‘RIP democracy’ protest over Shrewsbury incinerator

Protesters against a new multi-million pound incinerator have planted a gravestone marking "the death of local democracy".

The RIP sign to local democracy
The RIP sign to local democracy

The mock up headstone appeared on the roundabout in front of the Veolia waste incinerator at Battlefield in Shrewsbury.

It is not known who is responsible for the sign, which features a misspelling of the word bureaucrat.

The RIP sign to local democracy
The RIP sign to local democracy

It reads: "RIP local democracy. Died in 2012. Promised by David Cameron. Smothered by a faceless bureacrat (sic) the Planning Inspectorate."

A red and blue rosette next to the stone reads: "First Prize Veolia Sculpture Competition."

A spokesman for the planning inspectorate said the decision to grant planning permission after appeal was an "impartial" one.

And Veolia bosses said they recognised community concerns and were keeping people informed.

The stone appeared shortly after 5,000 homes were leafleted to inform residents that testing would be getting underway this month.

People living close to the site, on the Battlefield Enterprise Park, have been warned to expect more activity, including noise and steam, in the coming weeks.

The tests will run through to early January, with the waste incinerator – known as an energy recovery facility (EFR) – expected to become fully operational next year.

Steve Mitchell, general manager for site owners Veolia, said steam-blowing and noise from the site would be higher than normal during this time.

The energy-from-waste facility has taken two years to build following a legal battle with Shropshire Council over planning permission.

Veolia said the incinerator would burn up to 90,000 tonnes of waste taken from local homes and generate enough electricity to power 10,000 homes.

In 2007, Veolia won a 27-year contract worth £850 million from the Shropshire Waste Partnership, which is now part of Shropshire Council.

But when the council refused planning permission for the site Veolia appealed.

As a result, Shropshire Council is still paying Veolia’s £825,000 legal bill, which a court agreed could be covered by instalments of £40,000 a year.

A Planning Inspectorate spokesman said: “The role of the Planning Inspectorate is to make impartial decisions on planning appeals. Inspectors will consider all the evidence placed before them and take account of planning policy, guidance and legislation at the time.

“This planning appeal was decided in 2012 after careful consideration of the of the evidence and views submitted during the inquiry."

A Veolia spokesman said: "Veolia recognises that some local residents do have some concerns. We have kept the local community informed throughout construction and we will continue to do this during commissioning and as we begin operations."


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Comments for: "‘RIP democracy’ protest over Shrewsbury incinerator"


Brilliant ! And didn't our MP publicity seeking Daniel say it would be "built over my dead body" ? As for the inept council dealings with Veolia..........enough said !!!!!!


And what did the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham do????


>It is not known who is responsible for the sign, which features a misspelling of

>the word bureaucrat.


>It reads: "RIP local democracy. Died in 2012. Promised by David Cameron.

>Smothered by a faceless bureacrat (sic) the Planning Inspectorate."

>the waste incinerator – known as an energy recovery facility (EFR)

"first cast out the beam out of thine own eye"


Once it starts testing you might want to keep your washing inside for a few weeks folks.

Seriously though once it has proved itself it will be burning more tonnage than envisaged.

Tis all about money and the shareholders these days....


No! shock horror...you mean money talks?

I guess removal of bus lanes could possibly be next, or their potential ability to increase traffic pollution (not reduce it) in some towns or suddenly becomes more harmful and even detrimental than at first acknowledged?

Yes. Money sure does indeed talk. Democracy....we can but dream.

'Owd Monner

What actually comes out of the chimney and what are the health risks? Goodness, it's like being back in Victorian times. Hard luck Harlescott, as long as the gentry don't have to suffer the consequences eh?


Don't worry about Harlescott, it has a high chimney. "If" there is to be fall out I would think it will be fifteen miles down wind. Which might well mean them getting their own back as I'm sure it is our incinerator that their rubbish is bound for eventually.

The only thing I worry about is the number of wagons and if that will effectively close Harlescott Lane taken in conjunction with the railway crossing.

Michael Ryan

Back in 2008, Daniel Kawczynski asked these very important questions:

Incinerators: Pollution

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether incinerators are assessed for their effects on public health; what a safe level of dioxins is considered to be; and whether his Department has records of incinerators that exceeded this level in the latest period for which figures are available; [197834]

(2) what regulations govern emissions from the incineration of waste in (a) hospital, (b) crematoria and (c) waste incinerators. [197849]

(21 Apr 2008 : Column 1365W)


Note carefully the following in Joan Ruddock's reply:

“risks to human health from incineration are small in comparison with other known risks”.

