Discussion Forum

"Greenwashing" - composting at Sharneyford

Posted by Geoff Clarkson
Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Hello, new to area, please bear with me.

Having reading this site and others along the valley up to Todmorden to gain an insight, my eye was caught by the "greenwashing" story about a pond.

A situation is growing, I see to the concern of residents in the area.The merits of protesting about such causes are no doubt good, but after seeing a double standard situation arise, I feel compelled to put in my opinion, if I dare being a newcomer, and of course you will let me.

There seems to be a lot of this "Greenwashing" about here in Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.

A large "composting Facility" is to be built I believe in Todmorden on the Moors above Bacup Road, Todmorden. Composting is a great idea if naturally achieved and genuine, but I seem to be under the impression that it is being "greenwashed" as it will use animal by-products in the process, so by definition it stops becoming green and goes off somewhere else. Not Green, I suggest, but "green washing" is being used to satisfy all, that it is good and worthy cause, its in line with the merits of the Mill pond case, as in a green issue is being used to rid the system of certain types of waste by laudering it into compost. Will you allow this discussion on your site?

Please let me know as I feel that to be heard is to be seen to be fair, of which no doubt you are.

Thank you for your time

Posted by Winston
Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I thought this was being project managed by Green Business Network which is owned by Kirklees' and Calderdale Council who are organising a partnership with Harlequin Composting, Calder Future, Todmorden Moor Restoration Trust and Treesponsibility.

Well that's what the news section of the website at www.treesponsibilitycom says.

Are you sure you have your facts straight Mr Clarkson?

Posted by Shaun
Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Treeresponsibility are no longer backing the Composting Facility at Sharneyford despite what it says on their website which is out of date.

Neither Rosendale or Calderdale's MPs support the composting facility.

The 'Green Business Network' are project managing something which is almost as far away from green as they could possibly manage. The odd thing about GBN is that they are now managing a scheme which will generate more traffic to the site than a similar scheme they campaigned against a year ago to stop mining on the site. The info on the GBN website is also very out of date. The plans for the site have changed quite a bit from those that they display on their website.

I would suggest that the people of Hebden Bridge, unless they want extra tipper trucks trundling through the town full of rotting meat, get motivated and block this scheme.

'Compost' sounds nice and fluffy but in reality this is going to be capable of processing industrial waste that goes straight into a landfill, not on your roses.

Posted by Graeme Roberts
Thursday, March 10, 2005

Posted on behalf of the CLOUGHFOOT ACTION GROUP

An action group has been formed that will, with your help, challenge a planning application by Harlequin Composting (formally Pendlebury Baits), to change the old Maggot Farm at Sharneyford into a factory processing waste animal and plant material and producing "Compost".

An Update

The action group has had several meetings in recent weeks and good progress has been made in our objective of developing strategies to oppose and defeat the planning application. We have forged links with a similar action group that has formed around residents of Todmorden Road, Bacup and together the two groups have helped motivate nearly 2,000 people to send objections to Calderdale M.B.C. Planning Department. The volume of objections has made Calderdale M.B.C. postpone its planning decision until further notice, although officials from the planning department still want a decision to be made soon.

M.P.'s Give Support

Both of the action groups have contacted their respective MPs and they have agreed to support our opposition and have made their views known to Calderdale M.B.C. They have also intimated that they intend to raise the issue in the House of Commons with particular reference to the status and suitability of Bacup/Todmorden Road (A681).

Traffic a Major Issue.

Please understand, the amount of H.G.V. traffic proposed in this scheme will have a severe impact upon the whole 'A' road network feeding into Todmorden. It is expected that at least 9 local authorities including Burnley, Rochdale, Halifax and Huddersfield and Kirklees, could send waste material to this facility, in addition to waste from private food processing companies operating within a 25 mile radius. This would result in thousands of tons of waste, including significant amounts of animal remains and condemned meat products being driven, 6 days a week, through Todmorden on its way to the waste disposal plant. Here is a little sum which may help you to get the picture:Vehicle movements (102 per day) x 6 working days per week x48 weeks per year = 29376 per year. If you think that's bad then factor in an extra undisclosed number of vehicles needed to remove the "compost" off site when it has been processed.

