Saturday, 31 May 2008
Response from a local resident to a letter received from the KCC re the Anaerobic Digestion Plant, Otterpool Lane
To: Sharon Thompson, Head of Planning Control, Kent County Council
Subject: APPLICATION: SH/08/124 - Anaerobic Digestion Plant, Otterpool Lane
Thank you for your letter notifying us of the above planning application, however we can’t help wondering if this is not just a paper exercise your department is doing because it would appear that the owners of the proposed Recycling Plant seem to have employed contractors to clear the land and prepare it for construction. From that one can only assume that they are pretty confident that they will get the `Go Ahead’ sooner or later.
However we would still like to lodge our three main objections to this proposal which are `Smell’, `Transport’ and `Speed’. Before my recent retirement I worked as a Plant Engineer for chemical companies in Silver Town. London and Willow Lane, Mitcham. Both plants were forever being visited by the Environmental Dept. because no matter how good or modern their equipment they could not stop nasty smells escaping from the plant causing distress to the local population. It will happen here also because this plant is being sited too close to the village of Sellindge. This sort of plant really needs to be sited in an area already blighted by similar factories.
On the subject of Transport we have heard that a large number of Lorries will be needed to bring in the waste material and an equally large number to remove it once treated. We all know that the Lorries traveling from the west side of the plant will leave the motorway at junction 10 and travel through the village. A village which already suffers from a considerable traffic flow. We have heard that some Transport companies on the Lympne Industrial Estate had Planning Conditions imposed on them by the Planning Office to direct their drivers to leave the M20 from junction 11; if this is true then they (the companies) and the council are certainly not enforcing it. Therefore any similar conditions that you may apply to this application should it succeed, will go unnoticed.
With elderly people crossing to the doctors surgery and children crossing to the village school speed has always been a problem and a worry for the local population, a road that is fairly straight and therefore tempting for drivers to proceed down it at a faster speed than legally allowed and with the likely large increase in heavy lorry traffic it may be only a matter of time before we have a serious accident here. Even without the extra lorries, we need right now, some form of traffic calming measures built into this road, such as road islands or chicanes to help resolve this problem. (As at Capel-le-Ferne which is also an A-class road suffering from operation Stack).
To view this article go via the 'Useful websites' section in the right-hand column.
Friday, 30 May 2008
The seventh email distribution of news regarding the proposed Lorry Park on the Aldington-Smeeth borders
Member of the Executive, Ashford Borough Counciland
Chairman, Aldington & Bonnington Parish Council
Welcome to the seventh email distribution of news regarding the proposed Lorry Park on the Aldington-Smeeth borders.
I have learnt that yesterday KCC stated at a KCC committee meeting open to the public that they had missed the window of opportunity this year for carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment. They say that therefore a formal planning application is unlikely to be published until mid 2009.
This delay whilst highly regrettable in that it extends the period of blight on the communities affected does, I hope, give KCC the opportunity to have a thorough and open review of all the options available for dealing with the undoubted problems of both Operation Stack and overnight lorry parking. It also provides the ideal opportunity to conduct the pre-application public consultation previously mooted by KCC, but never implemented.
Thank you all for your continuing support.
Cllr Peter Wood
The sixth email distribution of news regarding the proposed Lorry Park on the Aldington-Smeeth borders
Member of the Executive, Ashford Borough Counciland
Chairman, Aldington & Bonnington Parish Council
Welcome to the sixth email distribution of news regarding the proposed Lorry Park on the Aldington-Smeeth borders.
I draw your particular attention to the very important paragraph in [blue] text below.
There has been no concrete news (no pun intended!) forthcoming from KCC since the last email newsletter. That said, there has however been a fair amount of media-oriented spin coming from County Hall. In addition, the Leader of KCC has expressed some interesting views regarding the proposed Lorry Park – of which more below. We understand that the Department for Transport (DfT) has again made it very clear to KCC that, as things stand, the UK taxpayers will not fund the Lorry Park project and they have instructed KCC to put together a business plan if they wish to pursue the case. This business plan is scheduled to be presented to the Leader of KCC (and presumably the Cabinet and Members) around mid-June, after which it will be submitted to the DfT where it will no doubt progress slowly (especially given summer holidays) through official channels. On that basis, it seems highly unlikely that there will be any sign of a formal planning application until the autumn at the earliest.
You will recall the formal, detailed letter of objection sent by Officers at Ashford Borough Council to KCC on 7th April 2008 (copies available on request). I understand that, other than a very short letter of acknowledgment, there has been no response whatsoever to the detailed queries set out in the letter. One can only presume, indeed hope, that KCC is having difficulties formulating sensible answers to the points raised.
On the media front, the Kentish Express has continued to provide extensive and balanced news and views on the Lorry Park controversy. The TV and radio coverage of the campaign has slackened for the time being, but this is to be expected. That said, it must be acknowledged that all branches of the media gave excellent coverage to the hugely successful Sellindge protest march (attendance 500 – 600 people) at the beginning of this month – congratulations to the Sellindge Residents Association, who organised it.
