Lib Dems suspend councillor for speaking out against incinerator 2 days after manifesto pledge for National Air Quality Plan

The Lib Dems are being accused of hypocrisy, suspending a councillor for speaking out against the South London incinerator just two days after announcing a National Air Quality Plan in its 2015 manifesto.

Cllr Nick Mattey was suspended by the LibDems for speaking out against the South London incinerator

Cllr Nick Mattey was suspended by the Lib Dems for speaking out against the South London incinerator

It seems that it isn’t just Slough Borough Council that puts the big bucks offered by incinerator operators above the public health interests of its residents.

Nicky Mattey, a Lib Dem councillor for Sutton Council, was temporarily suspended by his party on Friday pending a full investigation for speaking out against the planned South London incinerator.

In a statement on its website the party said he had been suspended for publicly stating:

“I will not be lending my support to the council on this matter and instead I am backing the Stop the Incinerator Campaign.”

He was told party rules forbid him from openly raising concerns about party policy.

Ruth Dombey, leader of Sutton Council, said:

“Not only are Nick’s statements contrary to our policy, they are also wrong and inflammatory.

“As such they are raising unnecessary fears and concerns among local residents.”

Cllr Mattey had expressed serious concerns about a £1 billion deal between Viridor, Grundon’s partner in the Colnbrook super-incinerator, Sutton Council in a letter to Sutton Lib Dem councillors.

He called on them to follow his example and oppose the plan and said the incinerator would increase air pollution, leading to an “environmental catastrophe”.

Cllr Mattey attacked the council’s “repugnant” decision to renege on a promise that the land in question would be used as a country park from 2023. His full letter can be read here.

The Liberal Democrats promised to introduce a ‘National Air Quality Plan’ only two days earlier.  The party’s 2015 General Election manifesto includes a pledge to pass a Green Transport Act which would include a National Plan to “improve dramatically Britain’s air quality by 2020”.  It set out policies on creating mandatory low emission zones in the most polluted towns and cities, new incentives for local schemes that cut transport-related pollution, changes to MOT tests to cut emissions from existing vehicles, and a commitment to meet new EU nitrogen dioxide standards.

Launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in South London last Wednesday, the 158-page document devotes a chapter to ‘Air quality and greener transport’, in which it describes poor air quality as a “significant health problem”.

Stop the South London Incinerator has been scathing in its criticism of the ruling Lib Dems at Sutton Council, which approved the incinerator in May 2013, over its attempts to suppress opposition.

Plans to build the incinerator met with strong opposition today ahead of a peaceful demonstration outside the main entrance to the Royal Courts of Justice to be held next Tuesday (April 28).

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