Last year Councillor Michael Clare, Lead Member Environment, Housing and Transport on South Tyneside Council, declared that no waste incinerator would be built in South Tyneside.
In today's Sunderland Echo, we have a bit of a revelation:
"Secret documents seen by the Echo reveal officials are looking into burning the city's rubbish, along with Gateshead's and South Tyneside's, to create energy in the way power stations generate electricity by burning coal and gas."
Otherwise known as incineration. But not to worry South Tynesiders, Coun Clare is there to protect us. Or perhaps not.
Fiona Brown, project director for the Waste Management Partnership, said:
"... a number of possible sites for the waste treatment facility have been identified in all three council areas, but the partnership could not reveal the locations for "commercial reasons" in case the land had to be bought."
All three council areas.
To be honest we don't really know what's going on. The three councils involved have buttoned up the waste strategy under the cloak of commercial confidentiality. Several Freedom of Information requests have been rejected. Not to protect the commercial interests of the companies involved - but to protect the three councils.
Sunderland council is debating the strategy tomorrow, and council papers issued in advance suggest that the public may be asked to leave the public gallery during the debate.
Local democracy in action.
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