Wednesday 30 December 2009

What a waste

In this part of Sussex we face a waste crisis. LibDem controlled Lewes District Council would like to recycle more of its waste than it does. But it's not allowed to. Conservative controlled East Sussex County Council has used its power to limit the amount of recycling that the District Council is allowed to do. Let me repeat that, just in case it is so counter intuitive that you didn't take it in. The County Council is using its legal powers to prevent the District Council from recycling.

Why would this be? The answer is massively obvious if you live here. The County Council is pressing ahead, against united local opposition, with building an incinerator at Newhaven. And for incinerators to be profitable, they need lots and lots of waste to burn. And it has to run at a profit because of course it is going to be privately run - by Veolia. I particularly like the part on the Veolia site where it says "Did you know? In the UK we only recycle 30% of our household rubbish." Not in Lewes - we're only allowed to recycle 27%, because the County Council wants to make sure the incinerator makes a profit. (To be technically correct, it's all to do with credits. The County Council gives the District Council credits for 27% of its waste recycled, but not for more. Which means that, without the credits, it's too expensive to recycle more.)

And there's more. The County Council, having run out of other options, now proposes to use land raise to store all the rubbish it won't let us recycle. It has identified several sites around Hellingly, Halland, a woodland site near Laughton and other places. They don't want to think about anaerobic digestion, for instance, and they certainly don't want to think about recycling more, so they're going to have a jolly good go at wrecking our countryside.

Meanwhile, local Conservative Parliamentary candidate Jason Sugarman provides his own unique spin. Being a Cameron Conservative he has to pretend to be green, so he takes a pop at Lewes District Council: "in the Lewes district ... the Lib Dems have left us with one of the worst recycling results in Sussex". Yes, Jason, perhaps more recycling would happen in Lewes if your friends on the County Council let us recycle more. Perhaps you could have a word with them? But I suspect you're more interested in maintaining a piece of spin of which David Cameron would be proud.

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