Friday, 30 January 2015

Cardiff Council in league with Viridor over Incinerator Ash

Cardiff Council in league with Viridor over Incinerator Ash

Cardiff Against The Incinerator - CATI were alerted over the growing hillock atop the landfill since early January, with excavators, dumper trucks and conveyors working it.
Thousands of tonnes of Incinerator Ash dumped at Lamby Way

Lamby Way tip, worked by two excavators
The Council is now spreading hundreds of tonnes of incinerator grate-ash on the Lamby Way tip, even operating a conveyor in the open it appears, creating clouds of dust.  Of course the Council claim no dust blows off-site, yet a Cardiff University study a few years ago found ultrafine dust from normal landfilled materials.  
 They claim it's not toxic, but the Cardiff University study showed the ultrafine dust to be harmful to human cells. So CATI arranged a visit to the site, questioning the landfill manager and establishing this is bottom ash from Viridor’s. 

CATI’s delegation was taken up to see the operations on Wednesday 28th January.  A large amount of metal is visible in the raw ash, from cans to large pieces from industry.  This despite the requirement on Viridor to separate metal from the ash in their works.

 It’s a large operation – over 200 tonnes per day (10-20 lorry loads) of incinerator ash, still warm and steaming, are coming from Viridor.  The peak day has been 600 tonnes.  This is to continue for 9 months (at least), some 70 000 tonnes.  Despite the requirement on Viridor to recycle all the ash, as construction fill or building materials, the Council is taking the ash and profitting by  £150 000.

Ash screening machine, with pile of wet ash
building mid-picture, the metal and clinker
separated out
Cardiff has brought in a private company to screen metal from the ash; the shaker-riddle and conveyors appear to deal with with only part of the incoming tonnages. The Council say the metal screening is cost-free; sale of the dirty metal pays for the operation, the Council sharing in the profits.

Refusal to allow pictures
Lamby Way’s Manager, Paul McGrath, refused to let us take pictures or samples, despite their being a public body.  CATI considers the Council has a duty to be open and has no right to control photos of what we the public can see.  We’d challenge them – what have they to hide?  If it’s the extent of their collusion with Viridor, then this deserves full exposure.

In this case, we didn’t need to hire a drone to photograph it from above, as the operations can be seen through binoculars and a good camera can take pictures from outside the site.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

High Court Judge rules against CATI

After repeated delays the High Court Judge rules against CATI - we will appeal
There is already a copy available here 

CATI are disappointed that judge Wyn Williams has turned down the application in Pauline Ellaway's name to quash the planning permission granted by Cardiff in February 2013.  Important points are overlooked in the judgement.
Pauline said she'd rather expected a negative judgement from the judge's questioning at the hearing in Cardiff High Court on 17-18 December, adding that she'd preferred the specialist judge who had been first nominated to hear the case.
The lawyers - Alex Goodman plus Richard Buxton Environmental and Public Law firm - advise that the case should be appealed and are putting in an urgent request for continuing funding for the Appeal Court stage.  
That companies could build without planning permission and the public authorities could delay any action to stop the unlawful construction for over six months would be a big hole in planning law if allowed to stand.

The Viridor application has higher status as “EIA-development” and is subject to European planning law.  Breaching this law means the case could proceed to European level.

Granting retrospective permission for much lesser EIA-works, without securing evidence on those works, was quashed recently (HHJ Mackie QC on Padden, 22 Jan’2014) by a High Court judge in England.   

After this start in the Cardiff High Court, CATI are hopeful the case will be won at the next stage.