Fast forward to 2013 & Joan Ruddock has become aware of how bad things are in Lewisham, which "just happens to be" where Veolia operates the massive SELCHP incinerator:

Joan Ruddock (Lewisham, Deptford, Labour)

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will publish infant mortality statistics for (a) Lewisham, Deptford constituency, (b) Lewisham East constituency, (c) Lewisham West constituency, (d) Penge constituency and (e) London for each year since 1987.


(Joan Ruddock MP, HC Deb, 22 April 2013, c651W)


Hasn't anyone noticed that we have a sixth form college as well as residents next to our Crematorium?

The chimney legally needed updating for more than a decade but our councillors wanted to spend money pouring concrete into the ground to support the theatre instead.

Eventually having run out of dosh and the chimney not being a very exciting project or vote winning, the profitable crematorium was leased to the coop for 25 years with agreement to update chimney. Longterm that was a very profitable deal so the coop jumped at it. Another loss to the taxpayers.

The council made a deal over the incinerator in 2007 seeing it could make money for Shropshire. They could have combined the deal with heating £10,000 houses but no they then decided to throw their weight about (sadly including taxpayers money) and try to go back on an agreed contract for which we are now paying £40,000 a year until we have paid off the costs which were then awarded against this council of £800,000.

The negotiating skills of SABC and now Shropshire Council are terrible and the taxpayer just votes the same lot of councillors in, again and again.

Michael Ryan

Here's the study that can't ever be published as the data consistently shows higher infant death rates associated with incinerators and it's no use blaming "deprivation" as the infant death rates suddenly rose after incinerators started.


I wonder whether Veolia remember Dr van Steenis & me from the public inquiry in 2011?



It's a pity that Planning Inspector John Woolcock nailed his colours to the mast about socioeconomic status determining rates of infant mortality when that myth was disproved by Dr William Brend in 1916 and known by our government's experts in 1917 after HMSO had published Dr Brend's 33-page report.

Mr Woolcock wrote this on page 26 & 27:

Mr Ryan submitted a number of maps documenting mortality rates upwind and downwind of incinerators, and health statistics for localities near incinerators and power stations.84 However, no reliable inference can be drawn from this data. A whole host of possible confounding factors exist. These are other causes of the adverse health effect of interest, and they preclude any reasonable conclusions about likely cause and effect in the evidence adduced by Mr Ryan. Chief amongst these is socioeconomic status, for which there is much evidence as to its importance as a predictor of state of

health. This is a very complex area which would require detailed epidemiological studies to provide any meaningful analysis of the Office of National Statistics data and other statistics submitted by Mr Ryan."

(Appeal Decision APP/L3245/A/11/2146219)


Well done the council. At last we will stop filling holes in the ground with all the problems this causes, leaking into the water table to name but one.

. They have built this unit not to pollute the air but to burn tons of rubbish, such as the large amounts of timber the building contractors throw away. Windows, doors, kitchens etc.

It will generate enough electricity to run 10,000 homes. How we will need this, as the fools in government close our power stations.

It will employ people twenty four hours a day seven days a week.

The head in the sand lot. Forget them.


What this protest is really about is the double standards shown by Veolia. On one hand they offer a £15,000 sculpture for the local community whilst with the other hand they are charging that same community £40,000 a year to pay of their legal bill for an incinerator that nobody in Shropshire wanted. How stupid they must think we are ................

Don't even get me started on how they can promote Reduce, Reuse and Recycle when they'll burn as much waste as they possibly can .......


The contract was democratically agreed by Shropshire county council and signed of by Keith Barrows wife and elected Councillor, whats not democratic about that ? Just cuz no one wanted it, tough thats how the system works in the uk.

James II

In view of all the objections, from the MP and others, when this scheme was mooted, and in view of all the "unknowns" about pollution and infant mortality that some here have highlighted, and in view of the on-going and increasing profits apparently to be made by the operating company, what on earth was it, I wonder, that made the project so attractive that Councillor Mrs Barrow signed us up to it?


Yeah Jaz get your facts right. The sculpture was nothing to do with Veolia.

