Dear Editor,

Cllr Tim Young (6 Aug) has robustly defended Colchester council’s formal opposition to the Essex Waste Strategy last May when the coalition took control.  Last autumn Colchester’s Cabinet formally opposed the county’s second bid for PFI funding since 2005.  Well done!

Cllr Tina Dopson informed Defra that Colchester did not support the bid.  Our LibDem MP Bob Russell, many opposition councillors and campaigners told Defra and the Minister this, and that many thousands of Essex people have opposed MBT and incineration since 1999.

Since May 2006 waste PFI rules require bids to show that all relevant councils and the public ‘have been consulted and that there is broad consensus’.  Hence the 2008 trick public consultation, widely condemned as misleading.

Colchester rather put a spoke in the last PFI bid by pulling out.  If  we can scupper the bid we will save Essex council taxpayers huge costs and recycle and compost more instead.

Now the surprise news has just hit the headlines (3 Aug) of a third desperate attempt by ECC for costly PFI finance from Government.  This one deftly includes Colchester as one of the councils supporting the bid as a member of the previous Essex waste ‘Partnership’.  Pardon?

The ‘MBT’ plant for 351,000 tonnes a year at Basildon would shred and compost ‘black bag’ waste in massive warehouses, reducing its weight by a fifth.  ECC officers said it may be landfilled or turned into polluting fuel pellets to burn in an incinerator on one of the sites.

Let’s hope Colchester council, our MP and some of us can move fast to inform Defra and the Minister that neither they nor the Essex people support the PFI bid.  These 27.5 year contracts will cost the taxpayers huge sums to destroy our valuable resources.

Yours sincerely,

Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator,
Colchester & NE Essex Friends of the Earth

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