What evidence does Croydon Borough Council have which demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that emissions from Beddington Lane incinerator will not harm health?

Michael Ryan made this Freedom of Information request to Croydon Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Croydon Borough Council did not have the information requested.

Dear Croydon Borough Council,

It's extremely easy to claim that emissions from incinerators will not harm health, but when those who make such a claim are asked to provide evidence of "lack of harm" they are unable to provide any.

Your residents will heavily exposed to emissions from the Beddington Lane incinerator and it's likely that your Council has made an effort to determine
what health effects are likely to be experienced and I'd be grateful if you'd disclose all findings.

There's been considerable press interest in the incinerator.

http://www.croydonguardian.co.uk/news/10...

The following Croydon Guardian letter of mine (13 February 2013) is very important as it refers to an upsurge in infant death rates in Boroughs exposed to emissions from SELCHP incinerator.

http://www.croydonguardian.co.uk/yoursay...

Lyn Brown MP is concerned about SELCHP incinerator which started in 1993:

Infant Mortality: Newham

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the trends in infant mortality rates in Newham. [137790]
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa...

(Lyn Brown MP: Hansard, 18 January 2013, Column 945W)

Incinerators: Greater London
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had on the potential effects on human health in Newham of the operation of the South East London Combined Heat and Power incinerator. [137767]

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa...

(Lyn Brown MP, Hansard, 22 January 2013, Column 142W)

The substitution of clean North Sea Gas for toxic "town gas" meant far less exposure to airborne pollution for mush of the UK and that was reflected in falling infant death rates.

"At national level in England and Wales, infant mortality rates fell rapidly from the early 1970s and into the 1980s. Subnational areas have also experienced a reduction in levels of infant mortality. ...continues"

(Geographical trends in infant mortality: England and Wales, 1970-2006.
Health Stat Q. 2008 Winter;(40):18-29.}

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19093...

The following Liverpool Echo letter and graph explain more about what's happened in London and been overlooked.

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/[email address].-a0357065225

SUGGESTING that incinerator emissions don't harm health is very easy (Liverpool Echo, 25 January 2014).

But providing evidence of "lack of harm" has so far eluded the Environment Agency, Health Protection Agency and also Veolia's legal team at the Shrewsbury incinerator public inquiry in 2011, where Dr Dick van Steenis was my expert witness.

Infant mortality rates are accurate indicators of the health of a community and a rapid fall in rates in England and Wales followed the switch to the cleaner North Sea Gas- but no causal link was apparently made between the two events.

In December 2012 the Office for National Statistics kindly released the 1970-2010 infant mortality rates for all London boroughs and I doubt if any of the above can offer any explanation, other than changing levels of airborne pollution, for the similar, falling rates in the boroughs of Wandsworth, Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets prior to the start-up of the SELCHP (South East London Combined Heat and Power) incinerator in 1993 and the sudden rise in rates in the three boroughs most exposed to emissions from SELCHP, while the rate in 'upwind' Wandsworth continued to fall.

Michael Ryan, Shrewsbury

http://ukhr.eu/incineration/selchp.htm

Note the following claim made in 2007 by the man who is now Chairman of the Environment Agency:

"But Chris Smith, of the Government’s Environmental Protection Directorate, said no permit would be issued to an incinerator operator if a health risk was likely." (South London Press, 4 May 2007)

http://www.st-ig.co.uk/south_london_pres...

Yours faithfully,

Michael Ryan

Freedom of Information, Croydon Borough Council

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Freedom of Information, Croydon Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Ryan

Freedom of Information Request

Please see attached the council's response to your Freedom of Information
request.

Yours sincerely

Lynda Fay
FOI Coordinator
Croydon Council

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Dear Croydon Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Croydon Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'What evidence does Croydon Borough Council have which demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that emissions from Beddington Lane incinerator will not harm health?'.

The response given refers to the approval or lack of objection of various public bodies to the incinerator - none of whom have checked relevant data around any existing incinerators.

If Croydon Borough Council has no evidence of "lack of harm to health", then that should have been clearly stated in the FoI response.

