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Volume 685: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2020

Waste Incinerator on Portland

I hand in a petition with nearly 7,000 signatures from those who wish to stop an incinerator plant being built on the beautiful island of Portland in my constituency. Those who want to build it call it an energy recovery facility. Thousands of people disagree with that interpretation and say that it is a waste incinerator, and they do not want it on their island.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The petition of residents of the constituency of South Dorset,

Declares that the proposal to build a waste incinerator on Portland should not go ahead and that the Government should review its support for incinerators more generally; notes that almost 7,000 people have signed a corresponding online petition to stop the waste incinerator; further declares that South Dorset is a beautiful part of the world and that it should remain a healthy place for our children, grandchildren and ourselves; further that research has shown that a waste incinerator will cause the release of tiny dangerous particles into the air; further that a waste incinerator will cause a small increase in health risks for children; further that it will bring more lorries thundering along already busy roads; further that there is a possible need for the incinerator to be “fed” in the future by waste imported from outside the UK; further that it will create a big, unsightly blot on our beautiful landscape and coast; further that it will discourage recycling; and further that it will not create many jobs for local residents.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to rethink its support for incinerators and look towards a greener, circular economy.

And the petitioners remain, etc.]


Drainage Works in Shiplake

I present a petition from residents of my constituency that has now been supported by over 1,000 signatories.

The petition states:

The petition of residents of the constituency of Henley,

Declares that there is considerable concern about the increased impact of flooding in the village of Shiplake as a result of the actions being taken by Taylor Wimpey in relation to a development at Thames Farm; further declares that the developers are increasing the flood risk by filling in sink holes and injecting these areas with a grout-like substance to reinforce them which makes the chalk less porous; further that the developers are diverting floodwater to a brook in Flood Zone 3 in the village via a new pumping station at the north-eastern corner of the site; and notes that this petition is presented on behalf of two individuals of the village of Shiplake whose corresponding online petition has been signed by some 999 signatories.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government, in particular the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, to request South Oxfordshire District Council to ask Taylor Wimpey to submit a Material Variation Application because the change in the drainage solution is such a major departure from the original approved scheme, and to encourage public consultation as part of the approval of the drainage works, and to look at the change as a material variation in application.

And the petitioners remain, etc.


On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. During my exchange with the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for Croydon South (Chris Philp) across the Dispatch Box during Justice questions this morning, the Minister claimed that the reason for the huge reduction in the number of trials in England and Wales between 2010 and 2019 was

“because crime is significantly down since 2010”.

Recorded crime, which of course drives the amount of court activity and therefore trials, has, according to the Government’s own figures, increased considerably from 4.3 million in 2010 to about 6 million this year.

The Minister should not try to hide behind the Office for National Statistics crime survey statistics, when the public at large know full well both the reality and consequences of the increased crime in our country today. Given that reality, Madam Deputy Speaker, the Minister has clearly—inadvertently, I am sure—misled the House and I would be obliged if you would summon him to apologise for his mistake and to set the record straight.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his point of order, but he knows very well indeed that the Chair is not responsible for what Members or indeed Ministers say in this Chamber. I suspect that the point that he has just made is not so much a point of order as a continuation of the debate and a matter of the interpretation of statistics. I am also quite sure that he has, in raising a point of order, drawn the matter to the attention of the Treasury Bench and to the Minister, whom I hope he has given notice that he was planning to mention—

I note the hon. Gentleman’s apology for not having done so, and I accept his apology. I can see by his demeanour that his apology is meant in good faith and that if he had remembered to inform the Minister, I am sure he would have done. I am also quite sure that the Minister’s colleague on the Front Bench, the Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, the right hon. Member for Braintree (James Cleverly), will let him know the point that has been raised. This is not a matter for the Chair and it is not a matter on which I or Mr Speaker can summon the Minister to answer, but I am quite certain that there will be other opportunities in future debates and question sessions when the hon. Gentleman can raise this very matter with the Minister again.