Event Report: Waste is a beautiful thing to mind

The chair of the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority today launched a shameless (and successful) bid to grab headlines.

Cllr Neil Swannick (Labour, Bradford ward), a former Executive Member for the Environment for Manchester City Council, was giving a report to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (or was it the Association of Greater Manchester Authority? We’re just a MCFly drowning in alphabet soup) Executive about the budget for the Waste Authority.

He stated his report was “the same story I’ve been telling every year, to anyone who’ll listen,” namely that the GMWDA is locked into a 25 year Private Financial Initiative contract. Fortunately, said Cllr Swannick,  the construction period of this is almost complete, and Greater Manchester will have “world class facilities for the next 25 years.” Cllr Swannick pointed out that 94% of the money raised via council tax goes to the PFI, with only two percent going to debt charges and the remaining four percent going to the running costs of the GMWDA itself. These running has been reduced by 25% over three years.

Councillor Swannick conceded that several household recycling centres had been shut down, or were due to shut down, but that the GMWDA was on track to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. This would mean millions of pounds saved on landfill tax and – here’s the shameless bid – less methane from rotting organic waste and thus a reduced contribution to global warming by Mancunains.

He alluded to a challenge process by the leaders of Bolton and Stockport councils, but said that after consultation they had seemed happy.

Also at the meeting(s) –Councillor Dave Acton, chair of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, gave an overview of the  budget dilemmas, the Fire Authority’s efforts to lobby central government and the stark possibilities (including station closures) if things go badly. In the meantime, they are making successful efforts to reduce the number of fires taking place.

(The best book MCFly ever read about fires/public policy and so on is “A Plague on Your Houses: How New York was Burned Down and National Public Health Crumbled”)

Cllr Paul Murphy (Labour,  Moston Ward), the chair of the Greater Manchester Police Authority presented on the 1 year budget freeze, with hope for a 2.5% precept increase assumed for the next two years, and the £8.6 million grant they have got in the aftermath of the 2011 riots. He said the GMPA still hoped to balance the budget “with prudent use of reserves.”

Earlier, during the GMCA bit, the Leader of Salford Council, John Merry, had presented a report on scheme to get unemployed people into work (see Manchester Evening News piece here).  This is a subject presumably now even closer to the councillor’s heart

Marc Hudson
mcmonthly@gmail.com

UPDATE: For a slightly less glib take on this meeting, see here.

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About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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6 Responses to Event Report: Waste is a beautiful thing to mind

  1. Patrick Sudlow says:

    [redacted]
    The PFI was contested by Sita:
    http://www.letsrecycle.com/news/latest-news/legislation/sita-confident-manchester-legal-action-will-proceed Sita (who have decades of experience of operating incinerators) recognised the incinerator needed replacing, as it should have been in 1998/1999. Viridor were informed of the problems there, but ignored my advice, that the plants was mismanaged: http://ukwin.org.uk/2009/05/05/bolton-incinerator-should-close-whistleblower/
    Then, lets not forget the fridge/freezer fiasco, [redacted] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1477340/A-mountain-of-unwanted-fridges-with-nowhere-to-go.html clowns the pair of them.

    • Patrick,

      I have taken the unusual – and possibly unethical – step of editing your comment. Y’see, I don’t know what the libel laws say about approving comments like the one that you have just posted. I will find out.

      In the meantime, doubtless, some will decide that I am a spineless apologist for Manchester City Council/the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority etc.

      I invite you to put up your own wordpress site, (which is free to do and only takes a few minutes), and send a link through to this post. Then readers can see your full comment on a site that you are legally responsible for.

      And Sita did indeed try to contest the contract that Viridor Laing won. They didn’t do their paperwork in time, however, and it all ended in tears for them.

      Marc Hudson
      co-editor Manchester Climate Monthly

      • Patrick Sudlow says:

        I a;ways thought you Aussie were spineless.:-) I do have a wordpress account, but I have not used it, in fact I not sure I can remember my log-in details.

  2. Hi Marc,
    I hope this link works; Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority.

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