Veolia’s Failing Communications Strategy……And how you can help work towards a Public Meeting
As you’ll have read elsewhere, Veolia has now declared its ‘communications strategy’, and claimed that when completed, the company will assess the success or otherwise of that strategy, and then if necessary consider a public meeting.
Here’s the strategy – and why it isn’t working. Indeed, it can’t work. Instead of ‘winning our hearts and minds’ which surely is what they should be working towards, it’s only making more people more angry, and more determined to oppose their plans.
STRATEGY 1: Leaflet drop
This is the ‘Dear Neighbour’ note stuck through some of our letter boxes. Many of you didn’t receive it, but you’ll find it posted on this site if you didn’t get a copy. It seems Veolia have a very limited view of who their plans will affect – and even then they overlooked Oakleigh Drive altogether – almost directly opposite the site entrance – and had to have another go.
Did you get a copy? If not, why not contact Veolia’s communications person Victoria Cooper and ask her to send it to you, and let her know that you want a chance to have your voice heard in a public meeting. Victoria’s email is email@example.com. Copy it to Chris Taylor at StopVeolia also, which will help us see exactly where Veolia distributed and where they didn’t. Chris’ email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
STRATEGY 2: Door knocking
Victoria Cooper and Chris Okenyi (site manager with responsibility for Long Leys site, we understand) came knocking on doors on Monday afternoon. Did they come and see you? Again, if not, why not let them know you are disappointed about not having this opportunity to ‘engage’, as Veolia like to put it. Copy to Chris Taylor as above, if you wish. You may like to ask why they want to visit everyone door to door – they won’t succeed, there are too many doors for this to work, and not everyone is at home anyway during a workday afternoon. Wouldn’t a public meeting give them the chance to answer questions once, not fail to do so the 400-plus times it would take to complete a door to door exercise.
STRATEGY 3: So-called ‘Open Day’
Again, this so-called ‘Open Day’ cannot succeed. It is four hours, in the middle of a working day, and only small groups are acceptable so you have to make a timed appointment. This seriously limits the number of people they can possibly meet.
But why would you go anyway? What’s the point? What you oppose is not there. It may be (perhaps we can be generous this time) that they will tidy the place up for people to see, but you won’t see the ridiculously out of scale buildings they plan, and I’ll bet they won’t have a lorry of the size they plan to truck hundreds of tonnes of rubbish in and out every day.
It’s possible (being generous again) that you may come away believing the company does a respectable job of what they do now. But you are not opposing what they do now, you’re opposing what they propose, which is a very different enterprise indeed in scope and scale. As above, you may like to tell Veolia what you think about this flawed idea.
So – a three step communications strategy, resulting in more people opposing more strongly, and with residents angered that (a) they’ve not been considered important enough to receive a leaflet or a visit, and (b) they’re still denied the opportunity to have their voice heard in a public meeting. Sounds like a failure.
Given this, we should have a public meeting – and it needs to take place before any appeal is launched if it is to have any credibility. That means this week, really. How likely do you think that is to happen? Answers on a postcard – an email is better perhaps – to email@example.com.