David Pugh’s anti-asphalt plant scaremongering claim challenged

On The Wight reader challenges Cllr Pugh to substantiate his concerns against anti-asphalt plant campaigners.

David Pugh

On The Wight reader James Luke got in touch with us yesterday. He explained that after hearing leader of the council, David Pugh, accuse residents against the asphalt plant application at Medina Wharf of scaremongering earlier in the month, he emailed the councillor asking him to substantiate his concerns.

Having not heard back from Cllr Pugh, he sent an ‘open letter’ to the County Press asking for them to include it on the letters page. Unfortunately for James, who lives in Northwood, his letter didn’t appear, so we told him we’d be happy to run it here.

Mr Pugh

I listened with interest to your comments on IW Radio.

I am one of those who is strongly opposed to the Asphalt Plant so was naturally concerned when you suggested that the facts were not being accurately represented. I think the term “scaremongering” was used?

As a PhD Scientist with 20 years of industrial engineering experience, I have worked through the documentation supplied by the Applicant in detail. I have also taken the time to review independent 3rd party data from organisations such as the World Health Organisation (e.g. WHO report). This is just one example of the background reading that myself and others are undertaking in order to ensure our representations are accurate.

I would therefore be very grateful if you could point me at specific examples of scaremongering in the objections? Perhaps you could explain exactly which of the reasons (health, noise, visual impact, odour, dust, economic impact) for objection you dispute? Are there any 3rd party reports (not paid for by the Applicant) that you believe more accurately address the issues being raised?

Many thanks, James Luke

Pugh: Problem with artist impression
In advance of receiving James’ letter, we had previously got in touch with Cllr Pugh after hearing about his accusations, because like James, we were interested to know exactly what he meant. He told On The Wight, “As I said on the radio, it has been suggested by some of the campaigners (on their website) that a vast yellow structure was an indication of what it was going to look like.

“I understand that it’s not proposed to look anything like that at all. Publishing pictures of a huge plant that bears absolutely no relation to what is proposed is scaremongering and does not assist in having a balanced and informed debate.

“Planning is a quasi-judicial process and this means that the council and councillors must take a balanced view, listen to both sides of the argument and then make a reasoned judgement. That has to be based on the facts of this particular proposal, rather than what may or may not have happened in other places over the years with asphalt plants and such facilities.”

WRAP: “Never intended as a true representation”
Julia Hill from WRAP Medina – the anti-asphalt plant group that Cllr Pugh referred to as ‘scaremongering’ – told On The Wight, “The image was titled an artist’s impression of an asphalt plant on the Medina and was created as an obviously caricature style picture at the beginning of May.

“It was never intended as a true representation and any one with any common sense will have taken it in context. If the only fault councillor Pugh can find with our information is a satirical image then this again illustrates the strength of our argument and weakness of an application which circa 1000 people have found fault with.”

Image removed as soon as Eurovia released theirs
She went on to say, “It goes to highlight how lacking in detail the application has been, as Eurovia failed to provide an image until August. Our image was removed from the Facebook page as soon as Eurovia released an image of their own and has been removed from the Website, as WRAP do not and have never intended to mislead.

“The image Eurovia have provided shows mature 25 year tree growth and is from the perspective of the river several hundred yards from the plant from river level. The visual impact from Hawthorn meadows, Whippingham will be far more significant than their image implies. We would also like to highlight that WRAP is a residents group made up of local people giving their own time. We are not for profit. All information on the website is based upon sound, verifiable research.”

Source

Tuesday, 23rd October, 2012 6:02pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2ab8

Filed under: Cowes, East Cowes, Green Issues, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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57 Comments on "David Pugh’s anti-asphalt plant scaremongering claim challenged"

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JamesP

“the council and councillors must take a balanced view, listen to both sides of the argument and then make a reasoned judgement”

Really? Who knew..?

