County Council recycling fiasco

The government has called in the county’s plan to build a waste treatment site at Rivenhall – and another Tory flagship runs aground.

Here’s how the story was reported in The Braintree and Witham Times, 20 May 2009:

“Government minister Hazel Blears has backed hundreds of residents who opposed a waste facility being built in the countryside. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has called in the proposal for Rivenhall Airfield, allowing a public inquiry to be held. The controversial waste management site could be binned if a Government inspector backs opponents to the scheme. Essex County Council (ECC) granted planning permission last month, despite only one favourable representation out of more than 800 made during public consultations. A letter sent on behalf of Mrs Blears to ECC said: The Secretary of State is of the opinion that the application is one that she ought to decide herself because she considers that the proposal may conflict with national policies on important matters.”


  • The Tories have spent years advocating 2 big waste treatment plants as the way to deal with waste in the future
  • They have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in real money and in officer time in pursuing this policy and the taxpayer will now have to finance a public enquiry
  • They have ridden roughshod over the objections of local people and local councils and opposition parties, led by the Lib Dems, who have campaigned for a change of policy
  • This is a flagship policy of the Tory administration, now in shreds, and it’s left the Tories pushing plan B, which is essentially the Lib Dem view that if the county gives financial incentives to boroughs/districts to increase recycling, there will be no need for big treatment plants. The Tories are now doing this and Rochford, for example, has increased its recycling dramatically
  • This is evidence that the Tories are incompetence and incapable of making major decisions
  • The whole life of the contract is worth around £5billion


Where would you hide if you were David Amess?

You might be interested in this story from The Echo

MP David Amess ran from the Echo to avoid questions after his expenses showed he claimed the maximum of £400 for food every month for the past four years.

The Tory MP sought refuge in a hairdressers’ as he tried to duck the issue.

He eventually made his escape when a car arrived at the salon in Westcliff and drove him away, with Mr Amess hiding his face behind a leaflet.

The Southend West MP’s extraordinary actions came after it emerged he claimed the maximum £19,000 on expenses for food over the past four years.


Yes, this is us …

We thought we would comment on the Conservatives’ latest leaflet in Rayleigh North.

It starts with the dramatic headline “LIB DEM SPIN MACHINE KICKS INTO TOP GEAR”. Ahem – we don’t have a ’spin machine’, just a few volunteers …

But then it gets into more serious stuff – regarding the Park School site. They are claiming that it’s a ‘Lib Dem Housing Legacy’. Oddly enough, they don’t mention that back in 2001 they were 19 Conservatives on the District Council, 9 Lib Dems, 8 Labour and 3 others. Did the Lib Dems have some kind of supernatural powers to impose their will on the majority? No wonder they seem afraid of us!

Here are the minutes of the meeting that originally allocated the land for development back in 2001.

To be quite clear about this the proposals were supported by the leaderships of the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems. In our opinion, they were wrong – there’s been too much building here. Chris Black was the only district councillor at the time to oppose.

Lib Dem Councillor Sylvia Lemon was seriously ill in hospital.

Ron Oatham, Chris Lumley , June Lumley and Jackie Dillnutt weren’t district councillors then.

Stephen Castle was a County Councillor – and could have had some influence. But when Chris Black asked him on the phone before the meeting whether he could quote him as being against the proposals, he said “No”.

But those decisions are history now. What about the future? The Conservative leaflet says about future housing “We have even discussed joint tactics to stop it”. Trouble is, that isn’t really true. We hardly ever see Cllr Castle. We’d have loved to sit down with him and discuss future tactics. If he has been against more housing along Rawreth Lane that’s good – but he’s kept that awfully quiet. This year Chris Black has been in something like 18 hours of meetings and discussions with Conservative District Councillors on this housing – and not once did the Conservatives even mention Cllr Castle’s views.

And what about the Olympics? Their leaflet says he is doing a ‘fantastic job’. Well, we know Cllr Castle is very interested in sport, and that’s great. But maybe he should just stay involved in Sport England, and let someone from Rayleigh do the less glamorous role of being a County Councillor.

Which brings us to the final point. Their leaflets have still not given Stephen Castle’s correct home address on Canvey – they misleadingly keep using the Tory office address in Bellingham Lane.

And what’s more their latest leaflet describes him as “Stephen Castle – the local choice”. But calling him “local” is a lie – and the Rayleigh Conservative Association should be ashamed of themselves.