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Opinion

Peter Lamb: Opposing the Horsham incinerator

In his article this week, the leader of Crawley Borough Council urges locals to voice their opinions on the proposed Horsham incinerator.

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Toxic chemicals pumped into Crawley’s air supply would make headlines, you’d assume. Unfortunately, like other important decisions, people tend to only become aware of an issue after the decision has already been taken.

Next Tuesday, West Sussex County Council’s Planning Committee will be ruling on an application for a 24-hour incinerator with a 93 metre chimney to be built. While the structure itself would be built in Horsham, the wind direction would scatter much of the material over Crawley and that’s the worry.

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In theory, a well-regulated incinerator could remove most toxic material from its exhaust, but the UK’s regulatory regime is weak and that leaves claims about the safety of the technology highly suspect.

Crawley’s air quality is poor, with an Air Quality Management Area already in place around the worst affected part of the town. Campaigners estimate that the new incinerator will put out an additional 162,000kg of nitrous oxide alone into our air supply. When better alternatives to burning waste exist, we shouldn’t allow our health to be put at risk.

“YOUR HEALTH ISN’T A COMMODITY TO BE SOLD OFF”

So what can you do about it? Write to Planning members and encourage others to do likewise, let them know what you think about the proposed incinerator’s risks. Fortunately the committee’s chair is Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley’s Conservatives and County Councillor for Tilgate and Furnace Green, who will hopefully be open to protecting Crawley’s air quality.

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Next, try and make it along to the Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday. Unfortunately, they’ve refused to have the meeting near to where the incinerator would be built, so the meeting will be taking place in Chichester. Finally, sign and share this petition, to show the level of opposition to the proposals: http://www.change.org/p/no-incinerator-4-horsham

Your health isn’t a commodity to be sold off, let’s hope the committee remembers that next week.

Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council

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Opinion

Mayor Carlos Castro: Easing Crawley’s Post-Brexit fears

In his article, the Crawley Mayor talks about an event held in Broadfield to allow ‘many unanswered questions’ to be put forward to officials: providing some Post-Brexit clarity for Crawley’s Portuguese community.

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On July 14th, I had the pleasure to work with the Portuguese Consulate to bring clarity to the Portuguese community living in Crawley and surrounding areas regarding their rights Post Brexit.

There has been a lot of unanswered questions since the referendum from the Community and after taking the Mayor’s Office May 18th, bringing peace of mind to EU nationals was on top of my to do list.

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The Portuguese Consulate Officers were in attendance at the Mayor Making and coincidently they had the same idea in mind. It was that night that we started to make plans on how, where and when we could put this event together.

The event took place at the Broadfield Community Centre at 3pm. We had in attendance over 100 local residents, somehow only Labour Councillors in attendance, and a journalist reporting to the Journal de Noticias (Portuguese newspaper) and it was here that many unanswered questions were given a chance to be put forward to officials.

Sadly, within a couple of hours of this event starting, it became a political target! A Facebook post and later on the Crawley Observer, it stated that this event was being called as a way of scaring EU Nationals, that there was nothing to be afraid and called my efforts playing politics. Since when is putting your residents first a “political gain”! The role of Councillor is to help all constituents and as a human being embrace diversity.

Such statements were not only an insult to the community, but also a disrespect to the work of the Government Officials who came down from London to speak to these residents in aid of clarifying their doubts and worries.

The same way, giving someone a website to visit and fill out a complex application isn’t all that there is to getting “settled status”! Many questions referred to divorced parents, custody matters and which parent can do what, as well as how the Consulate will be or not be able to play a role in helping its Nationals with the process. We also had questions from residents who already have resident status and would they need to apply as well and those who may struggle with the language.

So telling residents that there is nothing to worry about when their own party started this, is absolutely ridiculing those who fear Post Brexit. A better man would have empathy, a better politician would have a better interest in his community.

This event was so well attended and well received by many, I now plan to put together another event where all of EU residents can attend and be offered the same opportunity to be given peace of mind. I urge everyone to share this news with your EU co-workers, neighbours, friends, family to get in touch. Together we can face this beast and keep what I call Post-Brexit fears away.

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