Keith Eldridge
I too wrote to Mr Pugh 3 weeks ago (via IW radio on the day of his interview) to ask him his views about the quality of the data contained in Eurovia’s application. I have not had a reply, or even an acknowledgement back and so sent him a further e-mail today asking for his comments. I also pointed out to Mr Pugh in this e-mail the… Read more »
Keith Eldridge

To update my previous post I had an e-mail from EcoIsland (EI) – they say that whilst they did have ‘…initial conversations with Cratus…the relationship was never formalised.’ Their reply continues, ‘I can confirm that we(EI)have neither employed or paid Cratus…’

No reply from Cratus yet(after 2 emails and 11 days) about their role with Infinergy.

peaceful_life

Mr Davis must of jumped to conclusions at some point…..

http://issuu.com/kevinjdavis/docs/cratus_energy_leaflet_web

It’s not a bull on the front of the leaflet by the way…….

random bloke
I actually agree with Pugh on one point. Publishing an inaccurate picture, even a satirical artists impression, before the official picture was released was if not scaremongering, very close to it. Having said that, Eurovia are guilty of gross incompetence in not releasing a picture earlier, and apparently not being honest about various things which have now been highlighted by the Environmental Health department. All in all,… Read more »
Black Dog
Councillor Pugh has more complaints made against him for not responding to letters and emails than any other councillor. This is a well known fact which can be verified by the relevant officer. This is classic boy blunder behaviour. This clearly highlights his obvious lack of talent and demonstrates his inability to manage his office, let alone his position as leader of the council. This leads me… Read more »
Island Monkey

The consultancy must take up a lot of his time these days? As you say, advising on education issues is a complex subject when you are in charge of England’s worst performing education area.

downwind resident
I just don’t understand why Cllr Pugh used the word ‘scaremongering’when WRAP were simply portraying a real photograph of the enormous proposed asphalt plant (Starbatch 2000)http://www.phoenixtransworld.com/products/starbatch#3 using photomontage to show how it might look (if heaven forbid planning permission were ever granted)on the banks of the lovely River Medina being used by children in kayaks right next to Sites of Special Scientific Interest(SSSI). I don’t think WRAP… Read more »
random bloke

Im puzzled as to how WRAP can portray a “Real photograph” of something which hasnt yet been built. No matter how much computer trickery is used to superimpose this on that, no-one can know how it will look until the architects release their plans.

downwind resident

look on the Phoenix website…these are off the shelf asphalt plants

random bloke
I did. It still doesnt change the fact that the architects picture will be more accurate than some photoshopping. Yes, it will show the plant from the best angle, and may attempt to hide details using various devices, and thats when an alternative picture should be released. When Eurovia released a picture drawn from river level with mature tree growth, WRAP should then have released an alternative… Read more »
downwind resident

Just read the ‘story’ and note that Eurovia didn’t want to worry the public during planning consultation with its ‘vision’ and scurrilously waited several months before doing so at a meeting forced upon it by an unbelieving public.

