Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gilberdyke landfill site ordered to stop taking waste

Today the Environment Agency issued a notice to stop any more waste entering the Gilberdyke Landfill site; this as a result of the operator City Plant Ltd still not complying with its environmental permit. As from 13th February 2012, waste cannot be brought on to the site until the level of waste in the landfill has been reduced to those set out in the permit.

The operator will also have to demonstrate to the Environment Agency that there is sufficient capacity left in the site to start taking in waste, once the level has been reduced. They will then have three months to reduce the site to the agreed levels.

A decision has not yet been made about City Plant Ltd.’s application to increase the annual tonnage limits on the permit from 70,000 tons per annum to 200,000 tons.

The visual height of the landfill is the responsibility of East Riding of Yorkshire Council as the local planning authority, and just last week the Council has took the first step to enforce a height reduction on the site, by formally requesting from the tip operators a timescale for bringing the height to the permitted level. A response is required by 2nd February 2012. Unfortunately at around the same time City Plant Ltd submitted a scoping request to the Council to regularise the height of the tip at its present level, this serves to delay the process.

I have little sympathy for City Plant Ltd – they have put the local communities through the mincer with foul smells, dust, mud, litter and intolerable amounts of HGV movements. The Company has played the system, by cynically and deliberately tipping quantities of waste far in excess of allowed annual quantities and at heights above double what is permitted - then submitting a retrospective requests to the EA to increase the annual tonnage and a scoping request/planning application to the ERYC to increase the tip height. But as with most things – what goes around comes around.

Although this is not the end of the matter, the Environment Agency has demonstrated it has the teeth and is prepared to use them. It is now up to City Plant Ltd, they have to come up with a realistic and acceptable plan or they will tip no more after 13th February 2012.

Environment Agency regulatory officer Matthew Woollin said: “It’s important that we control the amount of waste at the site because we issue the permit based on a set figure to protect the environment. We understand the community’s concerns and we are working hard to resolve this issue.”

To get to this stage has taken a great deal of patient work by a number of people over what seems like an eternity, and I know that residents have complained that nothing had been happening, but today we see the result. Many thanks go to Newport Parish Council and Chairman Roy Hunt in particular, residents of both Newport and Gilberdyke who never gave up the fight, and the local EA officers who have made this important step possible.

City Plant Ltd has two months to appeal against the Environment Agency notice.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Proud to be elected as the Chair of the new Goole & Howdenshire ‘Community Partnership’

This week I was delighted to be elected as the unpaid Chair of the new ‘Community Partnership’ for the Goole, Howdenshire, Snaith, Airmyn, Rawcliffe and Marshland area. Representatives from all the Town and Parish Councils, and those from the partner organisations including the Police, Fire Service, Health and the Voluntary Sector) were entitled to vote.

Many will recall I was the first Chair of the Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team (LAT), which was the first LAT in the East Riding, and widely acknowledged as being one of the most effective. I was very proud of what the public service partners and the voluntary sector achieved by working together during my tenure as Chairman, but we were just getting started, and there is so much still to do.

The Community Partnership is a continuation of the previous Local Action Team (LAT), but also brings together under the same umbrella the previous Police and Partners Community Forums and the 3 Neighbourhood Action Teams which operated in the area. The Partnership’s role will be in local problem-solving, addressing issues of concern to local communities, as well as crime reduction and liaison between the police and the public.

The Community Partnerships will fulfil this function by :

1) Focussing on local problem-solving and adopting a multi-agency approach to solve local problems in their communities.

2) Providing a first point-of-contact for town and parish councils, and partners, for the full range of issues relating to the local area and providing the necessary linkages with partner services relevant to issues within that locality.

3) Providing ‘triage’ or ‘initial signposting’ to the appropriate partner service provider for requests for service or complaints and retaining those which are appropriate for consideration by the Community Partnership where multi-agency involvement is required. Other issues will be referred directly to Ward Members or partner services.

4) Representing and engaging with local communities while communicating LSP priorities, and developing objectives and priorities tuned to their localities.

5) Acting as an enabler linking local communities with LSP action groups and partners.

6) Working in partnership with the Police to identify crime and safety concerns and agreeing local priorities and contribute towards a reduction in recorded crime and anti-social behaviour.

7) Using a problem-solving approach to crime reduction by developing positive activities and projects that improve the local community, act as deterrents or diversionary activities to potential offenders.

8) Improving engagement and relationships with town and parish councils, engendering a local flavour and the opportunity for the greater development of local relationships and special local knowledge.