[blue]Returning to views put forward by the Leader of KCC, he has apparently told MPs, MEPs and County Councillors that the media has been fully supportive of KCC’s Lorry Park proposals and that most of the coverage has been in favour of KCC and that hardly any negative coverage has been received. In addition, in the context of local resistance to the Lorry Park, the Leader of KCC has claimed to County Council members that he has received “very few letters from Aldington, and quite a few from round the County supporting.”
It’s inconceivable that the Leader of our County would be economical with the truth and so one can only conclude that his Officers have kept the hundreds of protest letters and emails from him. Clearly something must be done to bring the protests to the Leader’s direct attention, and to that end Matt Baldwin of the Lorry Park Alliance has penned the following message to you all.
Dear Lorry Park Alliance Member,
Paul Carter, the leader at Kent County Council, is claiming that he has received more letters of support for the proposed lorry park between junction 10 and 11 than against. We do not believe this to be the case, but would suggest that a second round of letter writing begin as soon as possible. It has also been suggested that letters be sent to his home address, addressed to Mr P Carter, rather than Cllr Paul Carter – he is more likely to open them if he believes they are private letters, and once open he will find it harder to ignore.
Mr P Carter lives at:
Langley Park House,
Some suggested themes for the letters:
· Why the lack of consultation with the public over the lorry park – maybe suggesting that he pays residents a visit
· Why did he announce the vast lorry testing station at the lorry park in such an underhand way and not through the normal channels (see previous Lorry Park news email)
· When is he going to make public the rationale behind the Aldington site and publicly state where the other 15 sites are and why they were discounted
· A planning application is currently before Ashford BC for a lorry testing station. If granted, that will remove the need for a testing station at the lorry park.
Paul Carter is also likely to respond with a standard letter – many of us will have already received a copy. If it doesn’t answer any specific points put to him, write back asking that he address your points personally rather than fobbing you off with a standard reply. This really annoys him as it takes up quite a bit of his time. And if he doesn’t respond, it does leave the door open for you to write again.
In terms of getting our message across, there are two Blogs that have been very supportive of our campaign and you might like to bookmark and monitor them. They are:
In the interest of ‘balance’ it would be churlish not also to draw your attention to:
· the KCC Leader’s blog, which is: http://www.kent.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/democracy-and-elections/cabinet/leaders-blog.htm
· a blog we believe to be supported by freight industry interests and/or Monserat Properties Ltd, which is: http://www.operationstack.co.uk
If anyone is aware of other relevant blogs please let me know.
Finally, if you have not already seen it, I recommend that you read CPRE’s formal response to KCC regarding the Lorry Park proposals “Taking the Sting out of Stack”. This can be downloaded from the CPRE website: http://www.cprekent.org.uk
I will continue to keep you fully informed as matters progress. If you are aware of anyone who wishes to be kept in touch, but who has not received this email, please ask them to contact me by email so that their details can be added to the distribution list.
I must again stress that my colleagues and I are not opposed to a solution for either Operation Stack or for overnight lorry parking. However, we are opposed to these current proposals which are ill-conceived and hastily cobbled together with inadequate evaluation of alternatives and without consultation. We also consider that KCC is seeking to impose a wholly local solution to a problem that is in fact a national and pan-European issue.
Thank you all for your continuing support.
Cllr Peter Wood
Saxon Shore Ward
Member of the Executive
Ashford Borough Council
Chairman, Aldington & Bonnington Parish Council
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Sunday, 18 May 2008
Email from local resident to Sellindgesludge@hotmail.co.uk
Date: Sat, 17 May 2008 18:30
From: local resident (name withheld)
Subject: Letter from Paul Carter
Please see copy of a letter from Paul Carter stating that there may now be an access road onto the A20!
Response from Paul Carter.......
Dear local resident
Re: Proposed Lorry Park
Thank you for your further E mail of 30 April 2008 in response to my previous communication regarding the above issue.
As I indicated previously, the proposal is in early stages of development and this is being done by our own team of designers. Neither Montserat Properties Ltd nor any other developer has been involved in the design of the site. We would however, wish to consider all options for running the site, including outsourcing, to ensure effective use of resources and achieving value for money and this may involve engaging the private sector. Under the proposal we would own the site and we would set the terms and conditions for operating and managing it, these will not be set by the private sector as you seem to imply.
Although the Government have not been fully supportive of a vignette system of charging HGVs I believe that this is a national issue and the Government must play a major role in this. We will work closely with the Government to resolve the funding issue.
We have looked at other options, for instance diverting freight to rail, encouraging the use of other ports, holding back lorry traffic at lorry parks remote from the Channel Ports, but none of them can provide a solution to the huge problem. Hauliers and HGV drivers prefer this route because this is the quickest and cheapest way to access Continental Europe.
