Article by Chris Taylor, StopVeolia.
Veolia has at last announced a date and a venue for the public meeting we’ve been asking for since last November. It will be NEXT TUESDAY, 3 OCTOBER at the GRANDSTAND on Carholme Road, between 6 – 8PM, and the company has promised senior representatives will be present to hear our questions about their proposals. They don’t say we’ll get answers… let’s see.
So why must you attend? What should you ask or do whilst there? And how does this affect your right to object to the scheme? This is a long article, but important. Please read it carefully.
Please attend, take the family, tell everyone you know and all your contacts, knock on your neighbours’ doors in case they don’t see this and don’t know about the meeting, or can’t drive. Seriously, don’t allow anyone not to go because they didn’t know, or couldn’t get there.
It’s important, because you can be sure Veolia will be sensitive to the criticism they received at the planning meeting in February about lack of consultation. You can expect them at the public inquiry early next year to make a big deal about how hard they’ve worked to keep us informed. We know they have really done very little, and what they have done has not been helpful, so they will be hoping this meeting will work well for them.
What that means is they’ll want a very low turnout, so they can say that they held a meeting right up to the deadline for our comments, so as to have the very best and latest information available, and that only a few people turned up – so clearly all our problems and questions must have been resolved already.
PROVE THEM WRONG! Make sure the room is packed. Make sure they have to end the meeting knowing they haven’t answered our questions as they’ve run out of time. Make certain they understand clearly that we are AGAINST their proposals.
What to ask, and what to listen for?
You know the issues. Our MP Karen Lee has given the company a list of 23 questions, many of them quite technical, and be sure we will be pushing Veolia for answers. Veolia have had these questions for four weeks – time for them to give some clear answers!
But ask about NOISE, ODOUR, WIND-BLOWN LITTER, LIGHT POLLUTION. How will these affect you? Are you worried about FIRE RISK? What about LORRY SIZE, WEIGHT, AND MOVEMENTS? And HOURS OF OPERATION? Do you simply feel that this is the WRONG PLACE, surrounded by important and valued green space and residential homes. And perhaps worst of all, WHAT MIGHT THEY DO NEXT? Will the licences they intend to apply for allow INCREASED OPERATING HOURS? Or the acceptance of DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF WASTE?
Listen carefully to their answers. They should be measurable, and able to be checked. So far the company tries to impress us by talking about ‘state of the art’, ‘carefully designed solutions’, ‘our best efforts to minimise…’ etc., etc. Challenge this meaningless language and push for detail of HOW they will do this. ‘State of the art’ isn’t impressive to the residents of Kirkby in Ashfield, who were plagued by flies and foul smells this summer and fear the same will happen next year. Nor to the residents nearby a plant in Derby, very similar to what is planned for Long Leys Road, that was recently destroyed by fire.
We don’t want to hear woolly promises and vague assurances. We need to be told not how they will ‘do their best’ to make things good, we want to hear exactly, and in detail, what they are going to do (differently to Kirkby in Ashfield and Derby) that makes it imposible for such events to ever happen again.
Don’t give up till you get a satisfactory answer. Veolia will try to hurry things along as they won’t want to get into the detail, and will use the excuse that ‘other people must have their chance to speak’. If they’d held this meeting earlier, or attended any of the meetings they’ve been asked to attend, then they would have had more time. It’s their problem, don’t make it yours.
How about your letters of objection?
It’s difficult not to be cynical about the timing of this meeting, just the evening before the deadline for objections (any objection received after Wednesday 4 October will be ignored). Please do not allow this meeting to mean you fail to register your objection!
Here’s what to do. If you have already put in an objection, that’s fine – but there is nothing to say you can’t put in another if anything is said at the meeting that worries or concerns you. If you haven’t, please do so! It’s important the Inspector understands the passion felt by us residents – we know you care, and we need to make sure he knows too. The deadline is Wednesday, but no time is given, so if it arrives before midnight it must be accepted. So email your objection direct to the Inspectorate at firstname.lastname@example.org, making absolutely certain it is timed and dated before midnight on 5 October.
Finally, it’s fair to assume Veolia will read this article. That’s ok – they’re probably expecting us to do their publicity for them anyway, despite the fact that at the time of writing we (the StopVeolia campaign, and the Long Leys Residents Association) have received no communication from Veolia about this, despite many email and other exchanges over the months.
That’s ok, we’re used to their silence. But please make sure next Tuesday evening – 6pm at the Carholme Road Grandstand – is not a silent affair. Let’s fill the room, and make sure the company understands just how much we just want them to go away and do this necessary work somewhere more appropriate.
With thanks – CHRIS TAYLOR