9) Working with town and parish councils to support bids for the pilot Parish Grant scheme, and carry out initial vetting and administration of the allocation of funds.

10) Taking the lead in engagement events in their localities and undertaking other public consultation as requested by the LSP Board or Council to increase local participation for a range of issues involving partners to benefit the local community by improving their quality of life and well-being, or where the LSP Board wish to use the opportunity to visit local communities.

11) Supporting parish plans, community profiles and contributing to cluster parish outcomes that are best achieved at a multi-parish level.

12) Providing a platform through which local people can have a voice on decisions which affect them and help resolve local community problems.

13) Involving communities in the planning, development, delivery and quality of local public services.

I believe in allowing town and parish councils and community groups to have more say in things that happen locally, have more powers to deliver services if they wish, and have more input on how money is spent in their villages.

To take forward the Community Partnership will require a great deal of innovation and forward thinking. I feel the members of the team have the skills, drive and enthusiasm to make it work well, and I relish the chance to once again lead the group of public sector and voluntary sector partners, to consolidate what we already have – and to work closely with the town and parish councils, and community groups to build something very good for our area.

So lots of work to do with no payment whatsoever!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beagle Farm plans thrown out at appeal

The Robinson's have a beagle called 'Lou' (pictured above), she is a great friend and very much part of the family.

I am therefore very pleased that a company breeding beagle dogs for animal experiments has lost its case at appeal. The US Company B & K Universal was originally refused permission to expand its facilities at Grimston in the East Riding of Yorkshire by the Council's Planning Committee. This after it sparked public outcry, many letters and emails, and increased security at County Hall on the day of the meeting.

The Company which had been seeking consent to breed up to 2,000 beagles at a time for experiments, has now been told by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles that its application has been rejected.

Great News!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Have Your Say On Gilberdyke, Newport, North Cave & Eastrington to Hull and Goole Bus Changes

A number of people have contacted me regarding the changes to the 155 bus that runs between Goole and Hull announced by East Yorkshire Motor Services, proposed to take effect from 6th February 2012.

The operator says alterations between Goole, South Cave, Gilberdyke, Brough, Hull and York will mean faster journey times and new links.

EYMS consulted hundreds of passengers last year who called for more express buses to Hull and services to Market Weighton and York. After reviewing passenger feedback, EYMS has decided to make changes to the X55 and 155 services to and from Hull and introduce a new service to York, a link to Castle Hill Hospital and extra express buses.

The proposed new 155 bus timetable to run from 6th Feb 2012 can be found here

EYMS is holding drop-in events where passengers can find out more at:

* Brough Morrisons, today, 10am to 2pm.
* Howden Co-Operative, Wednesday, 10am to noon.
* Gilberdyke Memorial Hall car park, Wednesday, 12.30pm to 2.30pm.
* Goole Boothferry Road, Thursday, 10am to 2pm.
* South Cave Town Hall, Saturday, 10am to noon.
* Elloughton EYMS Depot, Saturday, 12.30pm to 2.30pm.
* North Cave Village Hall, Sunday, 1pm to 3pm.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Unfair Sutton Bridge weight limit saga is coming to an end

The long running saga of the Sutton Bridge temporary weight limit is coming to an end. It has been confirmed that the weight limit on the bridge is to expire on Saturday 10th March 2012 and an order has been placed to remove the weight restriction signs, this is planned to take place on the following Monday, 12th March 2012.

This will mean the HGV movements will once again be equalised between all communities, rather than Bubwith, Foggathorpe and Holme on Spalding Moor having to bear more than their fair share as we have seen since the weight limit was imposed to allow maintenance of the bridge.

Congratulations to all residents and the three Parish Councils for their tenacity and hard work to ensure this unfair situation is shortly to be resolved. Please see past blogpost here for full story

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Coriolis Energy tries to move goalposts on Spaldington Wind Farm access

Spaldington Airfield Wind Farm developers Falck Renewables and their agents Coriolis Energy are looking to move the ‘goalposts’ after the Planning Inspector granted them planning consent for a 5 turbine wind farm just outside the Howdenshire village of Spaldington, by submitting a planning application to change the previously approved access to the site. (detail shown on map above)

One of the accusations levelled at Coriolis Energy in the past has been their lack of engagement with local people, and we see that they have not learnt from previous experiences in Spaldington, as we yet again see a planning application with little or no consultation with nearby residents.

