[sticky entry] Sticky: Site index

Sep. 26th, 2017 09:00 pm
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Welcome to the new web site of Colchester and North East Essex Friends of the Earth.

Most of the posts here are old archive entries - reposted from our old website, original date in title - which you can find using the tags.

The site is still under construction; I still have a lot of content to copy over before the old site's hosting expires in October 2017. I haven't started inserting images yet.

Main pages here:
History of the group: About us
Campaign pages: Energy
Food Chain
Transport
Waste

More to come...

[sticky entry] Sticky: About us

Aug. 19th, 2017 10:03 pm
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Note: This site is under construction; you can still see the old one at colchesterfoe.org until the hosting expires later this year, by which time I hope to have all the important content transferred.

Friends of the Earth is the most extensive environmental network in the world, with almost one million supporters across five continents and 68 national organisations worldwide. Coming to the UK in the early 1970s, it is now the most influential national environmental campaigning organisation, with a unique network of over 200 campaigning local groups which include Colchester & North East Essex FoE (also known as Colchester FoE).

Friends of the Earth have had a presence in Colchester from the mid 1970s and our present group dates back over 25 years. We have run several big campaigns, notably on Waste, Energy and Transport.

Waste Campaign )

Energy )

Transport Campaign )

past campaigns )
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Waste plan demo, Chelmsford (13/10/2011)
"Dump 30 year contracts" demo outside County Hall, Chelmsford, 13th Oct. 2011: Paul Gadd, Co-ordinator Saffron Walden FoE, Maike Windhorst, SE Essex FoE, Peter Foreman, CFoE member in Chelmsford, Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator, and the Grim Reaper Hildegard Hill, Recycling campaigner, of Colchester & NE Essex FoE.
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MBT demo, Colchester Town Hall (03/06/2007)
Colchester council opposition Labour group councillors Dave Harris and Tina Dopson join members of Colchester FoE on the Town Hall steps to oppose Conservative waste plans.
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MBT demo, Colchester Town Hall (21/02/2007)
From left to right:
Adam Smith (CBC Cabinet), Hildegard Hill (Waste Disposal Company), Nick Land(St. George), Lib Dem Cllr Lesley Scott-Boutell (defender of Stanway), Tim Morris, Brenda Bather and Susan Francis (The MBT Dragon)
MBT demo, Colchester Town Hall (21/02/2007) close-up
20th February 2007 - St. George battles with the 'MBT' Dragon - press release
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PRESS RELEASE: 20th February 2007
Colchester Friends of the Earth
Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator: 01206/383123
(or 01206/793625 if unavailable)


Photo op: 4.30pm-5pm, Wednesday 21st February, five-year-old St George fights the MBT dragon at Colchester Town Hall before CBC full council meeting at 6pm.

ST GEORGE BATTLES WITH THE 'MBT' DRAGON AND THE WASTE DISPOSAL BADDIES OUTSIDE COLCHESTER TOWN HALL TO SAVE OUR RESOURCES

St George will fight the 'MBT' dragon and the Baddies to save our valuable resources for proper separated kerbside recycling and composting - not to be shredded and destroyed in a massive MBT (Mechanical Biological Treatment) waste disposal plant at Stanway.

The application has already been lodged by Cory for an MBT plant with a 25 year contract to shred and dry 250,000 tonnes of our valuable resources every year, and to landfill the 200,000 tonnes p.a. of mashed and contaminated dried residues in Stanway Hall quarry.

There is no dispute that this MBT plant will be hugely costly to the council taxpayer. At the Waste Plan inquiry, economist Robin Murray of Ecologika, on behalf of the district councils, proved that intensive kerbside recycling, sorted at the kerb, baled and composted locally, was two-thirds the cost of major centralised waste disposal plants.

It is against the wishes of the public. 76% of responses to the Essex War on Waste public consultation objected to all six MBT/incineration options offered. 69% supported alternative Option 7, for high recycling, separated kerbside recycling collections, sorted at the kerb, baled and composted locally, with no longterm waste disposal contracts.

It is against the agreed county/district 'Working Together' policy for 60% recycling and composting by 2007 (1) which has been ignored.

Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator for Colchester Friends of the Earth, said:

"This is utter environmental madness. Traffic produces one third of total climate change gases in Essex, yet waste would be trucked to Stanway from west and north Essex in polluting HGVs, increasing climate change gases and pollution. By contrast, the UK's 23% average recycling in 2005 was the equivalent in climate change terms of 3.4 million cars off the road!

People want to save valuable global resources by recycling and composting, not destroy them! Herefordshire recycled 48% last year. Hertfordshire only recycles 33% - the same as Essex - but have decided they will collect foodwaste for composting and not build massive waste disposal plants. They will then comply with requirements to reduce the landfilling of biodegradable waste until 2013 at least and see how they get on by then.

We and opposition councillors are calling for Colchester council's Cabinet member for Waste, Christopher Arnold, to oppose the Stanway MBT plant and immediately pull Colchester out of the East area Waste Management Joint Committee with Chelmsford, Maldon and Tendring councils, which he chairs, before the irreversible commitment is given for the 25 year MBT contract. It is likely other councils would then also pull out."

Notes to use if required:

Essex recycled 32% last year, but has dropped from 37th place two years ago to 91st in the UK recycling league. Nineteen counties are ahead of us now, with Herefordshire recycling 48% and some councils over 50% already.

MBT is a process usually used to make RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel) pellets to burn in polluting RDF incinerators. Almost all waste disposal companies recently told Essex County Council that landfilling the MBT residues would be far too costly.

The draft Essex Waste Strategy is expected for consultation next month after all three MBT applications have been lodged with the county council. Yet it is required to have a waste strategy with broad public support. The Waste Plan remains the current valid document. It permits massburn incinerators or RDF incinerators on all six waste sites.

(1) Ecologika was commissioned to draw up detailed recycling strategies for each district to comply with the agreed county/district 'Working Together' policy for 60% recycling and composting by 2007. Three trials were set up to test the feasibility of this.