Black Dog
Let us get down to basics, If yo were planning an extension to your house (let alone an Asphalt Plant) you will have to produce a street view to help planners, councillors and potentially affected neighbours. This allows all interested to make informed judgements. WRAP I am sure would not have published their image if the application had provided the necessary images in the first instance. Questions… Read more »
Keith Eldridge
I received a reply today from Mr Pugh (DP) (3 weeks after my first e-mail regarding Eurovia’s data in their application and 24 hours after this story appeared on On the Wight and the sending of my second e-mail asking about conflict of interest(s) given his dual roles.) In the reply to my first e-mail DP said, amongst other things ‘Planning is a quasi-judicial process and this… Read more »
James Luke
Anyone employed by a company has a vested interest in its profits so Councillor Pugh cannot claim to have no interest in the broader activities of Cratus. In addition, surely he meets and converses with his colleagues from time to time? It is unacceptable to say that there is no conflict of interest. It is also disturbing that he questions your “creative” efforts to demonstrate a link.… Read more »
Black Dog
Pugh is up to his eyes in it. Why would a company employ him to advise on education, have they not read his CV and looked at his achievements on the island as far as education is concerned? Always read between the lines when you read anything from Pugh, there are several indicators that suggest he knows more of Cratus’ involvement here. Do we now what he… Read more »
Cynic
(from the Cratus website) “Wise developers often ask for pre-acquisition reports from planners and environmental consultants. With new Localism Act now in place (and a requirement to consult), Cratus strongly recommends developers now undertake pre-acquisition research on the political and community issues that they might face. Every piece of land or an existing buildings has a planning history but they also have a political or community context.… Read more »
Cynic
Could somebody please rationalise the following statements for me? “To update my previous post I had an e-mail from EcoIsland (EI) – they say that whilst they did have ‘…initial conversations with Cratus…the relationship was never formalised.’ Their reply continues, ‘I can confirm that we(EI)have neither employed or paid Cratus…” http://onthewight.com/2012/10/23/david-pughs-anti-asphalt-plant-scaremongering-claim-challenged/ (Keith Eldridge 25/10/2012) “Eco-Island appoint CRATUS to help their Political to help their Political Engagement and… Read more »
tryme
We have got used to Jon being very (sometimes fiercely) protective of David Pugh & other past & present council luminaries. No doubt there is no connection with the importance of shaping/ stamping on public perceptions in the run-up to the next IWC elections. After all, why would anyone in Island politics think OTW is influential? Well, it is, & I would be concerned to have a… Read more »
Island Monkey

Has ‘Jon’ ever written anything critical of DP or IOW council?

No, I didn’t think so.

No.5

So what…it called an opinion and is personal…

Jon is often critical of this council and indirectly pugh….maybe he just doesn’t like to make personal attacks

random bloke
I think Pugh is incompetent, makes foolish decisions, couldnt run a p*ss up in a brewery let alone a council, and shouldnt be in the job after the elections next year. However, he is actually quite a nice bloke, if not very good at his job. In this case I think he has a point. Tryme, Im not sure how I have been “fiercely protective” of Pugh.… Read more »
James Luke
The really important point here is that the accusation of scaremongering is based on a single mocked up photo? I take it that Councillor Pugh is fine with the concerns we have raised about: 1. health issues resulting from the emissions from the plant. 2. dust. 3. noise. 4. odour. 5. impact on the traffic between Cowes and Newport. 6. economic impact – direct loss of jobs.… Read more »
Black Dog

Keep going Mr. Luke. You have raised many concerns, yet unanswered, by the Boy Blunder.

We must hold this council to account and if necessary WRAP must instruct lawyers to proceed to a Judicial Review if the application is proved.

Do we know if there has been an impact assessment carried out?

downwind resident
It’s the cancer from the carcinogenic coal tar in the old road scrapings being recycled which is the main health issue. Who in their right mind thought that transporting these dangerous old road scrapings across the island to bring them to a highly populated area for crushing and mixing with aggregate would be a quiet and healthy prospect for the Medina Valley? How can the IW Council… Read more »
Mike Starke
Let us not forget Eurovia is part of the Vinci empire. Let us not forget that Vinci is in charge of our highways PFI contract for the next two-and-a-half decades. Let us also not forget the last-minute addition of “investment fund” Meridiam as 50:50 partners in this project. Let us not forget Meridiam was founded all of five years ago, specifically to trade in PFI funding and… Read more »
James Luke
Interesting that a major international Corporation, backed by a private equity firm, both (I’m sure) full to the brim with lawyers and risk managers have signed a 25 year contract that they may not be able to deliver on unless the planning application is approved. Councillor Pugh has today stated very clearly, “there are no dependencies within the PFI contract relating to the planning application for the… Read more »
downwind resident
So the IW Council have signed a contract with a life of a quarter of a century with a company that doesn’t have the ability to perform it because they do not have an asphalt plant and are seriously unlikely to ever have one on the basis of their flawed planning application and simply ridiculous choice of location. Could it be that now the IW council have… Read more »
James Luke
Well, let’s start by quoting Councillor Pugh who states that his consideration of the application, “has to be based on the facts of this particular proposal, rather than what may or may not have happened in other places over the years with asphalt plants and such facilities.” This is a standard Government approach to decisions that explains why a company can fail to deliver multiple times yet… Read more »
random bloke
Pugh is 100% right to say that. If you had a job interview, should your success or lack of be based on the person who previously held the job, or any of the other applicants? of course not. Planning, or refusal of, should be based on the evidence available in the application, environmental, visual, audible impact, and other things directly related to the proposal. Taking into consideration… Read more »
downwind resident
Although it was interesting I have to disagree with the validity of your interview comparison Jon. How the applicant has performed in previous occupations is a critical consideration in the determination of a successful candidate for the a position. Thus Eurovia who have other asphalt plants (I hope) should have been expected to demonstrate by real data from real life operations how ‘wonderful’ their proposed plant will… Read more »
Cynic

