Incinerator campaigners ask: WHO is Gavin Barwell?

Jean Lambert, the Green party’s Member of the European Parliament for London, has joined a protest against the proposed incinerator in Beddington.

Local residents and campaigners join Jean Lambert MEP at Beddington this week

Local residents and campaigners join Jean Lambert MEP at Beddington this week

Visiting a primary school next to the proposed incinerator site on Friday, Lambert contradicted Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell’s assertion that the Beddington Lane incinerator is safe for health.

Adopting a convenient line that ignorance is bliss, Barwell has told residents expressing concern about the health risks of setting fire to waste downwind of Croydon that, “I am not aware of any scientific evidence that modern energy from waste plants of this sort pose a risk to human health.”

Lambert says that is not the case – there is indeed evidence of health risks caused by the industrial burning of millions of tons of rubbish from across south London and southern England. “There is an issue of very fine particulates,” Lambert said.

The nano particles accumulating in our lungs and those of our children cause Lambert great concern. “There is a growing body of evidence from the World Health Organisation that those small particulates do actually have a health effect,” Lambert said.

It is not known whether Barwell is “aware” of the World Health Organisation.

Voters may be nervous of accepting the Conservative MP’s reassurances about the lack of health risks arising from the new incinerator after local Tories’s promises to “oppose any incinerator being built in Croydon or on the border of Sutton” before the elections in 2010, which was broken by 2011.

For Lambert, incinerator schemes being built in densely populated residential areas is too great a risk for public health. “The evidence is beginning to stack up that the accumulation of those very, very small particulates in the air really can damage your health,” Lambert said.

Even the volume of traffic, with heavy lorries bringing the tons of rubbish to the site for burning, is expected to have a damaging impact on local roads and those who live nearby.

The full interview with Lambert can be heard on Andrew Pelling’s Croydon Matters programme on Croydon Radio at 3pm next Sunday, February 17.

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3 Responses to Incinerator campaigners ask: WHO is Gavin Barwell?

  1. Mary Wolf says:

    Mr Barwell is quoted as saying that there may not be risks from ‘modern energy’. What is NOT in the quote is any reference to the risks around producing the energy. The evidence you refer to is about the fallout, literally, of the method of production not about the energy itself. Mr Barwell may, indeed, have meant to say what you think he said, and/or he may have been misquoted BUT there is a further possibility – that this is a politician’s careful use of language.

    • Do you mean like careful use of language such as “whilst Croydon Conservative control the council, there will be not be an incinerator (or anything similar) in Croydon”? Knowing that they were backing a scheme to build in Beddington Lane, just across the borough boundary in Sutton.

  2. This is far too important a matter for party politics. Croydon already has some dreadful statistics for infant mortality, on a par with some third World countries; and some wards with some of the lowest adult life expectancies in the UK. We must join together to make every aspect of Croydon citizen’s lives healthy and to minimise the impact of waste.
    As well as stopping the incinerator: we need to improve air quality through reducing and rationalsising traffic flows; we also need to maximise recycling in order to reduce the need for landfill and incinerators at all.

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