There have been plenty of articles in the media recently about the air pollution and smog in London and elsewhere, but only one publication mentioned the fact that emissions from incinerators add to the pollution. Private Eye No. 1364 (18 April - 1 May 2014) has the following at the end of "Pollution: Desert storm" (page 31):

"Clearly with all the emissions from our buses, taxis and other wheezing diesel engines, industrial installations and incinerators (see Eye 1311), Britain needs no help from Saharan "foreign dust" to exceed dangerous pollution limits."

The following is at the end of Simon Edge's Daily Express article, 18 April 2014:

"ICELAND Finally, just in case you think a hot climate is a prerequisite for living to a ripe old age, spare a thought for this chilly volcanic island in the North Atlantic.

Low levels of common conditions such as heart disease and depression are linked to a daily diet rich in fish oil. But the key factor in Europe's most sparsely populated country may also be energy.

Most of Iceland's power is geothermal, harnessing the heat of Earth, which means there is no need for oil or gas power stations and there is a lower level of pollution than in other Western countries."

("The secret to a long life? Live in Dorset, Japan or Monaco

WITH news that people born in Dorset can expect to survive well into their 80s we look at other populations around the world renowned for their longevity", by Simon Edge, Daily Express, 18 April 2014)

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life...

Remember that the widespread and significant reduction in exposure to toxic "town gas" following the switch to North Sea Gas was followed by a rapid fall in infant mortality rates.

Dr William Brend knew almost a century ago that air pollution was the driving factor for infant mortality:

“Brend expresses astonishment that in 1914 the miserably poor and illiterate of the county of Roscommon in the West of Ireland had the lowest infant mortality rate in the British Isles. He runs through various probable causes of infant mortality, i.e., poverty, bad housing, poor diet, lack of skilled medical attention, maternal ignorance, and cannot believe that these are more operative in urban than in rural areas. Hence he was led logically to the conclusion that the higher urban mortality must be due to the polluted state of the atmosphere.”

(BREND, W. A. Infant Mortality. Med. Res. Council Spec. Rept. Ser.No. 10. H. M. Stationery Office, 1917.)

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/24/4/4...

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition24: APRIL 1971, pp. 480-487. Printed in U.S.A.

Here's a map which was one of several I'd prepared for a lecture at Costessey High School, Norwich in January 2007 and text showing concern at elevated rates of infant mortality downwind of incinerators:

http://www.ukwin.org.uk/files/pdf/HAGATI...

Here's more about the impact of North Sea Gas on infant mortality rates from page 5 of the Big Issue in the North article "Something in the air" by Mark Metcalf (31 March - 6 April 2014).

Remember also that the switch to North Sea Gas and fall in infant mortality rates exposes the convenient myth that low socioeconomic status causes high rates of infant mortality.

"At national level in England and Wales, infant mortality rates fell rapidly from the early 1970s and into the 1980s. Subnational areas have also experienced a reduction in levels of infant mortality."

Geographical trends in infant mortality: England and Wales, 1970-2006. (Health Stat Q. 2008 Winter;(40):18-29.)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19093...

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

Yours faithfully,

Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan left an annotation ()

Here's the link to the Big Issue in the North article by Mark Metcalf (31 March - 6 April 2014):

http://writemark.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/...

Passman, Howard, Croydon Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Ryan

 

Thank you for your email dated 21 April 2014, in which you requested an
internal review of the Council’s response to your request for information.

 

I will be conducting the internal review and will endeavour to provide a
response within the statutory timescales; that is no later than 23 May
 2014.  However, if for any reason there is a need to extend the time for
the review I will contact you before that date.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Howard Passman

Democratic & Legal Services
Chief Executive's Department
Annexe 4,

Bernard Weatherill House

8 Mint Walk

Croydon

Surrey

CR0 1EA

020 8726 6000 ext. 62318

www.croydon.gov.uk

www.croydononline.org

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01CB596C.6115F4C0

 

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Passman, Howard, Croydon Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Ryan,

 

Further to your email dated 21 April 2014 in which you requested an
Internal Review of the Council’s response to your request for information,
I have now concluded the review and am able to reply as follows.  Please
accept my apologies for the delay in replying to you.

