25th July 2016  - The lovely man from UBB, he said...

I received a message from UBB on Tuesday to say that the public are not, after all, welcome at Community Liaison Group meetings - and that the meeting that evening would have to be postponed due to insufficient notice for a safety risk assessment if there were a larger attendance than expected. 

I went along anyway to intercept anyone who still turned up - and a number of you did, which was brilliant.  There we met UBB's Ian Barber who introduced himself with a friendly handshake as "the enemy" - he had come along for the same reason at their end... and to see who we were!

The ensuing conversation made two things very clear:

  1. UBB are not going to interface with the public if they can possibly help it.
  2. The only thing likely to divert their course is the actual existence of another plant (i.e. the R4C project) - or perhaps the information that may emerge from the Freedom of Information hearing in September.

What makes me think this?  Mr Barber himself.  This is a man who seems to genuinely believe that incineration is quite a good thing at the end of the day, a man utterly at ease and comfortable with himself and what he is doing, totally relaxed and confident, intelligent and eminently likeable.  I expect he's extremely well paid to bring all this to the job.

Brought in once the project was going ahead, he is the friendly face of Project Javelin... he was able to dismiss the democratic and transparency deficit with "ah well, I can't comment on that as I wasn't involved at that stage"; to dismiss air pollution concerns with "if you want to reduce dioxins you need to ban Bonfire Night" [1]; to dismiss the public's wish to be heard with "do you REALLY think that UBB are going to turn round in a public meeting and say - 'you know what, you're right, we'll do something else'?"; to dismiss the R4C project with "come on now, if someone offers you something that cheap you've got to be suspicious..."

He, and by extension UBB, simply do not live in a world where the concerns of local residents matter.  This will not be news to most of us, but it underlined what we are dealing with.  We are as buzzing insects around their ears.  We are probably more than just flies, or they wouldn't have sent someone of that calibre to meet us.  We are perhaps mosquitoes... which can after all be extremely irritating, even lethal.

Warmest regards to all and let's keep a watchful eye on proceedings. 


[1] See here for a rather different perspective http://ukwin.org.uk/resources/health/dioxins-and-other-harmful-incinerator-emissions/fireworks-myth-debunked/ 

Jojo Mehta