July 14th, 2020

Following the announcement from the Conservative-led Essex County Council that a proposal is on the table to build a £50 million incinerator on the Burnt Mills Industrial estate in Pitsea, Basildon Labour Leader Gavin Callaghan has been searching for answers as to who knew what and when. 

In June, Basildon Council Leader and local Pitsea North West Councillor Gavin Callaghan sent Essex County Council a series of questions under the Freedom of Information Act. However, last week the County Council refused to answer his FOI. Instead, Gavin Jones, the CEO of Essex County Council, wrote to Scott Logan the CEO of Basildon Council to set out some of the answers to Labour’s questions.

The Basildon Labour Party has now seen paperwork sent to Basildon Council on 10th April 2019 by Essex County Council that show a proposal for the development of a waste plant on Archersfield, Pitsea. At the time the Conservative Party were in Administration on Basildon Council but did not publicly disclose this information. 

Speaking after the discovery, Cllr Callaghan explained, “Now we know that just days before the people of Pitsea went to vote in the 2019 local elections, the then ruling Conservative Administration on Basildon Council was made aware of the fact there was plans for a massive incinerator in Pitsea. It is unbelievable that this information was not disclosed to the public by the then Leader of the Council. 

“This is not an insignificant development. A £50 million waste plant on the Burnt Mills Industrial estate has huge ramifications for so many of our residents and businesses, not least the fact it will lead to a congestion charge around the A127. Either the Conservative Administration in Basildon were guilty of incompetence of the highest order or they were complicit in keeping this from the public. Either way, from selling off taxpayer land for a £1 hotel to keeping dirty little secrets over the waste plant, the Basildon Conservative party can never be trusted again by the people and business of Pitsea, to lead our Council.”

Pitsea South East Councillor Andy Ansell added, “The Pitsea public are outraged at this proposal. They will be even more outraged to know that it was the Tories’ dirty little secret leading up to polling day in 2019. If the Conservative Party can keep something as important as this to themselves, what else could they be hiding from the public if they were ever allowed back in control of Basildon Council?  The Pitsea public understand that the Tories let them down in 2012 when the Tovi waste plant was allowed to be built in Basildon and they will let them down again with this toxic towers development.”