It was a short meeting last night – only lasted 45 minutes. There were 26 Conservatives sitting in the the main part of the council chamber , and only two of them spoke – Terry Cutmore and Jeremy Thomass.
The council agreed to push through with a “stronger leadership’ model for the council, which means that the council leader is appointed for 4 years and he picks his own cabinet. This was opposed by Chris and Ron, but we lost the vote.
Meanwhile Chris also got answers from Terry Cutmore re the West Rayleigh Sewage Works:
Transportation of Human Digested Sludge on uncovered road vehicles
1. Does the Leader of the Council share my anger on hearing complaints that human sewage cake is still sometimes being transferred to the West Rayleigh Sewage works in uncovered vehicles?
?I am very concerned that this practice has been allowed to continue and consider it totally unacceptable that the lorries are not covered. I have previously asked officers to review all available options.?
2. What is the current situation regarding stopping this from happening any more?
?Officers have contacted the Environment Agency, who have recently confirmed that the material concerned is classified as waste. Under these circumstances both Anglian Water and any road hauliers have a statutory Duty of Care under the Environmental Protection Act relating to the handling of this material.
This requires that all reasonable measures are adopted, to prevent any environmental pollution or harm to health. Anglian Water?s Biosolids Operational Manager (Southeast) attended a meeting with the Agency on Friday 18 April, when this and other issues were discussed. The Agency has confirmed that a specific requirement has been imposed to securely sheet any load, they have also advised that this issue will be followed up as necessary.
Anglian Water was prohibited from importing untreated sewage sludge to these works by the Council, following the service of an Abatement Notice that took effect on 29 February 2008.
Throughout this period, our officers have also been in contact with Anglian Water to ensure that they are aware of the complaints from residents. The Biosolids Operational Manager has offered to attend a meeting with local residents and officers, and this is being arranged.?
3. Could Rochford DC introduce bye-laws to prohibit this?
?Generally, the Council has only a marginal role with regard to transportation of materials by road. I am advised that there are some antiquated Byelaws relating to this activity under the Public Health Act 1936. However, the procedure for introducing these is very laborious and requires the consent of the Secretary of State, furthermore the penalties are insignificant.
Officers have taken initial advice from the Department of Communities and Local Government, who advise that they would not support the introduction of local Byelaws for this issue. The reasons given were that the activity concerned is not restricted to one Local Authority area and that any Byelaw would duplicate many of the requirements of primary legislation.
The penalties under the Environmental Protection Act are up to ?5000 on summary conviction or unlimited on indictment. This is, therefore, considered to be the most appropriate remedy.?
4. What are the names and office addresses of the individuals at Anglian Water who are permitting this to happen?
?Biosolids Operational Manager South/East,
Anglian Water Services Ltd.,
Kirby Dedon Road,
Norwich. NR14 8TZ
I believe that this issue can now be drawn to a satisfactory conclusion and I am confident that appropriate action will be taken by our officers and the Environment Agency should Anglian Water not fulfil its legal obligations.?