Article Index

A Greener, Cleaner, Sustainable Borough

The Council’s green reputation is being damaged. We will turn that around over the next 4 years by very clear actions.

Labour will:

Waste Collection, Disposal and Recycling

1. Make clear that a truly green council would never support the building of an incinerator that will be a potential health risk; particularly one so close to residential areas. Labour will establish a Sustainability Task Force to deal with the complexities around the use, safety and monitoring of the Beddington Incinerator, air pollution levels, dramatic falls in recycling and waste management contractual matters as well as considering new challenges such as fracking and the threat of increased flooding in some areas.

2. Have a policy to allow residents to “take back control” of the Sutton Incinerator. We would instead seek to create more ‘green jobs in the borough. Our five-point incinerator plan would be:

a) Monitoring and enforcement

  • Air monitoring increased
  • Council staff recruited to fully inspect Incinerator on a weekly basis
  • CCTV cameras erected on Council land to film emissions
  • All enforcement to be publicly reported

b) Citizen benefit from site whilst it exists

  • Changes made to CSR money to Council - all spending decisions to go to a Citizens Panel of Beddington North residents drawn by lot for 1-year terms

c) Contract

  • Conduct an initial public inquiry to review Sutton’s contractual relationships with Incinerator company Viridor examining air quality and reviewing enforcement and fines as well as break clauses.
  • Negotiate a deal for ending the contract

d) Relations with other Councils

  • Once withdrawal from the contract is agreed, discuss with other Council's in SLWP partnership how they want to deal with the issue
  • Council will reserve right to fully withdraw from SLWP if needed as part of its "take back control" agenda
  • Whatever the result of the referendum, negotiations will continue with the other boroughs to develop a healthier relationship in future that does not depend on incineration

e) Resident Decision

  • Proposal to residents is explained and promoted over a 6 month decision period
  • Referendum of local residents to approve one-off rise on Council tax to pay off incinerator contract perhaps combined with a St Helier Hospital site protection referendum

3. Conduct a public enquiry into the waste collection contract with Veolia and properly consult residents as to what waste collection services they prefer. We will use contract compliance and break clauses to force rapid change and that will include the option of ending the contract in the same way as we would consider for the incinerator contract.

4. Set a target of 65% recycling after consultation with residents and develop more education and practical support for residents on how to recycle, especially those in flats. We also want to see more reuse and upcycling and support local voluntary groups promoting that

5. Move to an increase in street cleaning frequency in key areas. We will expand area teams to cover most environmental services in the coming years. We will also make current contracted street cleaning staff permanent thus creating proper jobs        

6. Abolish the charge for Bulky Household waste service for the disabled, elderly and unwaged as part of a move to making it fully free of charge and ensure collection is within three working days.

7. Work with retailers to move to becoming a “no plastic bag” borough

8. Seek to work with other local authorities to challenge landfill taxation rules which create perverse incentives to dispose of waste in non-environmental ways

Enforcement

9. Develop Environmental Health Regulatory and Enforcement Services to provide:

a) Health and Safety law such as helping to protect retail staff from violence.

b) Monitoring and enforcing fire safety measures in properties with commercial cooking facilities.

c) A Pest Control service which should be provided free to residents.

10. Recognise the concerns raised by residents about littered, overgrown and untidy gardens and so will launch an ‘Eyesore Garden Project’ (ie mattresses in the front gardens’ of some privately rented houses left by landlords) involving local people in days of action, resulting in enforcement notices wherever necessary.

Energy

11. Work with energy companies and government agencies to assist householders’ retro-fit their homes far more quickly to reduce their carbon footprint

12. Work with the Mayor of London and other South London boroughs to create a publicly owned energy company

Sustainability

13. Compile regular Environmental Sustainability Indicators on air pollution, tap water quality, soil pollutants, noise levels, background radiation, and pesticide residues across the whole Borough and publish regular reports. These could later be tied in to overall well-being indicators for the Borough. We will work with the Mayor of London on improving air quality in the borough. We will work with the Mayor of London to implement his Air Quality standards

14. Look to establish a borough Food Co-op to bulk buy good quality local food as well as help reduce food waste.

15. Oppose fracking tests being conducted in this highly built up borough and will not grant permission or licenses.

16. With the exception of medical isotopes, oppose the transport of nuclear materials through the borough by train or lorry. The Council will affiliate to Nuclear Free Local Authorities which has over 50 Council’s in membership

17. Review the Council’s Animal Rights Charter. The Council should seek to monitor the living conditions of animals in boarding accommodation, for sale, and for use in experimentation or farming within the Borough.