The Mersea trial reached 60% by 2002 for the same as Colchester's current costs - and far less than Braintree district's current costs. It complied with the final Landfill Directive target to reduce the landfilling of biodegradable waste by two-thirds by 2020.
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Fix the Food Chain


The National Campaign


Friends of the Earth is calling on Government to revolutionise the way we produce meat and dairy.

Factory farming demands massive amounts of soy, a key ingredient in animal feed. Most of this comes from huge plantations in Latin America, implicated in rainforest destruction. Communities are often forced off their land, to make way for crops used to feed animals.

Local Action )
GM crops raising levels of pesticides in food – report )
The organic Lauriston Farm at Goldhanger )
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UPDATED PRESS RELEASE; 30th September 2010
COLCHESTER & NE ESSEX FRIENDS OF THE EARTH
01206/383123

LOCAL, SUSTAINABLE AND ORGANIC FARMING FOR A HEALTHY PLANET IS THREATENED BY INTENSIVE DAIRY INDOOR FACTORY-FARMING WITH IMPORTED CATTLE-FEED

Photo opportunity 12.15pm Friday 1st October, at Colchester Farmers Market, Arts Centre, Church Street, Colchester, CO1 1NT: Colchester's LibDem MP Bob Russell is visiting Colchester Farmers Market to show his support for local farmers, organic farming and the Friends of the Earth sustainable farming bill (EDM 367).

BOB RUSSELL IS ONLY LOCAL MP WHO HAS SIGNED EDM 367 SUPPORTING THE SUSTAINABLE LIVESTOCK FARMING AND FOOD PRODUCTION BILL WHICH WILL HAVE ITS SECOND READING IN PARLIAMENT ON 12TH NOVEMBER

We congratulate Colchester's LibDem MP Bob Russell who was one of the first signatories for Early Day Motion 367 for the Sustainable Livestock Bill being promoted by MP Robert Flello to go to Committee stage at the Second Reading on the 12th November. The EDM is shown below, with the current list of MP signatories.

No other Essex local MP has so far signed the Early Day Motion 367 for the Sustainable Livestock Bill so we are asking these Conservative MPs with rural Essex constituencies to sign the EDM and attend and support the Second Reading of the Bill on 12th November in Parliament.

We are asking local Tory MPs Bernard Jenkin, Douglas Carswell, John Whittingdale, Pritti Patel and Simon Burns to acknowledge the impacts the livestock sector has on the environment, sign the EDM and support this Bill for the Government to produce a strategy which sets out the policy changes needed to to support a sustainable and thriving UK farming industry and reduce the damage and ensure problems are not simply moved overseas.

Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator for Colchester & North East Essex Friends of the Earth, said:

"Meat and dairy production have a huge effect on climate change and includes the destruction of rainforests for soy feed production to feed livestock in the UK. The Friends of the Earth Food Chain campaign seeks to support planet-friendly non-intensive farming and avoid factory-farming. Sustainable organic farming is best of all and not only avoids the use of toxic and damaging pesticides in our environment and food, but is also the most energy-efficient, saving energy and pollution."


EDM 367
SUSTAINABLE LIVESTOCK FARMING AND FOOD PRODUCTION
30.06.2010

Flello, Robert

That this House notes that global livestock and animal feed production is currently the most significant worldwide cause of biodiversity loss, with the large-scale conversion of forests and other valuable habitats to produce animal feeds a cause of particular concern; further notes that the sector contributes 18 per cent. of global greenhouse gas emissions and also has impacts on small farms and communities in developing countries who are often forced off their land; congratulates the pioneering farmers in the UK who produce livestock and dairy products using sustainably-produced home-grown feed crops and wildlife-rich pasture, which reduces these damaging impacts and has employment, landscape and biodiversity benefits for the UK, but recognises that many British farmers find current policies and market structures a barrier; and so welcomes the Sustainable Livestock Bill which calls on the Government to produce a strategy that assesses the impacts the livestock sector has on the environment, sets out the policy changes needed to reduce them, ensures problems are not simply moved overseas, and supports a sustainable and thriving UK farming industry.
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A collection of photos from our CFoE trip to see the Hockley Farm windfarm at Bradwell. Click through for full size.

1. Hildegard with Duncan feeding the sheep at the organic and biodynamic Lauriston Farm at Goldhanger. The farmer, Spencer Christy, had invited us to visit on our way round the estuary to the windfarm at Bradwell via Maldon. The Blackwater estuary can just be seen over the seawall, where the sheep are allowed to go over on to the edge of the marshes.
2. The gate of Hockley Farm is on the left and two of the ten wind turbines can be seen along the lane which ends a little further on by some farm buildings. We had been along and seen a cluster of five turbines on the left of the lane and a cluster of five on the right in the fields. We opened the car windows and could hear a gentle whirring sound.
3. Duncan, Richard, Hildegard and Paula having tea at Hockley Farm, Bradwell.
Hildegard with Duncan feeding the sheep The gate of Hockley Farm and two of the ten wind turbines Having tea at Hockley Farm, Bradwell

Eleanor took the photo of Duncan, Richard, Hildegard and Paula with the lovely cake and tea which Teresa Fowler, the farmer's wife at Hockley Farm, had offered us because she was so pleased with CFoE support at the two public inquiries when the Inspectors had both approved the windfarm for ten turbines.

Centrally-orchestrated national anti-windfarm groups BATTLE and SIEGE had set up big public meetings and put posters opposing the windfarm and managed to dislodge the first Inspector's approval. The windfarm was held up for some years when the first approval was dislodged.

Because CFoE was involved with the proposals for Hockley Farm windfarm, with the anti-windfarm group STAPLE at the Earls Hall windfarm of five turbines near St Osyth and the nine turbines proposed for the Middlewick windfarm southeast of Southminster, we found that it was the same group of people setting up big public meetings, putting up hundreds of posters and the same barrister and witnesses appearing for the different groups for all three proposed windfarms.