The original agreed access route to the site for all "normal" HGV traffic and the abnormal loads (crane & turbine parts) was from Howden along the A614 to the Spaldington Lane junction at Ivy House Farm (water tower), along the whole length of Spaldington Lane to the Boothferry Golf Club and then up the B1228 (Bubwith Road) to the CFS/ITS entrance.

The revised plans now show a change in the route with a new access being created directly off Spaldington Lane, which will have some benefits for one property, plus of course the Golf Club (the owner of which is also one of the landowners on which the turbines are to be constructed), who if the plans are approved, will see very few HGV movements connected with the construction. But interestingly the planned new access is now adjacent to Sandwood House, this being the property of the recent Chairman of the STOP anti-wind farm group who has obviously no interest in the wind farm.

This smacks of being a rather suspicious tactic employed by the developer and the landowner, to minimise the impact that construction traffic will have on the Golf Club. On speaking to a number of Spaldington residents, they think it is nothing more than a cynical ploy to bully and punish the STOP group for standing up to them.

Having studied the hard copy of the application it appears that it is only one property that will be adversely affected by the new access. Almost everyone else would face the same level of construction disruption that ERYC Highways and the Inspector have already found to be acceptable. There will be an increase in the total of HGV journeys to construct the new access road, but I assume this will be relatively small. With the wind farm already approved I think it is likely that ERYC will, unfortunately, look favourably on this application for a new entrance on Spaldington Lane. But having said that there seems to be no reason why the access cannot be moved further away from the boundary with Sandwood House, and I would urge Coriolis Energy to go back to the drawing board and amend their plans accordingly.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tip Operators Look To Heap More Misery On Gilberdyke & Newport Residents

At present City Plant Ltd, the owners and operators of the Gilberdyke Landfill Site have a licence that allows them to input about 70,000 tonnes of waste per annum into the tip. They have recently applied for a licence that, if approved, would almost triple this level to 200,000 tonnes.

I have serious concerns regarding the potential for over filling this site especially when it is clear the height limit has already been exceeded by a considerable amount. I would like to see this tip filled to the approved height and capacity, capped with clay, and appropriately landscaped as soon as possible.

I would therefore urge the Environment Agency to consider the following arguments for rejecting the application:

Currently, waste being deposited at the site is being tipped at heights that are above the limits allowed by both the Environment Agency (EA) and East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC).

It is widely felt that the environmental impact we have seen from moving the waste around the site has a significantly negative effect on the amenity of Newport due to the increase in gases escaping from the waste. I want, as soon as possible, for the site to move to a situation where waste is deposited, left in situ and capped at the correct height. To achieve this will involve waste being moved from its present location above the approved height down to a compliant level, and accept this will generate further smells in the short term. It seems to me that until the height limits are adhered to, it would make more sense to stop the input of further waste onto this site rather than allow an almost three-fold increase.

Whilst it is understood that the EA and ERYC are separate organisations, the EA are aware that the planning application made in March last year stated very clearly that the void, or remaining capacity of the site, was then 104,000 tonnes. From the vehicle counts carried out by residents and the average weight carried by the lorries, it is reasonable to estimate that between 60 and 70 vehicles per day (5 days per week) visit the site carrying an average of between 15 and 20 tonnes (this is a City Plant Ltd estimate). This would suggest that since April between 180,000 and 280,000 tonnes of material have been deposited already. Thus, either the site already has more material deposited than it can hold or the 104,000 tonne figure was inaccurate.

Given the doubt about the remaining capacity of the tip, surely any application to increase waste inputs can only be established after a thorough survey has been carried out to determine any remaining capacity. Again, the threat to the amenity of the villages of Gilberdyke and Newport if it transpires that thousands of tonnes of waste have, at a later date, to be removed from the site, must weigh against the application

I am confident that the EA and ERYC will work together, and this expectation is shared by residents, to ensure that neither organisations’ actions leads to a situation whereby an approval from one authority could negatively impact a condition imposed by the other. Whilst some might understand that the EA works to different rules, the general public is less understanding and would see as bizarre a situation occurring whereby the EA sanction higher levels of tipping on a site that may already be overfull from a planning perspective.

The EA is currently in a position where there are two breaches of permit notices outstanding and there are other problems that they are aware of. Unfortunately, the EA transferred the environmental permit to City Plant Ltd when the EA were aware that the site was in breach of permit. Having lost that opportunity to insist that the site be made compliant before transferring the licence, there is now a second opportunity to withhold approval of this application until the site is made compliant.

If it transpires that the current annual waste input level to the site has already been exceeded, surely all tipping should be stopped until such time as a new licence is issued – This would certainly focus the minds.