@jon “If you had a job interview, should your success or lack of be based on the person who previously held the job, or any of the other applicants? of course not.”

But should not the applicant’s own performance (i.e. Eurovia’s) in similar situations be taken into consideration? How much research has been done on the impact of similar Eurovia asphalt plants? Where is it published?

random bloke
yep, thats fair enough. But what Pugh is saying is that Eurovias proposal should not be judged by the validity or lack of at the Bardon Vectis site, or previous activity on that site. Downwind Resident, you misunderstand. Of course a job interviewer should take previous employment into account. I was saying that they should not take other applicants, or the previous occupant of the job into… Read more »
wightywight
@Jon: QUOTE: “But what Pugh is saying is that Eurovias proposal should not be judged by the validity or lack of at the Bardon Vectis site, or previous activity on that site” Eh….! Where does he say that? Where does he say ANYTHING about Bardon Vectis? He does say that *it* (decision) has to be based on it’s own facts. No more, no less. Of course, it… Read more »
random bloke
“has to be based on the facts of this particular proposal, rather than what may or may not have happened in other places over the years with asphalt plants and such facilities.” Now that sounds a lot like he is talking about Bardon Vectis to me. He could be talking about other Eurovia plants elsewhere. I beleive he is talking about the Bardon Vectis site. And yes,… Read more »
wightywight
@Jon: QUOTE: “Now that sounds a lot like he is talking about Bardon Vectis to me. He could be talking about other Eurovia plants elsewhere. I beleive he is talking about the Bardon Vectis site.” :0) So, he’ is not “saying…etc. ” you are saying what you *believe* he is saying…..that’s an altogether different proposition. Fact is, of course, he doesn’t mention Bardon Vectis. …and there you… Read more »
random bloke
I made it perfectly clear what was my opinion. Learn to read. I am really sick of you trying to rip apart every other comment anyone makes. Grow up. You are suggesting that councillors smoothed the planning process. That would be illegal. Why can it not be so that the PFI was signed without that? You and several others hark on and on about how incompetent the… Read more »
tryme
It certainly does sound as though Pugh is incompetent & makes foolish decisions, to quote a commenter here, & even that sounds like putting a positive spin on it. Those contributors who are clearly highly informed paint a remarkable & shocking picture of what is going on, & I’m very much afraid that financial self interest is the dominant driver here, rather than the benefit of the… Read more »
random bloke

positive spin? saying he is incompetent and makes foolish decisions is a positive spin? seriously? what planet do you live on?