As our group has had three windfarms proposed in our group's area from about seven years ago, we had spent a lot of time looking at the plans and walking round the sites before we amazingly unanimously supported them all. A fourth windfarm was more recently proposed southwest of the Middlewick windfarm for seven turbines at Turncole Farm near Burnham, which we visited and also support that one.

4. Closer view of two of the turbines from the lane at Hockley Farm.
5. Hildegard and Paula with Teresa Fowler's lovely dog after our delicious home-made cake and tea. Paula is wearing one of the FoE 2011 EarthMovers Award tshirts. We won the award at the national FoE conference for our support for three successful windfarms in our area. Paula had given a presentation at conference to warn other FoE groups that it is not necessarily local people who are setting up anti-windfarm public meetings, setting up local anti-windfarm groups and spending a lot of money including putting up posters all over the area.
Closer view of two of the turbines at Hockley Farm Hildegard and Paula with Teresa Fowler's lovely dog
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COLCHESTER & NE ESSEX FRIENDS OF THE EARTH
01206/383123


ECC WASTE 'CONSULTATION' ON WASTE DEVELOPMENT DOCUMENT 7 OCTOBER TO 2ND DECEMBER - WE MUST DUMP 28.5 YEAR WASTE DISPOSAL CONTRACTS NOW!


ECC managed to get PFI (Private Finance Initiative) Government finance in the final round of awards last autumn. They put waste disposal contracts out to tender in December 2009. Currently 28.5 year hugely costly waste disposal contracts are being agreed with the preferred bidders down to four including Cory, who have planning permission for a massive MBT plant at Stanway.

Publicly-accessible regular meetings of the West, East and Thames Gateway Area Waste Management Joint Committees were disbanded at the final meetings in March this year, having cancelled the January rounds of meetings. Some form of future, possibly twice yearly, meetings are planned once everything has been signed and sealed.

However, ECC's incinerator plans have been held up by strong opposition for fourteen years and they are many years behind most other authorities, some of whom are now dropping the widely discredited costly PFI loans, and some trying to dump contracts for incinerators signed long ago which will divert materials from recycling and composting required to reach statutory targets and will literally cost the earth.

There has never been a worse time for committing Essex taxpayers to these hugely costly and totally unnecessary polluting plants for thirty years, which will increase climate change gases and waste massive amounts of energy by destroying valuable materials for ever.

ECC's Policy & Scrutiny Committee on 23rd September (Appendix A) noted "the Council's failure to meet targets set...relating to CO2 emissions across Essex", and "In future the Council may incur financial penalties if it fails to reach carbon reduction targets."

In Appendix B 1.3 it notes "UK commitments to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 34% of the 1990 baseline by 2020 and 80% by 2050." And at 1.4 on sustainability includes "that natural resources are managed in the most sustainable way, having regard to issues such as renewable energy, waste, climate change and air quality."

ECC has committed to reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 20% over the next five years (App B 9.2.2/9.2.3). The following are seven important and relevant points about their waste plans. ECC now have to Get Serious as the national FoE campaign underlines about carbon reduction and WASTE!


1. County and districts have to save money: So dump the hugely costly 28.5 year contracts for waste disposal MBT plants shredding and drying our valuable resources to make dirty fuel pellets to burn in polluting incinerators which no-one wants. PFI has been discredited as hugely costly and some counties are dumping PFI. Some are trying to cancel incinerator contracts.

At the Waste Plan inquiry in 1999, the district councils' consultants Ecologika proved that a strategy for high recycling and composting, with no contracts longer than ten years, would comply with all Landfill Directive requirements and be far cheaper.

2. Why are ECC 'consulting' the public again? Because this is merely a formality to comply with Government planning regulations.

The Essex public have consistently opposed MBT and incineration and consistently been ignored. 22,500 objections were lodged to incineration in the Waste Plan, and in the 2002 War on Waste consultation 76% of formal responses opposed the six options for MBT making fuel pellets to burn in incinerators. 69% supported alternative Option 7 for high recycling, no MBT or incineration and no long term contracts. Colchester council's new coalition formally opposed the county's waste plans and adopted Option 7 instead in May 2008.

3. The ruling Conservatives have misled the public since 2001, pledging to oppose incineration but rubberstamping it in the Waste Plan in 2001 when they took control and consistently supporting it since then. The LibDem and Labour groups have consistently opposed incineration since 1998.

4. No need for costly disposal plants which will require feeding for thirty years with valuable resources. It will put a cap on higher recycling. Total municipal waste has reduced from around 700,000 tonnes p.a. in 2000 to 650,000 tonnes last year and recycling and composting in Essex has already reached 46% with other areas reaching 65% already after only a decade of attempting to recycle and compost our valuable resources. Wales and Scotland have adopted 75% recycling targets and the Welsh Assembly proved that 93.3% of municipal waste is recyclable or compostable. The non-recyclable or toxic waste should be eliminated.

5. The UK including Essex have to reduce CO2 and other climate change gases by 34% within ten years to fight dangerous climate change. We have to save energy and global resources. Global waste and resource use accounts for a third of climate change gases. We must dump longterm waste disposal plants and concentrate on recycling and composting for the next decade. MBT and incineration destroy recyclable and compostable materials for ever, wasting the embodied energy and requiring new resources to be mined and manufactured. Incineration creates toxic pollution and thousands of tonnes of CO2.

6. Make money, save resources and support UK reprocessors by separated kerbside collections: Govt-funded WRAP reports for over two years have shown that separated kerbside collections of recyclables and compostables, sorted at the kerb and baled locally, are cheaper to run and bring in high prices for clean recyclates, which can supply our UK reprocessors. If commingled (mixed) recyclables are collected in sacks or wheelie bins the materials are crushed and degraded, have to be sorted at costly central MRFs with around 15% dumped and recyclates usually exported.

7. The new coalition Government and Defra are prioritising separate kerbside bucket collection of foodwaste for making renewable energy in Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants. These can produce electricity or, more efficiently, can be used as gas to heat homes. In February 2009 the National Grid produced a report which said AD could produce enough gas from food and agricultural wastes to heat half the UK homes.