Should anyone also like to object to (or support) this application to increase the amount of waste that can be tipped on the site, letters of emails can be sent to the following:

Matthew Woollin
Environment Agency (Willerby)
1 Viking Close
Great Gutter Lane (East)
HU10 6DE
e-mail: matthew.woollin@environment-agency.gov.uk

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Appalling Gilberdyke Tip Problems Given Oxygen Of Publicity

The appalling problems with the Gilberdyke Tip were well and truly brought out into the open yesterday, when we saw the East Riding Mail, Radio Humberside, KCFM, and both local TV News programmes namely Look North and Calendar running the story, which first appeared in the Goole Times last week.

Many thanks to Kevin Clifford, Parish Council Chairman Roy Hunt, and all those who took part in Dave Burns' phone in on Radio Humberside yesterday morning which can be found on the BBC iplayer here (my contribution is at 2hrs 6mins in)

The East Riding Mail is running the story again today and can be found here

I hope the fact that the media are running this story so powerfully yesterday and today will give the required impetus to influence the decision makers into action.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Onward March Of The Machines

People recently travelling along the M18 will not have failed to notice the massive wind turbine towers soaring over Thorne and Moorends – these bladeless monsters are remarkably reminiscent of those large aggressive robotic beasts, terrifying people and attacking communities in the film ‘War of the Worlds’.

Fully functional tri-bladed monsters have already advanced to our western border, where they stand over and intimidate the good people of Airmyn from the far side of the River Ouse, this stealthy advance to our border allowed and approved of by our neighbours.

Somewhat larger second generation monster turbines are already on their way to invade Howdenshire from the south, they plan to march into Sixpennywood, between Gilberdyke and Howden and cast their long shadows over Balkholme, this invasion was approved by the previous government’s appointed Planning Inspector against both the will of the people, and ERYC Planning Committee.

Shortly after we will see a further approved invasion, this time from the north east as the tri-bladed monsters make their way down from the Wolds to settle menacingly above Sancton, spoiling the much valued view of the hills, and no doubt paving the way for further invasions from the north.

It may be that before this advance from the north east is fully realised, we see an approved outpost established just outside Holme upon Spalding Moor, as two huge humming tri-bladed monster centurions are erected to guard the Gallymoor landfill site.

Needless to say a powerful and well-funded invasion on the southern front was halted by a courageous rear-guard stance by the village of Spaldington, who last year went into battle against not one, but two wind farm companies seeking to build giant wind turbines at each side of their small village. To fight this battle the community raised in excess of £80,000 to enable a courageous leader, Barrister Tina Douglas & her team of expert witnesses to be employed, and under this leadership, true grit, fortitude and the British bull-dog spirit shone through, and by putting together a fantastic case at the public enquiry, the result was that one wind farm application was thrown out by the Planning Inspector and the other conditioned in such a way that the turbines will not be able to operate at full capacity because of noise. It was an honour and a privilege to charge over the hill into battle alongside those brave Spaldington warriors.

One would have thought the Spaldington warriors had gone through enough and deserved a break, to lick their wounds, take time to reflect and to recoup their financial losses, but alas warfare is never like that. I received notice just before Christmas that more invaders from the south were on the march, this time planning to bypass Spaldington and group at a place further north towards Holme upon Spalding Moor and Foggathorpe. A letter from RWE npower renewables informed me that they had recently started to investigate the potential for wind farm development on land North of Spaldington around Gribthorpe and Arglam, and that they would be submitting a planning application to the East Riding of Yorkshire Council for an anemometer mast.

The company acknowledges that it is aware of the recent ‘Battle of Spaldington’ and has learnt from it. They have studied those applications, and they are giving careful thought to how their proposals would fit with the consented wind farm. They also state that they are taking into account the reasons for refusal for the Spaldington Common wind farm to ensure they can work with the community and key stake holders to design a wind farm that is suitable for the area. They then purport to recognise the importance and sensitivity of the recent decisions…. Is this the action of a desperate enemy trying to lull us into a false sense of security one wonders? But they will ignore at their peril the fact that the ‘Spaldington Warriors’ are only resting, rebuilding and rearming for any future challenge.

We should also not forget the threat from Goole Fields, for there is also a great army of huge tri-bladed monsters ready and waiting to be amassed south of the River Ouse, and stacked in rows to intimidate us from over the water.

