I think that officials and politicians have forgotten that their place in Democracy is to empower people by representing their interests.
We don’t have to follow the recent trend for wilful ignorance, we can make reality-based decisions just by turning the light up.
The bottom line here is that several small-town bureaucrats on Somerset County Council, under the cover of expediency, made a decision that makes zero sense to anyone.
The only thing we know for certain is that suited them and suited their waste management partner Viridor. But it doesn't suit the small B roads or anyone living in the residential areas leading to and from the Dimmer site.
What's troubling me is this: You only have to read the reports on how Viridor have been behaving in Croydon and Cardiff to know that they have fooling naiive Councillors down to a fine art. Somerset County Council knew the Dimmer site was planned for closure. They knew Viridor had no option to repurpose the site. They knew that in 1991 Viridor understood that when the land fill was full Viridor were out. Yet somehow, within months of a permanent closure Viridor emerged from behind closed door sessions with a do-whatever-you-want 30 year contract.
This means a perpetual occupation of Dimmer, an increase in vehicle size and number, a repurposed site, brand new buildings and planning permission already granted ... against ALL local resident's wishes, all parish councils and the unanimous rejection by the Area East planning application committee was over-ridden without a single justifiable reason or public advantage for keeping the site open at all.
The only realistic conclusion is that the Somerset County Council vote was fixed long before they passed it 4 to 3 in favour of Viridor. We can use the words bribery and corruption in relationship to this astonishing story because if we call it "controversial" it undermines the severity of the problem.
How can a decision like this be taken behind closed doors in secret meetings without anyone being held to account?
- It's clearly economically negligent. During a 35 mile round trip every HGV will mean paying two men to twiddle their thumbs as passengers to deliver it here and plus an aditional astronomic fuel bill makes no business sense.
- It's environmentally damaging. Thousands of HGVs clogging the County's roads to get Yeovil's waste to Dimmer and then thousands more to take it out again in twin-axle monster trucks is a direct and willful attack on the countryside.
- It's geographically challenged. Dimmer is not on an A road or a Motorway. It's not in the direction of any plant that will use the recycled waste. In fact it's almost 20 miles in the wrong direction for many towns. But even more saddening is that Yeovil closed it's waste station in 1995 and pays £200,000 in fuel to get it to Dimmer. It is surrounded by land fit for the purpose of sorting out it's own recycling at a fraction of the cost of transporting it to Dimmer. Then to add further insanity to the equation, Street's and Glastonbury's waste could be trucked straight down the A39 to Viridor's plant at Walpole near Bridgewater which is actually on the A38/M5 then, directly to Avonmouth.
All the Parish Councils along the B3153 will hold a joint meeting, date to be arranged. A spokesman for the debacle was invited to explain themselves to the public but Mr Steve Read (A public servant) has point blank refused to make himself available. I suggest you tell everyone what they've been up to over in Taunton because let's face it, unless you do something, it can't be stopped.