Bardens aggregates provided some of the materials and some funding was from the Darwin Centenary fund. It was the challenging design and lack of common sense where it was sited, unstable ground adjacent to a river that put up the costs.

What about the double standards of councillors which have cost the taxpayers £800,000?

I take it all those bleating about pollution will sell their cars hence with?


Sorry Terry' You obviously didn't see the Star on 23 October

"Tenders sought for Public Art Scheme" which reads "Veolia .... have put out a call for local artists to submit plans for a new piece of art. The new artwork will be sited at the roundabout on Vanguard Way, at the entrance to the facility"

Understand the significance of the Sculpture now?

twisting my melon

I agree with Ad on this one , this was part of a demodratic process its just that the side which lost is now crying foul . These are the same people that , in their democratic opinion thought that the Incinerator would be better if it was built in Telford . Where's the democracy in that??


interesting point well made it does seem to be a theme wuith these big PFI deals that they are water tight contracts with no transparency which seem to cost an awful lot of public money its the same with the hospitals and stuff its just stupid


The siting of this facility has been carefully chosen to ensure rates of death in Shrewsbury area are increased to a level acceptable to the local 'Health' Authority. If the idea was to protect the population, such incinerators would be sited coastally where prevailing winds would send the pollution out to sea. This is depopulation in practice. Poisons of all kinds will start circulating in the town's air and its environs. Not enough people are dying in Shrewsbury to hit government targets. This will help to bring us up to the national level of death and deformity, or possibly help us to exceed it. Veolia should be given a depopulation award, and congratulated by The Royal Family who are always talking about cutting the population.



Michael Ryan

Veolia would have been wise to ignore the chance to appeal against refusal of planning permission

for Harlescott incinerator.

The reason that the Planning Inspectorate fails to recognise the adverse health effects of incinerators is because their inspectors were told to ignore such concerns of local residents and to only consider the opinions of the Environment Agency (EA), Health Protection Agency (HPA) and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).

The HPA promised to check data around incinerators in August 2003, a few months after they were set up - as seen at the end of this BBC News item about malaria:


Mosquito checks stepped up (5 Aug 2003)

The HPA didn't bother to do what was promised - but they kept quiet until my FoI request in 2008 as I thought five years was plenty of time to do the work of a couple of days.

All well & good you might think until you realise that the EA ask the local PCT whether an incinerator is likely to have a significant impact on health and the local PCT repeats the opinion of the HPA & that's how permits get issued by the EA.

Some Councillors, on learning that a permit has been issued for an incinerator, will assume that there will be no risk.

Unfortunately, few Cllrs realise that the PCTs expert opinion that's so welcomed by the EA is based upon wishful thinking by the HPA who, in May 2008, admitted that they'd not checked any relevant data around any incinerator to establish whether or not there was an risk to health. When ex-Saisnbury CEO Dino Adriano was Chair of the Capel Action Group in Surrey, he was appalled to find out about the HPA's failure to check data and both the Dorking Advertiser and the Surrey Mirror reported the HPA's failure on 22 May 2008.


The Planning Inspectorate knew before the Shrewsbury incinerator public inquiry that the HPA hadn't checked any relevant data and they refused to instruct Inspectors to ignore the HPA's opinion and they also refused to insist that the PCT and EA be present at the Inquiry to be cross-examined.

Michael Ryan

No chance of Veolia's incinerators helping UK to comply:


Michael Ryan

Look at how no-one's "in charge" of health effects of incinerators in Ireland:

"Throughout the whole process it has become apparent that no State agency has outright responsibility for human health effects. Dr Anthony Staines, Professor of Epidemiology, DCU, has been trying to highlight this for many years. He states that “this is a reckless decision by the Dublin City Council CEO and we are going to pay for it.” Dr Staines emphasised huge concerns over the health implications of a mega incinerator such as Poolbeg. He estimates that the traffic increase alone will result in “people with heart disease dying early.”


Jay Alday

There are greener options than just burning waste such as anaerobic digestion which was run successfully by lib dem run south shropshire district counicl in ludlow. This was considered to be a world class facility and provided WEEKLY bin collections too which was very popular and successful until the conservative councillors in shire hall shut it down and spent the money on this monstrosity instead. Shame on the conservative led shropshire council always cutting services for the people of ludlow but there is always money for shrewsbury and oswesty.

Michael Ryan

Air quality is the major determinant of health and lifespan, hence concern in Westminster while we make matters worse with another incinerator:


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