Councillor acts as delivery boy for £1bn incinerator company

A senior Conservative councillor in Croydon has refused to answer questions about why he spent much of Saturday distributing leaflets in his ward, apparently as an overpaid delivery boy on behalf of multi-billion rubbish burners Viridor.

Delivery boy: Simon Hoar

Delivery boy: Simon Hoar

Simon Hoar, councillor in Waddon ward and the £43,339 a year member of Mike Fisher’s inner cabinet responsible for “community safety and public protection” (yes, the man who did such a bang-up job on the day of the riots in 2011), went door to door in his ward, pushing 12-page newsletters from Viridor through his residents’ letter boxes.

This leaflet drop comes just days before Viridor’s application to build a waste incinerator at Beddington Lane goes before Sutton Council on Wednesday evening, for the second time in a matter of weeks. Sutton councillors were split at the meeting last month and deferred the decision. The civil servants at Sutton Council are clearly very keen to push through the Viridor proposals, despite widespread, cross-party opposition in Sutton and Croydon.

Of course, the last time Hoar distributed leaflets in Waddon about the incinerator, just before the 2010 council election, it included his personal promise that he and his two Tory councillor colleagues for the ward, Clare Hilley and Tony Harris, would oppose the building of any incinerator, “in or near” the borough.

Croydon Tories' incinerator pledge from 2010: not worth the paper it was printed on

Croydon Tories’ incinerator pledge from 2010: not worth the paper it’s printed on

When it came to the vote, though, Hoar, Hilley and Harris and the rest of the Conservatives in control of Croydon Council backed the proposal for the incinerator, which will burn massive amounts of rubbish from four south-west London boroughs and further afield for the next quarter century.

We contacted Hoar to give him an opportunity to deny that he was distributing leaflets on behalf of Viridor.

Confirming his role in lobbying on behalf of Viridor, his terse response said that, “I think the Viridor leaflet is an excellent infosheet and lays out the full details and correct information about this important issue.” Councillor Hoar is not known to hold any particular qualifications in waste management or pollution issues.

Given Hoar’s previous incinerator leaflet’s utter unreliability, we asked him to “advise whether you believe the information in this latest incinerator leaflet is any more reliable than that which was contained in the last leaflet on this subject distributed in our ward by the Conservative party?”

Councillor Hoar did not answer this question.

We also asked Hoar to “clarify on what basis you undertook this distribution on Viridor’s behalf? Have they, perhaps, made any donations to worthy causes within the borough? Or contributed to Conservative party funds?”

Councillor Hoar did not answer this question.

There is a strong suggestion that this latest leaflet drop may be provided as evidence from Viridor that they have fulfilled requirements to properly consult the public over their plans.

The latest incinerator newsletter, distributed on behalf of Viridor by the pliant Tory councillor Simon Hoar and his mates

The latest incinerator newsletter, distributed on behalf of Viridor by the pliant Tory councillor Simon Hoar and his mates

With the planning meeting just a few days away, and with Sutton Council officers setting out some very restrictive rules about what subjects may or may not be raised and who may address the decisive meeting, the latest piece of publicity from Viridor – who have a £1billion 25-year public contract at stake here – contains some intriguing variations on the information that they have distributed previously.

Now Viridor says that the incinerator will generate “electricity”, when previously they had described the output as “heat energy”. They project that they will generate 26MW and say it will power 30,000 homes. Previously, they had claimed it would provide cheap power for 45,000 households.

Clearly concerned about the pollution their proposed plant will create, in the leaflets distributed by Tory Councillor Hoar at the weekend, Viridor now claim that carbon emissions will now be cut by 128,000 tonnes per year, instead of the 60,000 tonnes per year they had claimed previously. This seems to be a particularly large variation in their figures – more than double. Did they get their sums wrong before? Are these figures any more reliable this time?

One thing that this weekend showed is that the people of Waddon and of Croydon can rely upon: Conservative Councillor Simon Hoar is sure to prostitute himself and act on behalf of big business ahead of the interests and wishes of the residents who elected him.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Clare Hilley, Environment, Mike Fisher, Simon Hoar, Sutton Council, Tony Harris, Waddon, Waste incinerator and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Councillor acts as delivery boy for £1bn incinerator company

  1. Prostitution is a lucrative business.

    There are women/men who are forced into the business.

    There are women/men who choose this business.

    Whore is an emotional word that I have never used in this context.

    I would, however, use it in the context of a politician elected to serve his constituents when the politician does not exercise a duty of care for their health.

    In doubt (and there are many doubts about the effects of incineration), one should abstain from delivering leaflets peddling Viridor’s extraordinary figures.

    • dianebindman says:

      Councillor Hoar is well-named.

      He is clearly as venal as he is mendacious. He is happy to take a fat salary out of the public purse while assisting Viridor fwhen his first duty should be to the public.

      This man should never have been elected. He is not fit for office. He should resign or be summarily removed. He gives democracy a bad name.

  2. This is a really important issue that requires the highest level of understanding, transparency, and debate. Our councillors need to represent the electorate’s interests in a balanced and informed manner. If councillors cannot do that then they should stand down.

    We sat at a meeting in Sutton without one councillor from Croydon’s ruling party present, whilst Sutton Council Officers outlined how there would be no real problems of pollution for Sutton as everything would be blown into Croydon….

    Croydon is not a dustbin, nor should any part of it be used as a place to shunt all our neighbours’ problems from traffic congestion to air pollution.

    One of the Sutton councillors spoke very well about how badly people had been served by their elected representatives – how right he was…

  3. I am not, by inclination, a conspiracy theorist: in politics particularly, I am generally more inclined to believe in cock-up.

    But I’m prepared to make an exception in this case.

    A Labour government gives waste companies carte blanche to bring forward plans for incinerators with an indication of minimal interference from local authorities.

    Subsequently we discover we don’t need as many incinerators as we thought we might.

    Nonetheless, a Conservative government makes no attempt to change the indication and encourages colleagues from local government to abandon written promises to the electorate.

    And the outstanding questions are: Who promised what to whom? And how much changed hands?

    • dianebindman says:

      Is Councillor Hoar living up to his name or did he assist Viridor out of the kindness of his heart?

  4. The Sutton councillor who referred to how badly people had been served by their elected representatives was a Tory!

    Difficult to comprehend in Croydon where the quality of politicians is below par.

    The only hope Croydon has is to get rid of them all and start from scratch.

  5. Arfur Towcrate says:

    Simon Hoar is – in my experience – a good local councillor, prepared to give up his time to deal with constituents and use his influence to get things done. It’s therefore sad to see him stoop so low.

  6. slightspirit says:

    The actions of this despicable person reinforces my opinions of nearly all politicians which due to libel laws can’t be written here …

  7. derekthrower says:

    Hey! Don’t let them put you off from biting the hand that wants to dump toxic particulates over your constituents Mr Hoar!

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