Many councils, such as Islington and Preston for good examples, are collecting food waste separately. Chelmsford council is planning to do this shortly. However, food should not be put with garden waste in wheelie bins as it cannot then be used for AD, and the garden waste can no longer be composted in open-air heaps. It all has to go to costly InVessel Composting (IVC) warehouses as it contains food waste because of CJD ('Mad Cow' disease) concerns. Contents of wheelie bins are also hidden.

8. We are not 'running out of landfill' but we must stop wasting biodegradable wastes such as paper, card, garden and food waste in landfill which create methane when they rot down. Tarmac said that there is potential for fifty years' of landfill capacity at Stanway. Currently, waste is dropping and Essex landfill permissions have had to be extended. We must stop waste going to landfill by reducing, re-using, recycling and composting valuable materials NOT by building costly and polluting waste disposal plants.

Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator,
Colchester & NE Essex Friends of the Earth,
4 Shears Crescent, West Mersea, Essex, CO5 8AR.
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ESSEX FRIENDS OF THE EARTH
01206/383123

Photo opportunity: County Hall steps 1pm to 1.30pm Thursday 26th November before East Area Waste Committee meeting in Room 1, County Hall.


WE MUST DUMP THE COUNTY'S WASTE PLANS TO DESTROY HALF OUR VALUABLE RESOURCES AND MASSIVELY INCREASE CLIMATE CHANGE GASES FOR THIRTY YEARS - AT A COST TO COUNCIL TAXPAYERS OF £8,500 EACH!


Last Thursday the county put out tenders for a £1billion contract to destroy half Essex's valuable recyclable and compostable resources for three decades. The plan for Basildon or any of the waste sites in Essex is for MBT plants which shred and dry black bag 'waste' making a polluting Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) to burn in a SRF incinerator. ECC have just supported MBT and a SRF incinerator and we have fought against it at the recent Rivenhall Airfield public inquiry.

The countries of the world are joining together to battle against global catastrophes from climate change. The Essex County Council plans will massively increase climate change gases even though the UK has a commitment to reduce these by 34% by 2020 and in the Climate Change Act by 80% by 2050.

Recycling saves energy and resources, cuts pollution, transport and above all reduces climate change gases. Recycling paper and card and composting garden and food waste save these rotting down in landfill and creating methane, a potent greenhouse gas. It is likely there will be a UK ban soon on landfilling these biodegradable materials which make up two-thirds of the municipal waste.

The Government strongly supports Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants for food waste, which produce electricity or biogas. The National Grid recently produced a report which showed that using AD plants for food waste and other putrescible wastes such as agricultural slurries could produce enough gas for around half of the UK's domestic heating. This is far more efficient than using the methane to produce electricity.

Last year Essex recycled and composted 5% more than the previous year and reached a mediocre 43% but with their waste plans are now limiting recycling to 50% by 2020. This is the minimum Government statutory target for 2020. It is likely this statutory target will rise because many councils have already surpassed 50% recycling, with the best over 60%.

Yet Flanders already recycles over 70% and the Welsh Assembly has completed waste audits showing that 93.3% of municipal waste is recyclable or compostable. Scotland and Wales have 75% recycling targets.

Another strand of the county's waste plan is to have recyclables collected mixed (commingled) in a wheelie bin, crushed in a compactor and taken to a costly central MRF (Materials Recycling Facility) to be mechanically sorted. If recyclables are collected this way, Govt-funded WRAP has shown the materials are degraded, with 10-15% rejected and low quality materials result, particularly paper. Our UK reprocessors and paper recycling need high quality materials.

WRAP showed that recyclables should be collected separately at the kerbside and sorted at the kerb, producing high quality recyclates receiving high prices. They also showed this was the cheapest method for collection and saved transport and energy.

Paula Whitney, Waste Co-ordinator for Essex Friends of the Earth, said:
"We must ask Lord Hanningfield to dump this Essex disastrous waste plan which will hugely increase climate change gases, threatening our Essex coastline with rising sea levels, destroy our valuable resources and cost Essex council taxpayers £8,500 each.
We must instead spend the next decade getting on with recycling and composting to aim at Zero Waste by 2020. I have already reached 99% recycling using my home compost bins and the Colchester free kerbside collections of garden waste, paper, card, glass bottles, cans and foil, plastic bottles and mixed plastics. I take Tetrapaks to the local supermarkets for recycling.
Total waste has been dropping in the UK since 2000 and has also been dropping in Essex over recent years. We are not 'running out of landfill' - Tarmac showed we have at least 50 years' potential landfill availability at Stanway alone. The rising price of landfill will encourage more recycling and composting - every tonne not sent to landfill by a district council receives this saved cost as Recycling Credits from the county council, plus a high price for clean recyclates if sorted at the kerb.
Food waste is the next large fraction of the domestic waste which should be collected separately from the kerbside using lidded buckets, to be taken to local Anaerobic Digestion plants to create electricity or domestic gas heating."

ENDS.

Essex Waste Management Partnership Residual Waste Treatment Contract attached.
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ECC LOSES ITS BID FOR PFI AND SPRINGS NEW LAST DITCH BID AS TIME RUNS OUT - HAS COLCHESTER RENEGED ON ITS PLEDGE TO OPPOSE PFI BID?

PRESS RELEASE: 27th July 2009
Essex Friends of the Earth
01206/383123


ECC LOSES ITS BID FOR WASTE PFI FUNDING AND SPRINGS NEW LAST DITCH BID ON COUNCILLORS AND ESSEX PEOPLE AS TIME RUNS OUT - HAS COUNCIL RENEGED ON ITS PLEDGE TO COLCHESTER PEOPLE TO OPPOSE PFI BID?


Essex County Council's bids for PFI funding since December 2005 didn't comply with the new rules since 2006: 'Proposals should demonstrate that other relevant authorities, the public and interested parties have been consulted and that there is broad consensus'. They also included exaggerated waste growth figures and planned massive overprovision.