The experience of rail freight through the Channel Tunnel has been particularly disappointing – last year only 1.2 million tonnes was taken by rail – far below the forecasts of 6 million tonnes before the Tunnel opened and significantly below the 3.1 million tonnes actually carried in 1998. This represents a market share by rail of some 2.5% by weight.
Eurotunnel has recently cut its prices for rail freight and it is hoped that the amount taken by rail will increase to around 6 million tonnes in five years. However to put this into perspective, this increase is less than the actual increase in freight coming through by road over the last two years.
The Highways Agency plan to introduce a moveable barrier, known as the Quick Movable Barrier (QMB), to help manage the traffic in Phase 1 of Operation Stack later this year. This involves the installation of a continuous barrier in the middle of the M20 London-bound carriageway between Junctions 11 and 12. This will allow non cross-Channel lorry traffic to proceed down the M20 towards Dover in contra-flow in one lane on the London-bound carriageway, while London – bound traffic proceeds in two lanes.
The performance of the QMB will be closely monitored and it will be of particular interest to see how quickly it can be put into operation. However, the proposed QMB will only cover Phase 1 of Operation Stack (ie parking around 800 lorries) and the two-week long disruption earlier this year required Phase 2 for the vast majority of the time. The Police will still bring all traffic off the M20 at Junction 11 so delays on the M20 will continue, but the affects of diversions onto the A20 should be significantly reduced. The QMB will not contribute to a solution to the Overnight Lorry Parking problem.
As the development of the proposal proceeds it has become evident that there may be a need for a minor access road from the A20 to the lorry park to cater for light service vehicles and the emergency services. Its use would be controlled and it would not be available to lorries. A similar arrangement exists at a number of motorway service areas and operates successfully without affecting the surrounding road networks. Access for HGVs to and from the site will be via on and off slips from the M20.
I note your comment that a major part of the lorry park facility would remain empty for much of the year. However, the disruption caused by Operation Stack causes huge inconvenience to the community in Kent and has significant impact on the local and national economies, on balance this is the best option.
With regard to preventing HGVs from parking on our local roads, I am on record saying, we propose that overnight HGV parking would be free at the lorry park. This will encourage HGV drivers to park here as opposed to them having to pay around £20 a night to park on a licensed site, as is the case now. The proposal means that there will be no excuse for HGV drivers to park on local roads overnight. At the same time HGV parking ban on local roads will be effectively enforced, and we should see an end to lorries parking on verges and laybys in many parts of Kent .
I hope that this has provided sufficient clarification and has allayed your concerns.
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
Sellindge congratulates Sellindge! On behalf of all who live peacefully in Sellindge and the Sellindge and District Residents Association I would like to offer congratulations and thanks for the very impressive and enthusiastic turnout last Saturday 3rd May 2008. We also want to thank all those from the surrounding villages and even from London who supported us.
Estimates vary but we are certain that between 500 to 600 people joined the march between the Village Hall and the Airport Café. What was especially encouraging were the large number of young people from babes in prams to vocally active teenagers who made their protesting views very clear to both Countrystyle Recycling Ltd and the Kent County Council’s Planning Office. In fact partly due to the large volume of protest letters that have been sent and also to the large number of protesters on Saturday, Angela Watts, who is the Planning Officer for KCC with responsibility for dealing with the Countrystyle proposal, has said today that KCC Planning Department will be coming to Sellindge later in June. They will inspect the site and call a meeting for villagers to express their views directly to Planning Officers and others concerned with the issue
We also had very good press and television coverage managing to get excellent and much sought for placement on Meridian Afternoon News and the BBC’s South East News. Now we must continue to keep the momentum going if we are to defeat the proposals made by Countrystyle Recycling Ltd. Many have signed the general petition which we shall put to good use. We need to encourage as many as possible – in fact all of us need to sign a specific Petition which will declare opposition to the use of the Quarry as a site for processing waste of any kind. This Petition will go to the Planning Department of KCC and will be presented to the Planning Committee when they consider the proposal later this summer. It is vital that everyone in your home signs it as it will be directly taken in to account by Planning Committee members.
Your Sellindge and District Residents Association are now involved in preparing technical objections to the scheme in readiness for a Planning hearing. If anyone is able to offer technical advice we will be grateful for your assistance. I am very keen to begin investigating alternatives to the large scale treatment of 21st century municipal and industrial waste and would welcome anyone, but especially young people to assist. If a sufficient number of people volunteer we might be able to get a grant to help finance such a project.
We shall be keeping you regularly informed of our progress on all fronts. We are also planning other events during the summer that will express the unity of our views. Thank you once again for making a very considerable effort and in the glorious words of Ian Medgett ringing in our ears we look forward to meeting you all again soon:
“KCC – You can stuff your Lorry Park right up your Sludge Digester”
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