Activists Expose Cornwall County Council Committing Climate Crimes
Activists from a citizen’s coalition including members of Climate Action, Greenpeace Cornwall, FoE Cornwall & STIG we’re involved in a direct action that saw ‘Recycle Man’ (from the Community Litter Picking Project) scale the side of County Hall in Truro (Cornwall, UK). At 5am (17/01/06) activists climbed the centre of local government in England’s most south-westerly region, before the unfurling of a banner reading ‘No Incinerator in Cornwall, Yes to Recycling, Yes to Jobs’. Recycle Man remained on the roof for 7 hours, whilst at 9am more protestors entered the Council Chambers and disrupted the dirty proceedings.
The activists were raising awareness of how the proposed privately financed incinerator will prevent the County from reaching its 2020 renewable energy targets. SITA, the French company that won the bid (Councillors voted 43/33 in favour of the proposal) to build a carbon intensive centralised Energy from Waste plant (i.e. incinerator) disregarding concerns about climate change. A SITA spokesman said that it would not consider a decentralised integrated energy-waste strategy as this would not be as profitable for the company as a signal mass burn incinerator.
In an attempted cover-up massive political pressure has been in play, in the lead up to the Councillors decision, with an orchestrated campaign of miss-information and threats lead by special interests and some members of the Liberal Democrat led Council. Many traitorous Lib Dem’s showed their true colours and disregarded their manifesto commitments for 60% recycling in favour of a profit making privatisation scheme worthy of New Labour and Thatcherite Conservatism. Providing that once it tastes power, Britain’s 3rd party can’t be trusted on climate change, despite the green rhetoric it extols. Embargos and threats of contract termination have been placed on many of the County’s energy and waste professionals preventing them from speaking out on the subject. Whilst Council documents proving that the planned incinerator is a costly and unnecessary privatisation of a public service, solely motivated by profit, have been classified.
The protesters were highlighting the Council’s failure to live up to its sustainability rhetoric/‘greenwash’ and disregard for commitments it made in the ‘Energy Strategy for Cornwall’ (CSEP, 2004). The Council’s decision prevents any chance that South West England has of meeting its contribution to Kyoto CO2 emission reduction targets as set out in the UK Government’s Energy White Paper (2003).
Advocating a decentralised energy and waste strategy a spokesperson from Greenpeace Cornwall stated that the Council’s decision showed a contemptible disregard for those suffering from the impacts of climate change and the UK’s attempts to meet its Kyoto commitments. Suggesting that an economically viable and sustainable alternative was not only possible but mandated by national and regional policy alike. Such a solution would be locally focused and include waste minimisation, maximised recycling, and combined heat and power (CHP) advanced conversion technologies such as pyrolysis/gasification (a form of Energy from Waste that generates low carbon renewable energy), used in conjunction with compositing and anaerobic digestion.