This page will soon contain an archive of meeting minutes for the CRA
In the meantime, the minutes of the May 13th 2013 meeting are as below:
Notes of the LCRA monthly meeting held on Monday 13th May 2013 at the Bull
Present at the meeting chaired by Andy Wilson were:
Over sixty Members and guests
Councillors Ince, Ellis and Stranger (all CVW)
Two representatives from the Environment Agency – Paul Clark and Jon Griffin
1. Apologies were received from Pat Whelan, Doreen Epps, Steve Brown and Becky Hutchinson
2. Notes of last meeting – these were distributed and, there being no dissent, were taken as agreed.
3. The single subject of the night was the Transfer Station (Waste4fuel) and all other matters on the agenda were agreed to be held over to the next meeting. This included the planned demo of the website www.CRA20ten.org.uk
4. The transfer station introduction by EA reps and Councillors
The Environment Agency (EA) reps gave a short overview of the current situation:
4.1 Historically the new owner has been involved since November
4.2 The company is in a poor state of compliance with the rules
4.3 There is too much waste on site and there are risks of fire as waste heats up on decomposition and ignites.
4.4 Following recent fires EA have served a notice (initially ordering a cessation of business but later changed) such that the allowed in waste is 200 tonnes whilst the cleared waste must be 600 tonnes – effectively clearing the site at the rate of 400 tonnes per day and with the deadline set at 10th June for complete clearance.
4.5 The intention of lessening the notice to allow waste to continue to be processed was to allow the company to continue in business.
4.6 The company is not quite making the rate of clearance but equally is not taking in the full allowance. EA could not speculate on whtherthe target date will be met but emphasized that it must be reasonably close to target for compliance to be recognised
4.7 The Council is fully supportive of the EA’s actions to keep the company in business so as to allow clearance – otherwise the Council has the problem
4.8 Once the site is clear (or at the required level) the Council will see what action must be taken. There is a danger of making prejudicial statements and both EA and the Council have to obey the rules!
5. Points raised by Members and Guests
5.1 There have been four recent fires under this ownership and the pile seems to be getting bigger
5.2 There is suspicion that the previous company and the current are in some way linked
5.3 How does EA know the tonnage? EA said they have quantity surveyors
5.4 EA have been told several times in the past about the growth in height – why wasn’t it tackled then? How many yellow cards do they get?
5.5 Residents are adamant that there is currently more going in than out – EA said they have checks at the receiving end. Figures are inspected but EA cannot be everywhere.
5.6 Why not just close them down? EA said that court action would require good reasons and these do not exist (at least at the moment) – residents thought that with the closeness of properties, three school and the lakes and motorway there was good reason to not have the tip located here! Barring the addition of a ‘nursing home’ or suchlike the area was just about the worst place to put a ‘dump’!!
5.7 There was anger expressed about the previous owner cutting down trees
5.8 Apparently there are picking equipment problems (experienced from March) that have led to the build up increasing. However everyone agreed that if the company is required to remove 600 tonnes a day it should be held to just that – 400 or 500 is just not on and they should be taken to task
5.9 How toxic is it? EA said it is not. All agreed that smoke is nevertheless a problem and in particular for children (three schools) and two little children living nearby who have Cystic Fibrosis. In collecting names on the petition a member was made aware of people who were apparently hospitalized due to the smoke.
5.10 Wildlife has visibly been affected as described by a resident ofSevenoaks Way. She also described how the site has deteriorated since she moved here five years ago. No one should say ‘you knew what it was like and chose to live here’ essentially because it was nothing like it is today!
5.11 Apparently Councillors are aware of a public meeting on Thursday (16th May) at the Ruxley Room at Orpington Golf club, arranged by the site management. Councillor Stranger will chair it at the company’s invitation. However, no one in the room had been invited! The general view was that it was at the very least ‘inefficient’ as the people present included the nearest residents to the site. Some thought it was the intention to have a low attendance to claim a minimal amount of opposition.
5.12 It was known that LFB advice was that the rubbish be segregated into piles to reduce risks. This has not yet been done.
5.13 On being asked just how many times does the company have to fail before being closed down, EA said that at the moment they have not got enough power to do so legally.
5.14 So, asked two members, will the company just be allowed to go on and on defaulting – and what happens if they default on the June 10th deadline? EA advised that court action could then follow.
5.15 Councillor Ince explained the history of the site in that for many years it ran without permission and was at one time refused planning consent but won an Appeal, being given a Cert of Lawfulness.
5.16 Much discussion took place on operating hours. Residents advised that work is carried out on a Sunday and after 17.00 weekdays. Councillor Ellis advised that these times were outside agreed hours. There was some thought that if it helped to clear the site it might be worth putting up with for the short term.
5.17 Much discussion on the type of waste being processed. EA were unaware of when the change from the original purpose of transferring Builders’ Rubble/Rubbish was made. Rubbish now contains much more that rubble – wood, plastic etc. The meeting asked that the EA look in detail at the type of waste compared to the permit(s).
5.18 Residents asked why EA did not take air pollution into account when rating the severity of the recent fires.
5.19 Councillor Ellis advised that she and fellow Councillors had a meeting at the time of the fire as the LA clearly needed to be involved. They were concerned at the costs should the company ‘walk away’. Residents would then end up paying.
5.20. Residents advised that lorries were currently reversing into the main road – Councillor Ellis handed out her contact details for such problems to be reported.
5.21 The Chairman said everything had to be logged so that the appropriate boxes can be ticked. Also that automated means of checking lorry movements might help and the use of cameras to watch for lorries backing out should be considered.
5.22 Residents felt that the site should have perimeter protection to prevent items being blown about. The view was that individuals get fined for littering so why are they getting away with it.
5.23 It was agreed that burning plastic and rubber near the A20 might risk the sort of fatal collisions that happened a while ago in the west country. Also that the previous owner had a single fire whilst the current had four including the longest ever in the Borough! Surely this company must be considered a special risk to H and S.
5.24 The team who had collected signatures for the petition asked about the position now. EA said that the petition had been received and would be useful at the appropriate time. It was noted that names are still being added to the electronic petition and at the appropriate time would be sent to EA (Jon)
5.25 There was a question about risk assessing a company such that a bond be lodged to protect against default. EA said this was once the case but no longer applies.
5.26 It was noted that in addition to the health issues, during the fire businesses and residents had suffered through the effects on water supply. This might also be an H and S issue and require their expert involvement
5.27 Towards the end of the meeting the Chairman asked for a show of hands for a motion that called for the closure of the company – just to allow EA reps to judge local opinion. The motion was carried unanimously.
6. Other business
6.1 Colin Willetts proposed a vote of thanks to Pat Smith and her team for their work in organizing the petition. This was warmly applauded.
6.2 All other items carried over to 3rd June 2013 meeting
John Eveson, Vice Chair (working from excellent notes taken by Jackie!!)