Since May 2008 Colchester's new administration has formally opposed the county's waste strategy. They pulled out of the county's PFI bid, as they had pledged to do, for massive MBT (Mechanical Biological Treatment) plants which shred 'black bag' rubbish and dry it, producing a polluting fuel to burn in an incinerator on one of the Essex waste sites.

Defra received many objections and complaints from members of the public, opposition councillors and Colchester council. ECC have now drawn up a new 'Outline Business Case' for PFI funding, which their Cabinet approved in June, as time runs out for PFI bids. They have deftly included Colchester council as a member of the original 'Partnership'!

At the July West and East area Waste Joint Committee public meetings, the first East one since last October, district councillors were angry that they had only just learnt about this new PFI bid. It sets out a 27.5 year contract for one 350,000 tonnes p.a. MBT plant at Basildon, designed to produce 25% as fuel for an incinerator at one of the waste sites.

There were 25,000 objections to incineration in the Essex Waste Plan. In the 2002 War on Waste consultation 79% respondents objected to all six official options of MBT (Mechanical Biological Treatment) and incineration; 69% supported alternative Option 7 which supported unlimited recycling and composting, with no MBT or incineration.

The county's PFI bid in May 2007, including a controversial incinerator at Rivenhall, was delayed because ECC had to demonstrate public support. A widely-condemned misleading and simplistic leaflet was sent to all Essex householders in 2008. Only 1% of residents responded to the questionnaire yet this is used to support the latest PFI bid.

Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator for Colchester & NE Essex FoE said:

"This county council plan will destroy half our valuable resources for thirty years at a cost of around £8000 for each council tax payer. They even admit it is more costly than the 'Do Minimum' option! They haven't compared it to a 'Do Maximum' option. Surely it would be better to invest in more recycling and composting instead over the next decade?

Government-funded WRAP have released research which shows that it is cheaper for councils to have separated kerbside collections for all materials and food waste. This brings in high prices for quality recyclate for our UK reprocessors. It is the commingled (mixed) collections which the county council is promoting in wheelie bins or plastic sacks which contaminate materials. They also cost more and waste more energy.

Defra strongly supports local Anaerobic Digestion plants for separately-collected food waste and agricultural slurries run by local farmers - Germany has 2,500 AD plants while the UK only had 23 last year. A new National Grid report says that if the biogas from AD is used for domestic heating it could provide heating for nearly half of the UK's homes.

As for methane in landfill, the majority has been drawn off for energy at landfill sites across the UK. We should now collect most of the biodegradable garden waste, paper, card and foodwaste for recycling and composting and stop landfilling it where it creates methane.

We are currently recycling and composting a mere 43% in Essex. If we recycled only 60% by 2020, Government figures say that half of that 40% residual waste could still be biodegradable paper, card, garden and food waste and still comply with the 2020 Landfill Directive reduction requirements. We can do much better than that in ten years can't we?

Surely we should be pleading urgently now for local recycling and composting so that we can massively reduce the waste of our global resources and energy? Tell the county council to dump its waste strategy and PFI bid and get on with it!"

ENDS
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Gazette, letters page.

Dump the MBT contract not the recycling Kevin

Dear Editor,

Recycling and composting are vital to save global resources, energy and to cut pollution and climate change gases. Separated recyclates receive high prices and support UK industries. Welsh data shows 93% of domestic waste can be recycled.

The Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) plant agreed at Basildon would destroy recyclables left in black bag waste trucked from all over Essex. The 80% dried residues would be landfilled or burned in an incinerator at Stanway, Rivenhall, Sandon or Basildon.

Colchester borough councillors Kevin Bentley and John Jowers are also Tory county councillors on the decision-making Cabinet at County Hall. Kevin Bentley has the aptly-named portfolio for 'Waste'. They have just agreed the MBT contract.

Please think again councillors and urgently dump this disastrous 25-year contract at a total cost to us of £4billion. Other councils have had to pay huge penalties to cancel similar contracts when they have realised their mistake further down the line.

Increasing our recycling and composting and landfilling the decreasing residues is far cheaper https://www.dreamwidth.org/updatein the short and long term as consultants Ecologika proved for all the Essex district councils at the 1999 Essex & Southend Waste Plan public inquiry.

Essex’s recycling and composting rose from 43% two years previously to just over 50% last year. South Oxfordshire’s recycling rose from 43% to 70% in two years after introducing food waste collections.

Food waste collections are now being introduced right across Essex, which will increase the recycling figures by a large percentage. Don’t destroy it all Kevin.

Yours sincerely,

Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator,
Colchester & North East Essex Friends of the Earth,
4 Shears Crescent, West Mersea.
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Colchester Daily Gazette, letters page.

Last chance for Essex County Council to drop the costly waste disposal contracts

Dear Editor,

As local elections loom we should not forget that the 2008 Colchester election featured the county council's plans for massive waste disposal plants - including incineration, against the Conservative administration's pledges since 2001. The Colchester LibDem/Labour/Independent coalition was formed and was the only Essex council to oppose the county council's plans.

The county council's bid for the widely-discredited and costly PFI finance was approved - in spite of it officially needing the support of all the district councils. The 28.5 year waste disposal contracts immediately went out to tender. Publicly-accessible regular county council meetings of the Joint Waste Management committees for the East, West and the South areas were stopped.

Other councils such as Chelmsford and Tendring had at these public meetings voiced their concerns about the huge costs to the Essex council taxpayers of these contracts. But plans were agreed to build massive Mechanical Biological Treatment plants which shred and dry our valuable resources left in the rubbish bags to turn them into polluting fuel to burn in an incinerator.

This commits Essex taxpayers to pay to destroy our valuable resources for three decades, increasing climate change gases and transport pollution including CO2, NOx and dioxins. This will lose the high value of recyclates and stop us complying with the UK commitment to cut climate change gases by a third by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. Are we being serious?

These contracts are to be rubberstamped imminently. But across the UK some councils are trying to cancel long-term costly contracts and drop plans for incinerators as recycling and composting become normal and levels of 60% or more are achieved. Our UK reprocessors, such as Aylesford paper, Berriman glass and our plastic reprocessors are pleading for clean recyclate.

