Tameside Council in Stepan UK’s Pocket?September 17th, 2011. Posted by in Chemical Leak | Contamination | Dukinfield | Health Risk | Info from Tameside Council | Pollution | Stalybridge | Tameside | Toxic Pollution
Residents and business owners in Tameside, who have been suffering the ill effects of the ongoing toxic chemical leak from Stepan UK for many years, are increasingly amazed at Tameside Council’s failure to take any action against Stepan UK, who admitted responsibility at the beginning of 2011, according to TMBC and United Utilities.
A number of residents now believe there are grounds to suspect that an unhealthy relationship/arrangement between Stepan UK and the local authority lies behind Tameside Council’s unbelieveable failure to act in the interest of residents.
Tameside Council is now proactively and publicly defending Stepan UK and apparently seeking to blame United Utilities, despite giving residents a very different view behind closed doors.
Below are just some of the facts that illustrate serious cause for concern surrounding Tameside Council’s conduct:
Questionable Conduct from John Gledhill
(Tameside Council’s Environmental Services Manager)
On 31st May, Tameside Council’s Environmental Services Manager, John Gledhill, wrote to Councillor John Taylor about the chemical leak, stating that: “the frequency of the events over the last 6 months or so has increased significantly and United Utilities undertook some investigations to find out why this might be so. Their investigations lead us to Stepan who have fully accepted responsibility”.
On 13th June, John Gledhill met with concerned residents and described Stepan UK’s attempts to deflect responsibility for the matter as “disingenuous”. Mr Gledhill also told residents during the same meeting (which was also attended by Councillor John Taylor) that a solution to the problem had been identified months ago and would take two days to implement, but the work had not yet been carried out because of a lengthy dispute between Stepan UK and United Utilities over the cost of the sewer repair work involved.
Residents then contacted John Gledhill again three weeks later to ask why the problem was still unsolved. This time, Mr Gledhill wrote: “Stepan deny all responsibility, and I have no reason to disbelieve them ….. they (Stepan UK) have been co-operative throughout.”.
Residents then asked Mr Gledhill a number of further questions, including efforts to establish how he could possibly take this view, given Stepan UK’s previous acceptance of responsibility and the company’s conduct which Mr Geldhill had personally described as “disingenuous”.
On 4th July 2011, John Gledhill responded, writing: “I will contact you again when I can answer your queries more fully“.
On 6th July 2011, after being asked when a response could be expected, Mr Gledhill wrote: “I am going to wait until after tomorrow” (when a meeting about the issue was due).
On 8th July 2011, John Gledhill wrote: “it is still my intention to reply to you some time today”.
On 8th July, Mr Gledhill later wrote: “I have drafted a response ….. my Head of Service Ian Saxon has asked to see the draft before it is sent out.”
MR GLEDHILL HAS NEVER ANSWERED THE QUESTIONS. WHY?
Questionable Conduct from Councillor John Taylor
(Tameside Council’s Deputy Executive Leader)
However, in a Tameside Reporter article, John Taylor is then reported as saying “They (Stepan UK) aren’t responsible for the leak…..they’re acting 100 per cent responsibly and working with us”.
Another clear display of Councillor Taylor’s reluctance to serve the interests of those residents affected by the Stepan leak came on 6th July 2011. Following a relatively minor incident of pollution – a fire at a nearby recycling firm on 30th June – John Taylor became very proactive in goading local residents to take action against the firm responsible. Councillor Taylor used his elected position and Tameside Council time and resources to produce a letter telling residents all about the action he had personally taken against the company and even invited residents to seek compensation against the firm for the smell caused by the fire (he said he was claiming for the cleaning bill to get rid of the smell in his own house!!) Councillor Taylor then personally hand-delivered the letters to residents in the affected area.
On this occasion, John Taylor proved that he has the capability to be proactive in such matters, and yet did absolutely nothing of this kind in relation to the far more serious and ongoing matter of the toxic pollution leaking into local homes and businesses from Stepan UK. In fact, when it was suggested to Councillor Taylor that residents should be informed by letter of the potential dangers posed by the Stepan UK leak, he completely ignored the suggestion and the information had to be produced and circulated by local residents using their own time and money. Surely Councillor John Taylor’s failure to be as proactive in the far more serious matter is not just down to the fact that he wasn’t personally affected this time?
COUNCILLOR TAYLOR HAS BADLY NEGLECTED THE INTERESTS OF THOSE WHO ELECTED HIM WHILST DEFENDING STEPAN UK. WHY?
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