Members of Durham County Council have been prevented from speaking about the problems of Premier Waste, the council-owned waste disposal company that has been stopped from dumping untreated household waste at a site near Coxhoe.
Waste disposal was on the agenda at today’s (Monday 17th March) meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee, but the item was passed “on the nod” and nothing was said about Premier Waste. This is despite the fact that twice this month the BBC’s “Inside Out” television programme has highlighted problems at two waste disposal sites in the county, at Coxhoe and Newfield near Bishop Auckland. At Newfield, residents have complained of terrible smells coming from the tip and an analyst found traces of potentially lethal E.coli.
The press were present at the scrutiny committee, but at the Labour Group meeting earlier in the day Labour members were warned by the council leadership “not to raise any embarrassing questions” about Premier. As a result, nothing was said.
Question: why does the Labour leadership of the Council not want to have any open discussion about the failings of their own waste disposal company? Could it possibly be connected with the fact that Council Leader, Cllr “21 Jobs” Albert Nugent, is a director of Premier’s holding company Durham County Waste Management Co Ltd?