AFTER THE ‘OPEN DAY’, WHAT’S NEXT?
We Need Your Help…
At the time of writing (Wednesday morning 2 Aug), Veolia still has to lodge its appeal. We have every reason to believe they will do so, and they have till 11.59pm on Sunday 6 August. When that happens, and we are advised of this – this could be some days – the real work starts.
Meanwhile, you can help with the next step – and please do, it’s important. This is a long message, and I’m sorry for that, but please read it all carefully, as your actions as described below could make a difference.
First, a word about the so-called ‘Open Day’, the final brick in the company’s flawed communications strategy. A total of 14 people attended throughout the day, despite the company’s last minute addition of two evening sessions; they cancelled the 5pm, as no-one showed up – but then we saw no promotion or publicity for this, so perhaps not surprising. And of the 14 in total who attended, 3 were Long Leys Residents Association monitors anyway.
But make no mistake. In Veolia’s mindset, this will be ‘spun’ as a success. They’ll say that as only 14 people attended from 1,000 or so interested residents, then everyone must be entirely happy with their operations, and content for them to do whatever they like to develop the site. Let’s overlook the fact that well over half this potential audience wasn’t even told it was happening…
It’s been a cynical ‘tick box’ exercise, very far from any sort of true consultation or engagement. The company was criticised harshly at the planning meeting in February for failing to consult, but now they can say (1) they have leafleted the area – well part of it; (2) they have knocked on doors – some few; and (3) they have held an ‘open day’. Well yes, but…
Next they’ll say that we as residents must be entirely happy with everything they do, as they have had no complaints. That’s not true, but let’s assume they only count formal notice from regulatory authorities like the Environment Agency (EA). If you have any valid reason to complain, or have done so in the past and not had satisfactory resolution, now’s the time to do so please.
COMPLAIN TO THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY
Have you any complaints about Veolia that involve noise, light, smell, litter, etc.? Are these problems recent? Please bear in mind we lose credibility unless the complaints are responsible, and based on evidence – you have some form of proof, say photos, or a diary list of dates when such-and-such occurred, or when you rang the company to talk to them about it. They must not be trivial or historic either – a single event three years ago (for example) will waste the Environment Agency’s time, and we want them on our side.
If you aren’t sure whether your complaint has any value, or would like help drafting a letter to the EA, send me an email and I’ll help you; contact me, CHRIS TAYLOR and, as ever, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW TO COMPLAIN
The easiest way to complain is by email, to Incident_Communication_Service@environment-agency.gov.uk. (Note there is an underscore between Incident and Communication, and between Communication and Service. Between Environment and Agency it’s a simple hyphen. Copy it (belt and braces technique!) to email@example.com. You may like to copy it to me too so we can keep some kind of log, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You should get a rapid response saying your complaint has been logged, and passed to the local area team ‘for further investigation’. You’ll also receive an important Incident Reference Number – PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO ME (email@example.com) so we can log these numbers.
Your complaint can be a simple letter, but the Agency will want dates and times. If it’s a recurrent issue, keep a diary – if you haven’t till now, say you have started to do so (and do it!). If you have photos, send them too. If you rang the company and they said they’d fix it, did they? Did it stay fixed? If not, what dates did you call them, and do you have the name of who you spoke to?
If it’s easier for you, you can ring the EA’s Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60 – but this is designed for something happening pretty much while you’re ringing, or if you’ve tried other ways to get across to them without success.
Again, if you want any help or advice, get in touch and I’ll help.
PERHAPS YOU WANT TO COMPLAIN TO VEOLIA
You may prefer to contact Veolia direct, but if you do, be sure to start your conversation with the request that you want to ‘register a complaint’. If you don’t do this, it’s not likely to be treated as a complaint, but as a simple contact. Ask for a written acknowledgement that your complaint has been received, and that they respond in writing. Then make notes of what was said, the name of the person you spoke to, and the date and time. Then let me know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
ONE MORE EASY, BUT IMPORTANT, REQUEST
If you’re reading this, you’re almost certainly online, or receiving it through social media. But how about your neighbours? If you wonder if they are connected, can you ask them, and maybe print this message out for them? We need all the help we can get, not just people with a facebook account! They can also be kept up to date by registering themselves for Stop Veolia emails by signing up for the Long Leys Community Email list at long-leys.org/subscribe
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