Essex recycling has been rising steadily each year from 30% in 2005. ECC leader Peter Martin said that Essex will be recycling around 50% this year. Some councils already recycle over 60%. Separate food waste collections to make renewable energy and compost in Anaerobic Digestion plants are strongly supported by Government and are being set up across the UK and in Essex.

Ask your election candidates if they support or will pledge to oppose the Tory county council approving these contracts. Now is the time for Essex County Council to cancel the hugely costly waste disposal contracts and lead the way towards total recycling and composting and Zero Waste in Essex over the next decade.

Yours sincerely,

Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator,
Colchester & North East Essex Friends of the Earth,
4 Shears Crescent, West Mersea, Essex, CO5 8AR.
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Essex Chronicle, letters page.

Last chance for Essex County Council to drop the costly waste disposal contracts

Dear Editor,

ECC leader Peter Martin said that Essex will be recycling around 50% this year. Some councils already recycle over 60%. Essex recycling has been rising steadily each year from 30% in 2005. Now is the time for Essex County Council to cancel the hugely costly waste disposal contracts and lead the way towards total recycling and composting in Essex over the next decade.

Chelmsford council has the best separated kerbside recycling system in Essex, with a local baling centre for their separated recyclables. These receive the highest prices and can supply our own UK reprocessors, such as Aylesford paper, Berriman glass and our plastic reprocessors with the clean top quality materials they are pleading for.

WRAP, the Government-funded advisory group, has brought out various reports proving kerbside sorting provides the best quality recyclates, saves energy and is cheaper than collecting all recyclables in a wheelie bin or sack ('commingled'), which are crushed and degraded. They then have to be mechanically-sorted at a costly central 'MRF' such as the county council is promoting.

Chelmsford is now going to roll out separate kerbside bucket food waste collections. The food waste should go into local Anaerobic Digestion plants such as already agreed at Halstead, which produce renewable energy, most efficiently as gas to the gas heating grid or for electricity. Clean compost is also produced.

Yet Chelmsford council is supporting the county council's 27.5 year waste disposal contracts for massive MBT plants to shred and dry our valuable resources to turn into polluting Solid Recovered Fuel to burn in an incinerator - against all the Conservative pledges against incineration.

This will cost taxpayers huge sums, destroy resources for ever, create pollution and increase climate change gases. Colchester council is the only council opposing these imminent contracts. Please, Chelmsford council, also oppose them before it is too late!

Yours sincerely,

Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator,
Colchester & North East Essex Friends of the Earth, 4 Shears Crescent, West Mersea, Essex, CO5 8AR.
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CBC survey on wheelie bins a year ago actually showed only 29 people preferred them

Dear Editor,

Earlier in the month there was a big Gazette article and a backlash against recycling after officers started clamping down on how people put their recyclables out for collection. If householders kindly separate cans from bottles in old carrier bags, why can't the binmen split the bags or tip the cans out and leave the plastic bags in the green boxes?

But an earlier article tells us that the council 'carried out a survey a year ago and only 29 residents out of 344 were not in favour of wheelie bins'. Actually the report showed the opposite - that only 29 residents were in favour of wheelie bins. I hope Colchester officers are not in favour of wheelie bins that the county council wants for an areawide collection contract for four or five councils?

Is this why we are not getting more recycling reusable boxes and bags instead of the costly one-use plastic sacks? We need suitable vehicles for separated kerbside collections for paper separately from card and the 'Fame' flatback vehicles for separating glass colours as we used to have, instead of the disastrous 'split' vehicles which have now come to the end of their lease.

Two independent consultants advised this after the notorious costly 'split' vehicles debacle. WRAP, the Government-funded advisory body says that proper separated kerbside collections of recyclables, sorted at the kerb and baled locally, provide quality recyclates to our UK reprocessors, bring in top prices and are cheaper to run than wheelie bin mixed recycling collections.

Wheelie bin recycling collections are tipped into a crusher and become contaminated, particularly paper. They then have to be transported in fuel-hungry HGVs to a costly central 'MRF' to be mechanically sorted. The recyclates become degraded, around 15% is dumped and it is usually exported.

They are costly and slow to empty, unsuitable for 40% of homes, particularly Tudor or terraced Victorian homes close to the pavement with no storage space and where they are an eyesore.

Some councils, such as Rochford and Braintree, put food waste into the garden waste wheelie bins which heat up in the summer and cause smells, flies and maggots. All of it then has to go to large enclosed composting warehouses which is much more costly than local simple outdoor composting of garden waste alone.

Chelmsford council has separated kerbside recycling collections and a local baling centre, receiving top prices for recyclates. They have trialled a kerbside food waste collection using a lidded bucket, which they are going to roll out across the district. Food waste will go to Anaerobic Digestion plants such as has been agreed at Halstead, to provide gas or electricity, and clean compost.

Let's hope Colchester will follow their example. All political parties have pledged to have no wheelie bins and Colchester's coalition was the only Essex council which opposed the county council's massive MBT waste-crushing plants making fuel to burn in a polluting incinerator for 28.5 year contracts.

Yours sincerely,

Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator,
Colchester & North East Essex Friends of the Earth,
4 Shears Crescent, West Mersea, Essex.
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Essex County Standard, letters page.

Let's sort ourselves out at the kerbside!

Dear Editor,

I wonder why Roger Buston (ECS 11/3/11) didn't realise that the costly clear one-use plastic recycling sacks are being supplied in huge rolls yet again for this next year? They go to people willynilly, whether they use them or not - what an unnecessary waste. I wonder what they get used for if people don't recycle mixed plastic or mixed card and paper?

The value of our recyclates is being lost. By mixing paper with card it then has to be sorted out. WRAP, the Government-funded advisory body says that paper should be collected separately at the kerbside for local baling, and brings a high income for the clean paper our UK reprocessors are desperate for.

We need reusable boxes or bags for separated recyclables and the right vehicles to collect valuable materials separately. The notorious and unsuitable 'split' vehicles have come to the end of their lease now, so where are the plans for getting the more economical and suitable vehicles as recommended by two separate independent consultants after that costly debacle?