Getting At The Truth

In a recent newspaper interview (11' Feb, Todmorden News), Mr. John Pendlebury of Harlequin Composting claimed support for the Sharneyford scheme from a range of official organisations, businesses and charities, such as the Environment Agency, English Nature, Yorkshire Water and the Countryside Agency. The action group has attempted to verify these claims and out of the nine supporters claimed in the article, of five that have so far responded to our enquiries, ALL have denied support has been given to Harlequin Composting.

There is no doubt that this application, if approved, would have a very serious effect on the way of life in and around Todmorden and it is imperative that we continue to keep up the pressure on Calderdale Planning Department to ensure the application is refused. If you have yet to object, do so now. Send your objection to The Chief Planning Officer, Calderdale M.B.C. Planning Services, Northgate House, Halifax, HX1 1UN. Please quote reference number: 04/01062/FUL. If you or anybody you know would like to help us please contact the Cloughfoot Action Group on 01706-818148

Posted by Geoff Clarkson
Thursday, March 10, 2005

Its started to get interesting now I suppose, it seemed so quiet in this valley about this subject.I would appreciate the addition to this forum the comments of the green groups Tressponsibility and Todmorden's TMRT to add their comments to this open discussion.

They sent letters to CMBC in Oct 2004 I believe after speaking to a local Hebden councillor,in full support of this application and would be really interested in knowing why either of them are in support of this "greenwashed" application. The application has the potential to create a far larger figure in HGV movements that a mining application in previous years ever did, of which they fought with amazing effect and results and of course publicity,"we did it " on their Treesponsibilty's website. So why do they sit this one out? One only starts to wonder why???, and there may be only one answer. If any one out there has the answer please post it on here, councilors and MPs are getting mighty curious has they also helped these groups fight the mining company only last year. So if a local MP like Chris Mc Cafferty has now voiced her objections and are now behind the supporters on this application are two excellent enviromental campaigners missing of the objectors list?

"Greenwashed" I suggest is alive and well so is hypocrisy I fear.Thank you for allowing me, my free speech in your forum and long may it continue.

Posted by Graeme Roberts
Friday, March 25, 2005

At a Todmorden Council meeting earlier in the week the Council voted to OBJECT to the composting application on the following grounds:

1. A grave concern about the amount of HGV traffic that will be generated by the development - both on Bacup Rd itself, and through the rest of Todmorden - this could cause road safety issues and could have an enormous impact on the local environment in terms of both noise and nuisance, which is the reason given for rejecting a previous application in this area.

2. Concern that access and egress at the site is unsafe for the proposed number of vehicle movements.

3. The proposal to screen the development with trees may not be sustainable - the climate and soil conditions will not easily support tree growth over any reasonable period of time.

4. The Council remains unconvinced that the development will have no impact on water supply quality and pollution, and more work needs to be done on this issue.

5. The Council is concerned about fire safety at the site, with an apparent lack of a mains water supply and the possible combustable nature of the gasses that will be produced at the site.

Posted by Billy Frugal
Tuesday, March 29, 2005

There seems to be some confusion about where Treesponsibility stands on the Sharneyford issue. Planning permission already exists for composting on the site, and it could start tommorrow in the existing buildings. We support the plan to replace the old buildings with a new purpose-built structure for three reasons:

1. The current planning application offers a way for local residents to limit lorry numbers through a section 106 agreement. This would not be easy to do if the scheme went ahead under the existing permissions.

2. There are very real concerns about a range of environmental issues, the ones that spring to mind are water pollution, smells and fire risk. We believe that each of these is less likely to happen in a purpose built facility than in an old, unsuitable building.

3. The failure of this planning application may lead to the sale of the site to a large waste management company. Such a company would have the time and the money to pursue an aggressive planning strategy through several appeals and this may well lead to a far larger scheme on the site, including other waste management methods such as incinerators. Given the governnment's insistence that waste is managed locally, and the lack of suitable sites in the South Pennines, it is fantasy to think that such a planning application could be defeated indefinitely - the big company would only have to win once.