JohnR
Whilst not wishing to too envolved in this argument I feel that it would have been more prudent if Eurovia had presented the application in a more honest and complete way. ie: Presented a full independant enviromental report with the application, this would have given the public a better view of things before a lot of the accuastions started flying around. The other point about the traffic… Read more »
James Luke
Eurovia have tried to spin this line on the traffic between Cowes and Newport and it simply isn’t true: 1. moving the raw material (i.e. importing the aggregate) requires fewer trucks as the volume of material is less (the final Asphalt product includes other materials). 2. aggregate can be moved at off peak times and stockpiled whereas the Asphalt product can only be moved at times dictated… Read more »
Black Dog

It did strike me that the sewer works, allegedly for a supermarket, represents quite a long road closure programme. One might ask what else is planned for the area???

tryme

And Eurovia not providing past & present evidence both of their own & from others’ experience, is inexcusable. This project is not something we should be expected to take on trust, how ludicrous is that…

Once the Island is properly despoiled & new illness takes root, these people will find a nice, untouched place somewhere else to retire to, with our money!

random bloke

it strikes me that no-one here is actually for the asphalt plant. we are simply arguing about why we should be against it. how sad.

Stewart Blackmore

I think that what needs to be established is this:

If the PFI contract is NOT dependent on the proposed asphalt plant being built, and the Bardon plant is not big enough (or Vinci will not buy it from Bardon), where is the asphalt being produced and how are they getting it to the Island roads?

downwind resident

Two points here;

one, the new BV plant is sized at 160,000 tons per annum of high quality asphalt in a brand new plant more than enough for the PFI.
http://www.iwight.com/council/departments/planning/appsdip/AppDetails3.aspx?frmId=25144

two, the import of hot asphalt in heated lorries is not without precedent for the building of island roads over the past half a century

James Luke

If Eurovia are genuinely confident that the plant will not impact local residents then they could put in place a compensation package along the same lines as that proposed for HS2 => http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20078270

That would certainly reassure residents that the “new type” of plant is as harmless as they suggest!

downwind resident
I can’t agree with you on this one Dr.Luke. My family is not interested in compensation we just don’t wish to be subject to the very real probability of bad health caused by the asphalt plant. The only way to prevent (not mitigate or compensate) the awful health issues is for the IW Planning Committee to refuse planning permission for this abomination. We do not wish to… Read more »
James Luke
I fully agree with you and am not suggesting for one moment that a compensation scheme would make this appalling application acceptable. My point is simply that if Eurovia genuinely believe their own claims then they should have no concerns about under writing the risk. In reality, the won’t because they know as well as we do that all the evidence tells us that the health risks… Read more »
tryme

Yes, if Eurovia isn’t prepared to put their money where their mouth is, it shows they don’t believe their own publicity….

downwind resident

Has anyone noticed that the Eurovia team have been marking the comments this evening?

Well I just hope they read them first!

This could be a good moment for them to withdraw their planning application before the whole issue becomes national and beyond.

Cynic
La Hofton leaps boldly into the fray on the proposed Eurivia asphalt plant. However she prioritises discussing how asphalt should be pronounced rather than giving an opinion on whether it should go ahead. It’s a bit like delaying discussion on the Holocaust until it is decided if the first two syllables are pronounced “holl-loe” or “hoe-loe”! One wonders why the CP editor wasted newsprint on such a… Read more »
downwind resident

Don’t worry not many people would open up the Weekender Section and far less would read it! Unless they were looking for photos of family members at a fete.

Her opinions are not exactly a hot spot for intelligent people.

tryme

So they have, how childish!

James Luke
Quasi-Judicial? I just found this in the Code of Conduct for Councillors in Kirklees ( http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/you-kmc/constitution/codes/code6.pdf ). 3.1 Planning is not a quasi-judicial process. It is an administrative decision making process, which must be carried out in accordance with relevant statutory requirements. Councillors who sit on planning committees cannot therefore be expected to have the same strict level of independence and impartiality as judges or quasi-judges who… Read more »
Black Dog

Scaremongering? where is the Boy Blunder now and why has he not commented on this evidence?

Pugh it is best you resign now rather than face the embarrassment of an election defeat. NO! NO! what am I saying I want to witness you clearing your desk out and being escorted off the premises.