CATI activities

Activities ongoing 
1.  Complaint to Ombudsman re. Cardiff’s falsification of Planning Cttee decision.
An outline complaint made to the Council is awaiting a reply.
2. High Court case.  Still no announcement of the result.  But another High Court decision quashing retrospective approval of EIA-=development gives us hope the same would apply to Viridor. (see below) 
3. State Aid – application to Europe together with FOE Cymru and SNIC (Newport) to be re-submitted with a strong argument on our ‘interest’ in the case.  Perhaps a Petition on the Assembly website would give it prominance and help win politicians’ support.
4. Objection to Cardiff Council’s Auditor – 
  • the 25-year contract was signed without due diligence, relying on PG’s unqualified personnel and Russell Goodway.
  • the cost is far above best-value levels secured by other Councils £100 per tonne compared with £60-80 per tonne for similar English incinerators (25-yr)
  • Cardiff Officers and Cabinet accepted PG’s excessive waste projections that ignore Cardiff’s target for waste prevention etc. 
  • Cardiff Officers and Cabinet failed to get PG to consider better (cheaper; more flexible)  technologies now available, being adopted elsewhere. 

5. Discharge of Cdn 4 on remediation  13/02600/DCO - Public Consultation
New Notice posted 12 Feb. (date 20 Feb) announcing new late data, extending the consultation time for 21 days from the published date.  The officers have failed to explain data that’s still lacking and  failure to meet promises of Remediation/verification reports .
6. Lorries to the Viridor Site – were they responsible for the death of the cyclist on Toxic Ave?

Another High Court decision quashing retrospective approval of EIA-=development gives us hope the same would apply to Viridor.
The High Court (HHJ Mackie QC) today quashed a planning permission for EIA development granted by Maidstone Borough Council which, inter alia,  authorised the retention of 100,000’s of tonnes of construction waste that had been imported onto land without planning permission in order to form raised fishing lakes: R (Paddden) v Maidstone Borough Council. The importation was having adverse effects on the home of the Claimant including causing groundwater flooding.
The learned Judge found, applying Case C-215/06 Commission v Ireland [2008] ECR I-4911 and R (Ardagh Glass Ltd ) v Chester City Council & Others [2011] P.T.S.R. 1498, that the Council had failed to consider the question of whether there were exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of permission. He also found that in granting permission the Council had unlawfully failed to make reasonable enquiries to try to obtain the factual information necessary for its decision on the application and that officers had failed to report to Members concerns about a proposed condition to deal with ground water flooding which had been raised by the Environment Agency.
James Maurici QC appeared for the successful Claimant instructed by Dechert LLP.

Viridor workers hospitalised after pollution spill

Pollution Event hits Workforce on Viridor’s Waste Incinerator in Warrington
Cardiff people should be warned by the pollution event at Viridor’s new plant in Warrington, says Cardiff Against the Incinerator (CATI).

Viridor workers hospitalised after pollution spill
The emission of very fine dust particles of lime causing irritation to the eyes and respiratory problems led to 17 hospital cases, fortunately not too serious.  This was during commissioning of the plant, though very fine fly-ash particles will be similarly high in lime. 
Max Wallis, on behalf of CATI said:   Viridor’s plant in Splott is due to reach a similar commissioning phase in the next 6 to 12 months, unless the High Court put a stop on it.  Local people need to be warned – these incinerator plants emit as well as fumes much hazardous dust particles that are poorly controlled.
Rob Griffiths (CATI chair)  58 Janet St., Splott, tel 07790 884137
David Prosser (Press) 029 20791993 or 07504 323422
Max Wallis  (Planning/Legal)  07714 163254

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

High Court decision deferred till New Year

The High Court case concluded at 1pm today, with the Judge Wyn Williams adjourning his decision until some time in January.  Yesterday, we had good coverage on BBC Wales and today an article in the Echo:
Barrister Alex Goodman whose acting on behalf of CATI’ Pauline Ellaway told the Judge that Cardiff council had flouted regulations and allowed waste management firm Viridor to build in Splott when it should not have done so.
Dubbing the council’s actions “procedurally inept” he claimed the authority’s reports and consultation process were flawed and that it failed to stop work when it should have.
Mr Goodman said CATI’s “submissions fell on deaf ears because work was allowed to proceed.  No robust action was being taken in respect of development that was continuing apace.” 
Best thanks to our Pauline for staying the course!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

High Court hearing –first day – points advantage for CATI.

