Sunday, 24 February 2008

Councillor WAGGGOTTT’s words go up in smoke!


Earlier this week I covered the comments of Councillor Paul WAGGGOTTT, Labour leader of South Tyneside Council, who publicly claimed that a waste incinerator would not be built within the Borough, and certainly not within his ward. Let us remind ourselves what he said. Under the Gazette headline “Rubbish incinerator won’t be coming here, vows Council boss” WAGGGOTTT said:

"I will run another campaign if there is any proposal to build an incinerator as part of our joint solution to find a cost-effective, sustainable solution to waste disposal in our area,"

In my original post I offered the view that any decision would be outside of WAGGGOTTT’s control, referring to an agreement he had signed in 2006 together with 2 other Council leaders and 3 other Chief Executives. However, after going through a series of other relevant documents, the case for WAGGGOTTT’s sidelining on this issue is even more damning.

Before I offer the new evidence, here’s a reminder of what we are up against. The “South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Strategy” (STWWMS) is a tripartite agreement between Gateshead, Sunderland and South Tyneside Councils, the aim being to reduce the amount of waste originating from the three Borough’s which finds its way to landfill sites every year. The senior partner in the agreement is Gateshead. Waste from those involved will be disposed of collectively, with a set up budget for the project coming in at £1.6 billion. Whilst the recycling of waste will be further encouraged, 185,000 tonnes will have to be destroyed in some other way. Of the 2 favoured systems, both involve a degree of incineration. This of course, is where the controversy arises – where will it be built?

Below are three further extracts from various Council reports and minutes, showing that in reality the protective arm of Councillor WAGGGOTTT is anything but.

SUNDERLAND CITY COUNCIL
CABINET BRIEFING DOCUMENT: 5TH DECEMBER 2007

EXTRACT: PAGE 4

“Where is the facility likely to be built?
We don’t know yet. But we do know that it will be within the partnership area, because we want to deal with our own waste locally.”

The partnership area is either Gateshead, Sunderland and South Tyneside, and it will be built in one of these Boroughs, as this extract confirms.

GATESHEAD COUNCIL
REPORT TO CABINET
OCTOBER 2006

EXTRACT: APP 1-7

“The Agreement may be used by the partnership to support their respective approvals processes, to confirm their joint approach….and to demonstrate the commitment of each local authority to the South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership.”

Each authority is committed to the Programme and its partner’s joint approach.

SOUTH TYNESIDE COUNCIL
CABINET: 14TH NOVEMBER 2007
ADOPTION OF THE WASTE STRATEGY

EXTRACT: PAGE 5-19

“Due to a significant number of local authority Waste contracts expiring over the coming years, it is expected that Waste Disposal Contractors will be in a position to cherry pick those contracts. If South Tyneside Council proceed independently it is possible that it may be faced with only a limited number of tenderers or very high cost solutions”.


In other words, South Tyneside Council cannot act independently of the others when it comes to waste programmes because it will be too expensive. So regardless of what system is chosen or where it is to be located, the Council must abide by the decision as it cannot afford to go it alone.

The above is just a small sample from a series of documents. What I have not covered are the issues relating to land purchases, finance, consultation exercises and value for money implications. However what is clear from these documents is that all three Borough Cabinets have been looking at this matter in detail for some time now. Decisions have already been made, but not all are in the public domain.

WAGGGOTTT’s claims then should be taken with a pinch of salt and viewed in the same vain as the delayed TOP’S report or the planning applications for South Tyneside’s sea front areas: after the election’s in May, anything goes because Labour councillors don’t have to return to the electorate for another two years.

Now that’s a long time to do a lot of damage!

2 comments:

two down one to go said...

My sentiments totally Peter,this fella will do anything and i mean anything, to retain his laudable position.
Yes they will have two years to bury bad news.

RusRed said...

Peter,

The Incinerator and its proposed sighting is another perfect example of duplicity. Our Knight of South Tyneside has pledged to mount yet another campaign to ensure the Incinerator does not darken the greenfields or even the brownfield sites of his domain.

It is just a pity that he didn't express the same piety when he attempted to ignore the people of Fellgate when he backed the Business Park Project and its siting on land adjacent to their estate. He was so focused on the righteousness of his decision that he failed to see the danger of an estate whose residents had simply had enough of his "I have spoken" tecnique. He was answered at the May 2006 election when a long serving labour ward councillor and colleague (33 years) was dumped and replaced by an Independent candidate who had opposed the plan and made it the plank of his campaign.