the people who will make the decision. And as Jeanne's  just pointed out, the people to really write to are those individual members on the planning committee, because they're the people who will make the decision. Get letters to them. The names are on he leaflet and they're on the website.

Gus Garside: Just to reiterate that it's absolutely vital that not just people present today but everybody you know who is interested in the campaign   if they use the Internet to get their email details to the campaign, so that the email goes out to everybody when we become aware that the application comes in because we'll have 21 days to object and if we fail, then it will get built.

Diana Leech: Ho there. My name's Diana Leech and I actually live on Princes Road. First of all I want everybody in this room to put their hands together to thank every single member of Dump The Dump. [Applause]  The only reason we're still talking about it, and the Council have not actually agreed to this, is because of what has actually been done so far. that was started almost a year ago with a small group of people. Well, thank you very much indeed for all the work you've been doing. 

Secondly, it was very interesting yesterday - and Ted is here as well actually  who also lives on Princes Road. Now what happened yesterday. Ted and I yesterday afternoon were sitting in the public gallery  at the planning application. Why? Because in our road - this is the second time it's actually happened - a developer wants to buld a 21-unit block of flats. Where? At the bottom of Princes Road and overlooking Hollingdean Depot. Now, this is the second time that he's actually done this. And I can't imagine, why would anybody want to live overlooking the Hollingdean Depot in spite of everything that's potentially going to be planned there. 

Well basically the developer doesn't care a damn because he's only interested at the end of the day in making profit. 

Now what happened at the planning committee is that we all saw on a very small scale what's actually been happeneing here, wrote our letters of objection. You have three minutes to actually state your case and three minutes is a very short period of time. So basically we did all this. And we did it incredibly eloquently. And it was unanimously refused. So I want to say to everybody in Princes Road. Thank you. [Applause].

The question that I've actually got is. Yes. we know the Council do not have a plan B. We know that because they admitted it. There is no plan B. The plan is Hollingdean Depot and that is it. Right. Now what happens with a planning application that is so fundamentally going to effect everybody. Not just in this area, but further afield actually. The decision is going to be made at the Planning Committee. Now that puts an incredible amount of pressure on a very small group of people. Twelve people. Well the Council has got a serious ulterior motive for this, because if they do not have a plan B, then what is going to happen when a planning committee say "No". What is going to happen then if they do?  But what I'm saying is that we've put out letters of objection and there's 100 people in this room. Now each and every one of us knows at least ten people do we not. Potentially. It's called networking, We go away and we talk to people who are not at this committee meeting and tell them what is actually happening. Tell them what we need to do. Because the reason why we've got a second application in, is to try and discard those 3,000. It is embarrassing for the Council to have 3,000 letters objecting to a planning application that basically they believe would not actually have any major implications here. So what everybody in this room must do is to go away and talk to your neighbours. Get them informed. It doesn't cost us money to get other people informed. [Applause ] I don't know if that question can be answered: what happens if the planning committee say "No"?

Gus Garside: This is the letter from the Area Health Primary Care Trust.  Such compacent as: "Test scarried out conclude that there is no significant risk to __". Noise: " Noise arises from increased traffic to the MRF sorting process and WTS activities is unlikely to be significant because they're going to fit low-noise reversing alarms to their trucks". [laughter]. Air quality. We're talking about air quality in terms of nitrogen dioxide particles in the atmosphere. The terms of mitigation they use. This is the Area Health Authority. This is Dr T Scanlon, the acting director of public health: "The government inspector stated that health should be a material fact in the Waste Local Plan." And I think I'm right in saying this, but the Local Authority chose to ignore that. So that health is not a material fact in The Waste Local Plan. So health indications do not figure in it. [Do not matter in the Waste Local Plan?] Absolutely, yes.   

Keith Taylor: Hello. I'm Keith Taylor. I'm the convenor of the Green Party Councillors. I'd just like to pick up on something Ed said. And something which makes opposition to this scheme a bit of a no-brainer for me. Ed has been talking about AQMAs and we're talking about nitrogen dioxide particulants. These are really nasty noctious substances that really mess up people's respiratory systems. Last year, 34,000 people died prematurely from the effects of airbourne pollution mainly from traffic. 

We see where the AQMA is, and what Ed hasn't mentioned, although I'm sure he's aware, having read it as thoroughly as us. Actually, the air pollution impact study that Onyx prepared, actually said: it is likely the area of the AQMA will be extended onto this site. And so when I came here, the other day with the Independent, we looked down and we saw just how close that was,  well I thought how can any responsible Local Authority allow an AQMA with all those particulates to be in a children's playground for God's sake. It's a no-brainer and that's why we've got to do everything we can to stop it happening. And certainly, we will be 100% behind you. 

Cllr Pat Hawkes: Very briefly. The pair of us (she & her colleague) have got a letter of objection in. And as soon as we read the new application, we will renew our letter of objection on behalf of our constituents, even though both of us live in Coldean. Diana's point is very important that as many letter go in, and please do target the members of the planning committee because they all like to say that they are independent thinkers. They do not take any Party line. And sometimes their voting is obvious. I thought that 11:1 stopping the mobile phone mast in Coldean. So your 3 minutes is valuable. So Jeanne or I will be speaking. They won't let two of us speak at the time. But _ _ exactly the same thing as Diana was saying. We must target them.

Des Jones: I'll try and be quite brief. Des Jones. I am a dustman. I work for CityClean - our old mates over there. There is a genuine consensus of opinion amongst our management that this building is going to be "a done deal"  and it's permeated through the work force - when I talk to people in the canteen. It's a done deal. It's going to go ahead. They say it's going to go ahead. Our management are fanatical about this - to get it pushed through. 

In my opinion over that they are trying to do too little too late. All this about the recycling, it should have been started about 15-20 years ago and it should have been sorted out. [Applause]. Instead, we have had various firms. You can't blame everything on this management because this CityClean is pretty recent. Before then you had ___ , you had Ecoverde. You can blame in some way competitive tendering for this. No one has been there long enough to actually sort the mess out. But management are in a bit of a panic down there to get things done. They've taken a hard line with the workforce in some cases. There has been industrial tribunal cases - one of them which has been won recently  by a member of the workforce. 

However, they're trying to get these things done. And most people down there think it's a done deal. They haven't really thought it through. I mean, for instance, with all these big lorries coming up, with how are our normal refuse vehicle, roadsweepers, recyling vehicles. How are we going to cope with all these big lorries on the roads? We won't be able to cope. The recycling vehicles that we've got at the moment are totally inadequate. They don't even take cardboard. They're supposed to recycle cardboard, but anything that's bigger than a shoe-box won't go. We have to take it.  My crew. We pick up between 12 and 17 tonnes of rubbish per day, which is slightly an increase on what we were picking up before this recycling ever started. So that's my point. Thank you very much. [Applause]

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This page was last updated by Ted on 13-Mar-2023
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