We are not in partnership with Harlequin Composting, and did not support the original planning application for composting on the site.

Posted by Graeme Roberts
Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Your statement above contradicts with the news section on your own website at treesponsibility.com which I quote below.

Here you advise of a "partnership" and even go to the length of providing a link to a pre printed letter giving unqualified support to the application.

If you are not in "partnership" with Harlequin now, please advise the nature of the "partnership" you were engaged in at the time you wrote and signed your website article.

Posted by Geoff Clarkson
Thursday, March 10, 2005

In reply to Billy Frugal posting, Treesponsibility are clearly seen now to be backing this application and going out of their way to do so. Letters of support to Calderdale council and even Todmorden council trying to broker a ways of means to help this planning application get passed. Astonishing are your reasons for this to be passed, replace old buildings with new ones, where have your green values gone? Utilise the old stuff, surely? Low impact industry! seriously? The green composting (green as in grass, twigs, cuttings etc) can be carried out on site to a small scale and with reasonable safety and no biofilters. Concerns only arise when it starts to get into a large commercial volume and using Category 3 animal waste etc with biofilters and accelorated composting machines (alarm bells ringing). The potential for pollution will rise several fold and you are claiming the increase in size lessen these fears. You are correct in your observation it will be a purpose built facility for Category 3 waste with a sprinkle of green to appease such as your self and others who want not to see where this is going.

The desperation in the argument in that the failure of this application will lead to a large waste management company buying the site and turning into a larger proposed site in the future. No doubt local residents have those now. This is somewhat to say naive at best. How do you know that there is not a large waste management company (possibly one from UK or Europe perhaps interested now!) just waiting in the wings ready to buy as soon as planning is accepted, keeping out of the picture till they need to immerge staying nicely quiet and uncontroversial, then where Billy Fergal's argument be? Where will we all be? Residents of Calder Valley and beyond.

Or even once planning has been passed the site sells to the highest bidder regardless if its waste company or mining company, all possibilities and probable, looking at the situation at hand.

Speaking from an hypothetical situation of course, I personally would get the plans and application passed as average man in the street, with good intentions and promise all sorts to people who assisted me in helping get through the minefield of planning and objectors, smooth the way so to speak, pacify all required groups with interest in area etc. Then sell. To the highest bidder. Simple.

Basic isn't it, then the large waste management company is away the door opened for nothing or at best poultry offerings of pacification, then all bets are off. The idea that this application is required to stop it or someone getting any bigger or larger on site by other waste companies is pathetic and weak. The hardest part is getting planning the easiest part is selling. Just where do you think the big companies get their sites? For sale boards.

As for the 106 agreements, tell me who controls the legal aspect? And what happens if/when breached? No control and enforcement in Calderdale will be interested if it costs the council money to take someone to court to up hold the legal side. I don't know enough about the mining side and history with this area, but my guess would be the mining companies who maybe or even are interested into getting a foothold in that area will no doubt be watching this application with eagle eyes and can move swiftly at the end to their advantage. Nice and easy like, no grief, even HGV movements are a commodity to be used and traded in an area in respect to interested sites.

Posted by Graeme Roberts
Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I've been trying to get my head round the main players in this smelly project and so far I've come up with the following.

Green Business Network (owned by Calderdale MBC and Kirklees) are project managers.

Harlequin / Treesponsibilty and TMRT ( Todmorden Moor Restoration Trust) are named as partners.

Green Business Network are dispensing cash in the form of Landfill tax credits to the partners see their website where they state: "The most recent projects that have benefited from GBN assistance under the LTCS are: A proposed 100,000 tonne 'Composting Hub' (Calderdale MBC/Onyx/Lancashire Waste Services)"

If this is true I think it's a shame these two local groups are prepared to sacrifice their long term credibility in the community for a quick boost to their bank balance and I hope one or both of them will be able to comment on it here.

Graeme Robert's message above has been amended in response to legal representations from the Green Business Network. We invite the Green Business Network to take part in this debate as there are clearly strong feelings about this matter. - webmaster

Yorkshire Post - Wednesday, May 11, 2005