Around Christmastime we saw the huge pile of collected mixed glass contaminated with loads of metal cans and tins. We used to collect glass separately in the 'Fame' flatback vehicles which we still have. The colours were separated into the stillages at the kerb. This can go straight back into glass containers which gets the highest prices and saves a large amount of energy.

If glass is mixed it has to go to a special sorting centre to try to separate the colours, wasting energy and transport costs. If the mixed glass is instead used as aggregate or landfill filtration you have wasted this valuable resource and have no energy savings. For the first time ever less than half of UK glass collected is able to be used for new glass containers.

The county council wants all the councils to have three wheelie bins per home. This is for an area collection contract including taking all our crushed and contaminated recyclables to a costly central sorting 'MRF' to be sorted, wasting energy and losing the value of the recyclates.

WRAP says separated recycling collections, sorted at the kerb, cost less and bring in top prices for clean recylates for our UK reprocessors instead of exporting degraded materials. Chelmsford council is doing it, so let's just sort ourselves out at the kerb!

Yours sincerely,

Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator,
Colchester & North East Essex Friends of the Earth, 4 Shears Crescent, West Mersea, Essex.
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Sent to East Anglian Daily Times letters page, 21 March 2011
in response to an article also published on their website as Essex: Friends of the Earth say Tendring council is rubbish at recycling

Tendring kerbside recycling not so dreadful

Dear Editor,

Tendring council featured on the EADT 16th March front page 'Shame of home waste figures' for recycling 'about 27%' in 2009/10 - 'the second lowest percentage among local authorities in the East of England'. This is misleading and unfair, as that 27% only includes dry recycling because Tendring does not collect garden waste which is included in the other figures.

Tendring residents' home composting is the very best way to compost garden and food waste. But Tendring has five county-run Household Waste Recycling Centres, more than any other Essex district - to which residents took nearly 9000 tonnes of garden waste last year for composting. Strangely, this is counted in the county council's 63.2% recycling figure, not in Tendring's.
The other districts' recycling figures quoted in the article were the combined kerbside collections of dry recyclables and garden/food waste. But Tendring's 27.5% kerbside collection of dry recyclables alone is fifth highest in the county and slightly higher than the average 26.3% dry recycling collected by the twelve Essex districts. Yes - of course they could and should all be recycling more!

Tendring's recycling is only slightly below the 28.7% dry recyclables collected mixed (commingled) in a wheelie bin at Rochford which the article said 'was top for the region' and 'recycled just over 61%'. But that figure also includes a smelly wheelie bin collection of mixed garden waste and food waste.

Food waste should be collected separately in a lidded bucket as Chelmsford council is just about to do, to go to a local Anaerobic Digestion plant such as has just been permitted at Halstead. This totally enclosed liquid system provides renewable energy - most efficiently as gas for the gas grid - or as electricity for the grid, as well as clean compost.

Rochford's dry recyclables are tipped from the wheelie bins into a compactor, crushed and contaminated, losing the value of the materials collected, particularly paper. It is very costly to then be sorted out mechanically, which also wastes energy, and as much as 15% will be unusable and dumped or burnt. It is then usually exported.

WRAP, the Government-funded advisory body, have brought out various reports showing that proper separated kerbside collections of recyclables are cheaper to run, and bring in top prices for quality recyclates for our own UK reprocessors, who are pleading for clean materials. Chelmsford council has separated kerbside recycling with a local baling depot for valuable recyclates.

Thank goodness all political parties on Colchester council have pledged we won't have wheelie bins, but we are still waiting to hear when they are going to get rid of the unsuitable 'split' vehicles and invest in proper vehicles to collect our separated recyclables.

Yours sincerely,

Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator,
Colchester & North East Essex Friends of the Earth,
4 Shears Crescent, West Mersea, Essex, CO5 8AR.
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Gazette, letters page.

Don't accept waste bribe

Dear Editor,

The Conservative group want Colchester council to accept £800,000 from Essex County Council to help fund recycling trials, in return for Colchester agreeing to support the Essex Waste Strategy which Colchester's coalition refused to do in 2008 (1). The county council also wants Colchester to sign legally-binding 'Inter Authority Agreements' which the other districts have signed.

Colchester's Labour Cabinet member for waste, Cllr Tim Young, reported in early March that secret talks were at 'a delicate stage' but that 'any deal would not involve Colchester supporting Mechanical Biological Treatment plants'. Stanway borough councillor Lesley Scott-Boutell said she was concerned because Cory has permission to build one at Stanway Hall Quarry. (2)

ECC's third bid for PFI funding last autumn was successful and contracts are now out to tender, with five preferred bidders including Cory. The bid was based on a huge MBT (Mechanical Biological Treatment) plant at Basildon. It has been calculated that these costly 28-year contracts will cost council taxpayers around £8,500 each.

Lord Hanningfield and the Conservative county councillors pledged since 2001 that they would not support incineration, and that if it was proposed they would hold a referendum in Essex. Yet they approved the Essex & Southend Waste Plan which permits an incinerator on any Essex waste site. There has been no referendum!

They have approved massive Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) plants which shred and dry 'black bag' rubbish and turn it into polluting Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) to burn in an incinerator at Rivenhall Airfield. Should Colchester support this strategy for an £800,000 bribe?

We would gain more income than that each year if we collected all our valuable recyclables separately, sorted at the kerbside into suitable vehicles as we used to do. A Colchester council recycling report (3) showed we are getting low prices by collecting our newspapers and cardboard mixed, smashing the glass colours together and mixing plastic bottles with other plastics, which then all have to be separated. Chelmsford was reported to receive around £2million a year.from properly separated kerbside recycling.

Yours sincerely,

Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator,
Colchester & NE Essex Friends of the Earth,
4 Shears Crescent, West Mersea, CO5 8AR.

(1) CBC full council and letter to papers.
(2) Colchester Gazette 3/3/10 and 11/3/10 etc.
(3) February 2009.
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Standard, Letters page.

