Campaigners outside Camden Town Hall. Cllr Clyde Loakes is the Chair of the NLWA.
On Friday 10 February, the following letter was published in the Islington Tribune:
Race for £1bn deal
Burning our rubbish is a nice little earner. For this service Islington, along with six other boroughs, will each pay £170m over 25 years.
There are three companies in the race to get their hands on this colossal £1.2bn contract. Today (Friday) one of them will be thrown out.
We hope it will be Veolia.
North London Waste Authority has given very little information on the three tenders. Only two of the bidders included practical solutions to the authority’s objective of combining heat usage in the project, known as CHP. On the other hand, Veolia’s solution is not and could not be CHP.
To confirm this, we researched information from other bodies, including the Infrastructure Planning Commission and the Environment Agency.
Does it surprise anyone that Veolia, which has been accused of profiting from illegal Israeli settlements, shows such disregard for environmental objectives?
Veolia is also bidding to get a £3.5bn contract to process the waste, but the decision on this, involving £500m worth of Islington taxes, will be voted on later this year.
Islington Friends of Yibna
That very same day, members of the ‘No to Veolia Action Group’ (No2VAG) were outside Camden Town Hall where the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) met to discuss Veolia’s tender for the £1.2 billion contract serving the North London boroughs of Camden, Barnet, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest.
It appears that the NLWA does not believe in transparency as the public, who the NLWA are supposed to represent, have not been informed of any decision whether or not Veolia will be excluded. Had the NLWA truly acted in accordance with its own objectives, it would have recommended last December not to shortlist Veolia for the billion pound fuel contract. Hopefully, the NLWA’s decision should be announced sometime next month and will be the right one.
The CHP on the placard refers to "Combined Heat & Power," something that's lacking in Veolia's bid.
Both human rights organisations and campaigners have called for Veolia to withdraw from projects in the occupied territories and cease supporting the infrastructure of settlements that the international community regard as illegal under the 4th Geneva Convention and most people see as morally wrong.
Veolia’s complicity in supporting Israeli war crimes and apartheid runs deep. In addition to building and operating a tramway that links settlements cementing Israel’s hold on occupied East Jerusalem, Veolia also transports settlement refuse to its Tovlan landfill site in the occupied Jordan Valley and operates settler-only bus services under the guise of its subsidiary Connex along Highway 443. This road is often referred to as an apartheid road, since Palestinians are prohibited from using most sections of it.
Thanks in part to pressure from activists and campaigners, Veolia has been losing contracts hand over fist both in the UK and throughout Europe.
In 2011, Ealing Council failed to select the Veolia bid for its domestic refuse, street cleaning and parks maintenance contract that would have been worth about £300m to the troubled company. Later that year, Veolia lost their bid for a £485 million contract for treatment of domestic waste in West London. In addition, Tower Hamlets Council passed a motion calling for its mayor to review its contract with Veolia, the National Union of Students called on its members to campaign against the company and grassroots anti-Veolia campaigns have sprung up in both South and East London.
Veolia also submitted a bid for the colossal £3.5 billion NLWA waste processing contract, but the decision which bid to de-select has been delayed again. The company has since acknowledged the campaign against it, but has refused to withdraw from Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a decision that has cost it billions.
The next meeting of the NLWA is scheduled for Friday 9th March when members of No2VAG will again be present. In the meantime, if you live in North London (or even if you don’t), it’s worth checking out the Hackney Palestine Solidarity Campaign site for more information about No2VAG.
By artist Ellen Graubart of No2VAG
On Saturday February 11th, campaigners were outside London’s Natural History Museum during the fortnightly protests to raise awareness of Veolia’s corporate complicity in Israel’s violations of international law. Veolia, in an attempt to whitewash their corporate complicity, sponsors the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, which runs until 11 March 2012.
Despite the bitterly cold weather, activists distributed flyers and successfully engaged with museum visitors, the vast majority who expressed their support for the campaign and bitter disappointment with the NHM for their continuing corporate partnership with Veolia.
Here are a few images of the day:
Finally, we were pleased (but not surprised) to find this subvertised package of Israeli vine tomatoes in a Co-op supermarket:
People of conscience are increasingly taking action. Whether it’s in the town hall, on the street, at home, online or while out shopping (especially in a supermarket!), BDS is something that everyone can participate in.
Let’s keep the resistance continuous.