A Clear conflict of Interest in the Waste Framework Directive
Press Release - Global Anti Incineration Alliance (GAIA)
Embargoed until 1 am Friday the 13th June 2008
MEP Caroline Jackson, the rapporteur for the Waste Framework Directive, is accepting money from the waste industry, it has been revealed. The new waste law would deliver several major gifts to the waste industries and has been roundly criticised by environmental groups, including Jackson's own constituents. Meanwhile, Jackson is accepting money from Shanks plc, a waste company with a terrible record of pollution and financial interests in landfills and incinerators. The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, (GAIA) is calling on the the president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, to reject MEP Jackson's text for the WFD and launch an inquiry into her conflict of interest with the waste industry.
GAIA discovered that it quite clearly and openly states in Jackson's declaration of financial interests, that she holds a remunerated post
with the waste industry company, Shanks PLC, as member of their environmental advisory board (1). Its is also clear that she has also
failed to declared her interests at WFD meetings, therefore breaking rule 9.1 of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament. Holding a position like this with Shanks demonstrates a clear bias towards the waste industry's position within the WFD. Further evidence can be found in the Shanks Plc 2007 annual report in the chief executive summary, that Jackson is thanked for supporting and advising Shanks on the WFD(2). The recent vote to reclassify from disposal to recovery, demonstrates the kind of support Jackson has been giving the company.
Whilst Shanks plc deal somewhat in recycling, they owned the biggest most controversial hazardous waste landfill site in Scotland, and had a series of forced suspension notices from Scottish Environmental Protection Agency in 2000 for breaching the Environmental Act 1990.
Greengairs became known as the biggest environmental injustice in Scotland. The Scottish Environment minister in 2002 visited the
landfill: he demanded action to give communities "environmental justice" and vowed for it to stop. A year later Shanks developed a proposal for a new landfill site for the area. As a resident of Greengairs said,"Whereas Scotland has many breathtaking sights, Greengairs is a place
where often you dare not take a breath, such is the stench from all of the landfill sites".(3). Shanks is known all across the UK for their
incineration proposals and their history of working with the local communities leaves much to be desired.
This brings into question the communications that Jackson has with her constituents in the South West of the UK and with waste campaign groups. Her constituents complain that all communication has been one sided on Jackson's part and her positions have been non-negotiable. Jacksons constituents voted her to represent them, not the waste industry. Around 10 anti-incineration groups are located in Jacksons constituency. The Areas Caroline Jackson covers (Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, and Bristol) in the South East of England, currently houses around 4 incinerators and there are proposals for at least another 2.
Ironically, Jackson expressed her feelings towards anti- incineration lobbyists on 3rd of April 2008 (4). Jackson publicly attacked the NGOs
receiving EU Commission funds, for campaigning against elements of the WFD, and branded it 'senseless subsidy'. NGOs are becoming increasingly concerned about the reduction of waste prevention and recycling as a result of incinerators being built as a result of the reclassification of waste, not to mention the heath effects. It is well known that incinerators increase waste and reduce recycling efforts as seen in Denmark in the last 3 years as they have struggled to meet the tonnage capacity that is required to run the technologies. These concerns by anti-incineration lobby groups are not unfounded because in the last text of the WFD that Jackson negotiated with the council the final recycling targets come out to be vague and without clear enforcement measures.
It is very clear that having a paid post with Shanks plc is a direct conflict of interest and GAIA questions why someone in this position was
appointed to the WFD. The WFD is a directive which will clearly benefit the waste industry and not the communities which will have incinerator companies like shanks as their neighbours. Because of its pro-industry, anti-environment content, and the flawed process through which it was created, GAIA is calling for the EU Parliament to reject the WFD proposal.
(2)page 11,Para 6, Shanks Group plc , Safety, Health and Environment
Report 2006/2007, web version.