Waste Options consultation

Dear Editor,

The deadline for the Waste Options Chrismas Consultation responses is Friday 15th January. I was one of those who didn't receive the recent Colchester Courier with the waste 'consultation' in so I had to collect one at the Town Hall. After all the fuss about choosing one of the four unsatisfactory options it failed to include any tick boxes for the options.

Instead they asked us to tick boxes on a separate list of questions - do we support reducing waste to landfill, increasing recycling, enforcing recycling, having 'a weekly food collection service' and 'fortnightly collections of your remaining waste'? No questions about costly wheelie bins, which usually accompany alternate week collections, or about collecting recyclables separately.

However, they ask people to send any comments or ideas to FREEPOST NAT4433, Colchester CO1 1BR by 15th January or online at www.colchester.gov.uk/recycling. Could I ask people to reject the four proposed woolly and unspecific options and support 'Option E', the alternative fifth option we proposed before Christmas? In brief it asks for:

  1. Weekly separated collections of everything to make it easy for people, sorted at the kerb.

  2. Enough kerbside boxes and re-usable bags to put the separated materials in.

  3. Weekly separate foodwaste bucket collection to go to an Anaerobic Digestion plant to make electricity or gas for home heating.

  4. Proper collections of all recyclable materials separately, including paper, card, plastic bottles, mixed plastics, rags, cans and glass colours, sorted at the kerb to maximise quality for our UK reprocessors, bring high income and save huge amounts of energy.

  5. Use suitable vehicles to collect the separated materials, including the flatback vehicles which separate the glass colours.

  6. No wheelie bins.


Our current notorious leased 'split' vehicles cannot cope with separated recyclables. The one-use plastic sacks brought in by the Conservatives cost £120,000 for one year. They mix paper with card and plastic bottles with mixed plastics, which then cost to be sorted out at Canvey Island. The LibDems and Independents said we should have trialled re-usable boxes and bags instead.

Government-funded WRAP reports show that it is cheaper to sort materials at the kerb and to bale them locally for quality materials and top prices. A Colchester council report last February showed extremely low prices received for the mixed glass and sacks of recyclables which have to be sorted out. Chelmsford council separates recyclables at the kerb and received £1.5million last year.

Yours sincerely,

Paula Whitney,
Co-ordinator, Colchester Friends of the Earth,
4 Shears Crescent,
West Mersea, Essex, CO5 8AR.
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Four Rubbish Options - we need a fifth Recycling Option - Option E

Gazette, letters.

Dear Editor,

The four rubbish options which have been produced for consultation are too woolly and unspecific. Three propose fortnightly collections of 'refuse' which will inevitably bring in ugly wheelie bins after lots of hype about rats and bags left out on wrong weeks etc.

Option B is what we have now plus weekly foodwaste collection, yet they say that recycling would only rise by 3% from the current 37%. This is not credible, as food waste collections increase recycling levels hugely.

Govt-funded WRAP has shown that collecting recyclables separately, sorted at the kerb, is cheaper to run and brings the highest income for quality materials. The two things which increase recycling most are proven to be weekly collections of all recyclables and enough boxes and reusable bags to put separate materials in.

It has been reported that other options would be considered. Please vote for Option E in the waste consultation including on the council's website www.colchester.gov.uk:

• Weekly collections of everything, to make it easy for people and spread collection of materials and garden waste evenly for baling and composting. This was what we had during the Mersea area trial which reached 60% recycling back in 2002 and was supposed to be rolled out across the borough.
• Enough kerbside boxes and reusable bags to put the separated materials in.
• Weekly separate food waste bucket collections which can be used to produce compost and electricity or gas for home heating in local Anaerobic Digestion plants; a Tendring farmer wants one.
• Proper separated kerbside collections sorted at the kerb and baled locally, including paper separately to maximise quality and bring high income to supply our UK reprocessors. We need to collect separated glass colours as we used to do, to save huge amounts of energy and receive highest prices.
• Use suitable collection vehicles to replace the disastrous and costly 'split' vehicles which cannot cope with separated materials and are heavy fuel-users. Independent consultants advised that we buy back the flexible vehicles we used before, particularly the 'Fame' vehicles which separate the glass colours.
• No wheelie bins.

Yours sincerely,
Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator,
Colchester Friends of the Earth,
4 Shears Crescent, West Mersea.
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Will the ECC opposition groups pledge to pull out of the PFI bid and waste plans if the Tories lose their majority control on 4th June?

Dear Editor,

The proposal for massive waste plants and a 360,000 tonnes p.a. incinerator on our doorstep at Rivenhall Airfield was decided by Essex County Council on 24th April. Four Conservatives voted in favour and four LibDem and Labour councillors voted against. The Conservative chairman voted again with his casting vote to approve it.

Yet the Conservatives and Lord Hanningfield pledged since they were elected in 2001 that there would be no incinerator, and that if one was proposed there would be a referendum.

A demonstration on the County Hall steps was given big media coverage including news items on BBC LookEast, Anglia TV, local radio stations, the Gazette and central Essex newspapers.

Over 800 letters had been received with only one in favour of the application. Many objectors had written asking for the proposal to be 'called in' for a public inquiry and Minister Hazel Blears has now agreed it should be decided at an inquiry.

No proposal at Rivenhall can be considered until the inquiry has been completed. An incinerator is included in the county council's PFI (Private Finance Initiative) funding bid. Where will it be sited when the contracts go out to tender imminently? The Waste Plan permits one at here at Stanway.

The district councils have been required to sign legally-binding Inter Authority Agreements for 28.5 year waste contracts which will cost council taxpayers £8000 each. Colchester's new administration formally opposed the waste strategy and pulled out of the PFI bid.

This long-delayed PFI bid, including an incinerator, has been strongly opposed by many people. It will be decided by the Treasury shortly. Will the opposition groups pledge to pull out of the PFI bid and waste plans if the Tories lose their majority control on 4th June?

Yours sincerely,

Paula Whitney, Co-ordinator,
Colchester & NE Essex Friends of the Earth,
4 Shears Crescent,
West Mersea.

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