Pauline’s lawyer, Alex Goodman, laid out his case for much of today, explaining why Cardiff Council’s repeated delay to enforce against Viridor’s unlawful building work and failing to require retrospective permission was unique in British law.  Then Cardiff Council’s lawyer took 80 minutes, making brash assertions, some obviously in error, and was unable to grapple with the detailed legal points of our side.  The Cardiff Council ethos - assert authority with confidence - to steamroller criticisms.  Tomorrow comes Viridor’s lawyer, rumoured to be costing over £200 000.  
     The Court starts at 10am and is expected to complete the case in the morning – if you can, do call in and support Pauline’s team!

Cardiff council attacked over city incinerator

Authority should 'quash' decisions that allowed to work to start as they were taken unlawfully, hears High Court

The Trident Park Energy from Waste Facility development
The Trident Park Energy from Waste Facility development
Cardiff council must “quash” decisions that allowed work to construct an incinerator to begin because they were taken unlawfully, Cardiff High Court heard today.
In an action brought by Cardiff Against The Incinerator campaigner Pauline Ellaway, barrister Alex Goodman told Judge Wyn Williams the authority had flouted regulations and allowed waste management firm Viridor to build in Splott when it should not have done so.
Dubbing the council’s actions “procedurally inept” he claimed the authority’s reports and consultation process were flawed and that it failed to stop work when it should have.
Mr Goodman insisted CATI’s “submissions fell on deaf ears because work was allowed to proceed.”
“No robust action was being taken in respect of development that was continuning apace,” Mr Goodman said.
Construction of the £185m plant started in July 2012 before planning conditions had been met.
Developers must “obtain consent and then commence works,” Mr Goodman insisted. “It is a simple sequence,” he said.
CATI’s solicitors repeatedly sent letters requesting enforcement be taken.
“Throughout the claimant has taken considerable action to encourage the council to take action,” Mr Goodman said.
“The council has always acknowledged it was unlawful and that the development was at risk.”
Despite this Mr Goodman said the authority allowed work to go ahead.
He claimed Viridor was allowed to report whether anything of archaeological import was discovered during building work – rather than this being the responsibility of an independent body.
And this was done after building work started.
“It is appropriate for the court to quash these decisions, Mr Goodman said.
But Simon Bird QC, for Cardiff Council, insisted the authority had done nothing wrong.
“All substantive information was supplied to the council prior to commencement,” he said.
He dismissed arguments public notices had not been formulated properly.
“There is no suggestion CATI were labouring under any misapprehension over what adverts meant or had any difficulty in responding,” he said.
Outside court Pauline Ellaway said: “The council cannot get away with flouting the law for a mega-company.”
The hearing continues tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

For all CATI supporters on Facebook: 
do please spread invites to this event to your friends
Pauline v Cardiff Council in the High Court

And everyone - please inform your friends of our Days-in-Court, spearheaded by Splott's Pauline "Mrs Incinerator" with leading law firm Richard Buxton's.  Invite them to come and join us at the start on Tuesday 17th (9.30 for photo-shoot/TV) or drop in later  for an hour or so during Tuesday and Wednesday!
And wish us luck!  

letter to Echo
Goodway adds spice to our Case
Russell Goodway signed a £500million contract with Viridor just a week before the challenge in the High Court, with full judicial hearing opening on Tuesday 17th?  I guess Goodway rushed it because it’s likely the Court will judge Cardiff’s planning permission to be unlawful.
Acting quickly to avoid Court Orders is all too common in businesses operating on the margin.  But can Goodway escape so easily when subject to ‘malfeasance in public office’ and ‘due diligence’ tests?
This costly contract gives extra spice to the Court hearing -   give Pauline support and hear her legal team tearing into the Council and Viridor for building without permits!
The law must make big Councils treat mega-companies just like they do small firms who build without approved plans!