But as in that great ‘Terminator’ movie franchise, the forces for good have been able to capture and reprogram not just one, but two of the tri-bladed machines, adopted and renamed by the Children of Howden, and now working for the good of Howdenshire as they stand proudly over the water treatment works at Loftsome Bridge. With each turn of their mighty blades the water we drink is pumped and purified.

The largest of the tri-bladed machines are to be placed off our coastline, which will hopefully serve to protect and guard us from any 'further advances' emanating from the EU.

My message is, we have to be vigilant, we have the knowhow gained from the ‘Battle of Spaldington’ and we have the determination - but we also have the confidence that the monsters have a lifespan of only 25 years and we can outlive them – just like we can outlive the career of the Climate Change Minister!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Are those lights from a 'piste machine' on a ski slope or just Gilberdyke's Landfill Mountain?

I heard an interesting comment from a Gilberdyke resident over the weekend, “I feel like I’m on a skiing holiday, when every evening I look across to see a piste machine battering the ski slopes of the mountain over there.”

Needless to say he was referring to the lights from the machinery working on the Gilberdyke Tip, which has grown to such heights to be frankly laughable, if it was not so serious.

I recently chaired a difficult meeting of the Tip Liaison Committee when it was confirmed that the tip has recently changed hands and is now both owned and operated by City Plant Ltd, it was also established that the operators had deliberately breached the planning conditions by tipping at considerable heights above the permitted 8.0m level, with the reality being that the company have actually tipped to a level which has effectively doubled the permitted height, and they had recently breached the Environment Agency permit regarding mud on the roads surrounding the site. But most worryingly, due to ‘misunderstandings during the planning process’ the community was now faced with a further two years tipping to fill or perhaps overfill the site rather than the one year envisaged.

The City Plant Ltd consultant, Kevin Wanlass, was asked when the levels of the tip would be reduced to the permitted height; I was very disturbed to have my fears confirmed that instead of reducing the tip height to the permitted 8m level, the operators are likely to submit a planning application to maintain the existing levels. I view this as a disgraceful, deliberate and cynical ploy on the part of City Plant Ltd, and I will be consulting with the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) to take appropriate action to make the height of the tip compliant as soon as possible.

I made it quite clear that I was not happy for anything other than the permitted heights to be met on the site and it was highly unlikely that anything other than this would be supported by the local community.

Fellow community representative and Newport Parish Council Chairman Roy Hunt and I also raised the issue of mud on the roads from the tip, namely Newport’s Leatherdog Lane and Thimblehall Lane, and the many complaints received. It was confirmed that many calls of complaint had been received by the ERYC, the Environment Agency and the Parish Council; it was interesting that one of the tip representatives said it was only muddy on one day; this was robustly challenged and contradicted by Roy Hunt, who confirmed that he’d witnessed and had photographs of mud on a number of consecutive days.

I find the mud on the road to be totally unacceptable, and subsequent to the meeting rode along the roads, and witnessed the crude attempts at wheel washing by the operators. I raised this issue again with the Environment Agency the following week and demanded action. It was later confirmed that on 20th December an enforcement notice on City Plant Ltd was issued for a breach of the permit conditions relating to mud. Failure to comply with the notice by the end of January will be an offence, which I am hoping will spur City Plant Ltd into installing proper facilities as soon as possible to stop the mud leaving the site rather than trying to clean the roads with road-sweepers afterwards. It seems incredible that this site was allowed to continue to operate after the previous facilities were removed with the obvious impact on road users, particularly during wet weather.

The operators have installed gas collection equipment on the tip, including a new gas flare at the site entrance, although very welcome as this should reduce some of the foul stink emanating from the site, the gas flare was installed without planning consent.

Clarification was also sought regarding lorries NOT using the site weighbridge, it was alleged by City Plant Ltd. that all lorries entering the site to tip waste passed over the weighbridge, although lorries bringing material to the site for engineering operations would not as they were not delivering waste. Further clarification was sought on this by the community representatives because of multiple claims that lorries were seen entering and leaving the site without passing over the weighbridge either on entry or exit.

It was established that any complaints from residents about the operation of the tip should be made to the Environment Agency by telephone on 0800 807060.

The issue of site working outside the permitted hours of operation was also raised. I stated that it would be a lot better for the local community if the company could let people know what was happening on the site and what measures they were being taken to resolve any problems. A pro-active as opposed to a re-active approach should be promoted. The Council Planning Officer said that the operators should let the local Council know if they were planning on doing any work outside the parameters of the planning permission. This could then be shared with community representatives and agreement reached before the activity took place.