 

In your request for an Internal Review you asked the Council to reconsider
your request as you believed that you had not been provided with the
information that you requested.  In your request for information by e-mail
dated 27 March 2014 you requested the following information:

 

“What evidence does Croydon Borough Council have which demonstrates beyond
reasonable doubt that emissions from Beddington Lane incinerator will not
harm health?”

 

The Council responded to you on 16 April, 2014, provided you with the
following information:

 

“There were a number of organisations involved with this planning
application including the EA, GLA, Planning, PHE all were consulted and
the many documents and responses would have been sent to and co-ordinated
through Sutton Planning including a Health Impact Assessment.

 

“All of the related documents are available as part of the planning
application and open to the public through Sutton Council.”

 

In your request for an Internal Review dated, 21 April 2014, you stated
that the Council had had not answered the substantive, as to whether or
not it held the requested information:

 

“I am writing to request an internal review of Croydon Borough Council's
handling of my FOI request 'What evidence does Croydon Borough Council
have which demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that emissions from
Beddington Lane incinerator will not harm health?'.

 

The response given refers to the approval or lack of objection of various
public bodies to the incinerator - none of whom have checked relevant data
around any existing incinerators.

 

If Croydon Borough Council has no evidence of "lack of harm to health",
then that should have been clearly stated in the FoI response.”

 

On receiving your request for an Internal Review, I made further enquiries
of the Department of Adult Services, Health and Housing (Public Health)
and the Department of Development and Environment, who have informed me
that while the Council is aware of the conclusions of the Environment
Agency and HPA as part of the planning process undertaken by London
Borough of Sutton, it does not hold any other evidence.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Howard Passman

Democratic & Legal Services
Chief Executive's Department
Annexe 4,

Bernard Weatherill House

8 Mint Walk

Croydon

Surrey

CR0 1EA

020 8726 6000 ext. 62318

www.croydon.gov.uk

www.croydononline.org

 

[1]cid:image001.jpg@01CB596C.6115F4C0

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Dear Mr Passman,

The promised study into infant deaths, stillbirths, low birthweight babies and birth defects around existing incinerators will probably never be published as the "convenient excuse" of blaming worse rates around incinerators on socio-economic status is no longer available.

http://www.hpa.org.uk/NewsCentre/Nationa...

http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/business/h...

The essence of my FoI request turns on whether or not airborne pollution from existing incinerators could be associated with increased rate of adverse health outcomes.

The fact that air pollution was the main driving factor for infant mortality has been known for almost a century thanks to the scrutiny of the 1914 infant mortality rates by Dr William Brend who realised that "poverty" couldn't be blamed as a causal factor.

Dr Brend examined the 1914 infant death rates in all parts of the British Isles and saw that County Roscommon had the lowest rate at 38 per 1,000 live births and Ashton-under-Lyne the highest rate at 184 per 1,000.
(BREND, W. A. Infant Mortality. Med. Res. Council Spec. Rept. Ser.No. 10. H. M. Stationery Office, 1917.)

The entire text of Dr Brend's "Health and the State" is online:

http://archive.org/stream/healthstate00b...

The following is on page 87 of the above book and has been deleted from the above website within the last 24 hours:

"The Effect of a Smoke and Dust-polluted Atmosphere

We have now examined, with one exception, the main factors which might be held to account for a high rate of infant mortality, and we find that differences neither in poverty, bad housing, insufficient feeding, defective sanitation, disease, industrial occupation of women, nor malnutrition of mothers can be regarded as adequate to explain the excessive and widespread difference between urban and rural rates of infant mortality.

The factor which remains to be examined is that of smoke and dust in the atmosphere. Dirtiness of the air appears to be the one constant accompaniment of a high infant mortality: purity of the atmosphere is the one great advantage which the agricultural labourer of Wiltshire, the Connaught peasant, and the poverty-stricken crofter of the Highlands enjoy over the resident in the town. In the opinion of the writer, a smoky and dusty atmosphere as a cause of infant mortality far transcends all other influences."

Croydon Borough Council has a duty of care towards those within its area and the emissions from the Beddington Lane incinerator must compromise their health - just as those living within the fallout zone of existing incinerators have been suffering worse health and earlier premature deaths at all ages.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Ryan

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