- Objection to water bottling factory
Press Release 17 February 2021
Extinction Rebellion Luton have been alerting the people of Luton that the area is threatened with a huge increase in traffic, contributing to the climate crisis. The threat comes from a proposed bottling plant at Butterfield Green.
“We are in a state Ecological Emergency, a Climate Crisis”, said campaigner Mark Dimmock. “And we simply cannot allow a development that is about water extraction, traffic increase, and pollution from additional plastic bottles.”
XR Luton have launched a social media and a letter campaign urging people to object to the bottling plant, which is due to be considered by Luton Borough Council in the next few days.
An industrial unit is proposed that will cover almost 10 acres, and water will be extracted from two drilled bore holes. Underground pipes will carry the extracted water to the plant.
The plant will operate 24 hours a day, with constant traffic causing a massive pollution impact on the area.
Further, bottling water will increase the amount of plastic in the environment, which is entirely unacceptable.
XR Luton are also questioning the environmental impact water extraction could have on the water table and an essential life source for the future generations of Luton. With rising global temperatures, which could eventually lead to drought conditions, new water extraction would seem to be extreme folly.
Indeed, the Government’s own water extraction strategy (ref1) (ref2) spells out the dangers for water-stressed areas, and suggests that no new water extraction should be allowed. Luton and surrounding areas contain rare chalk streams, and the quality of water here must be preserved, say Extinction Rebellion Luton.
Back in 2019, a Countryfile article was published with a quote from the (at the time) head of the Environment Agency: “Water shortages in England are set to become an ‘existential threat’ to the nation, according to James Bevan, the head of the Environment Agency”.
“In other words, water extraction, leading to possible water shortages, could threaten our very existence”, declared Luton XR campaigner Mark Dimmock.
“A new plant that will add massively to the number of bottles in the waste stream would be ludicrous now that we know just how harmful plastic waste can be”, added Luton XR rebel Lynn Bliss. “We simply cannot consider introducing so much into the environment from Luton”.
Lynn went on to declare: “We are using every possible social media channel to tell the people of the town to object in the strongest terms to this outrage”.
Another campaigner, Ian Alderman, added: “13 billion plastic bottles are used in the UK each year (480 billion sold globally). 7.5 billion are recycled in the UK (we hope), but 90 per cent of the world’s plastic bottles are not recycled. 5.5 billion bottles end up in landfill or our oceans! All plastic is a product of the petrochemical industry. The company Roxane has asked the Environment Agency for a licence to extract up to 120 cubic metres per hour, which equates to 240,000 half litre bottles per hour. This corresponds to the quantity of water used by 15,000 residents of Luton each year – and Luton is an area classed as seriously water stressed by the Environment Agency. The potential pollution from the plastic corresponds alarmingly to 42 thousand tonnes of plastic per year! Just so they can steal our water and sell it back to us and make a handsome profit for themselves. No, No, No!!”
To voice your concerns, PLEASE email Email PSC-WaterResources@environment-agency.gov.uk and your councillors, referencing “The company Roxane UK Limited have applied for planning for a bottling plant at Butterfield Business Park, Luton, Nat Grid 10422 24872. Application number NPS/WR/033836”.
- Luton residents come together to “Save Our Trees”
Saturday the 1st of August saw bridges in Luton draped with banners and campaigners with placards as Extinction Rebellion Luton joined forces with Trees4Luton and local residents in support of the ‘Save Vauxhall Way Trees’ campaign, to prevent the felling of a mile and a half of roadside woodland along Vauxhall Way in Luton.
The sound of horns from supportive drivers rang along the length of the road, as drivers shared their dismay at the unnecessary plan to replace the wildlife corridor, a woodland habitat for bats, owls and hedgehogs with a dual carriageway and large multi-lane junctions. Campaigners ask for the scheme to be dropped, considerably redesigned, or applied only to the section closest to the airport, to preserve as many trees as possible.
The council is accused of ‘green-washing’ the plan with a new joint walking/cycle path that is unnecessary as cool, quiet woodland walking and cycle routes already exist on parallel roads. The council declared a state of Climate Emergency in January and committed to becoming a carbon neutral town by 2040, but critics say that the council’s attitude so far does not reflect this, as they continue to push for airport expansion and road expansion to sustain it, cutting down hundreds of mature trees essential to mitigate pollution and carbon emissions from the town.
“I have contacted the council and met with them about these plans, but been ignored” Says Steve, Hartsfield Road resident for 30 years who joined the campaign after meeting protesters on Saturday, “I am happy that others feel the way I do about our community and the nature around us. We need to press home the value of keeping green spaces for all to enjoy”
“The two potential future developments used to justify the plan, airport expansion and a 1000+ home estate on Eaton Green Road, look highly unlikely to proceed” Said campaigner Mark Rees, “so all we are saying is, give trees a chance!”
Join our Campaign to stop this beautiful wildlife corridor from being destroyed.
Sign the petition: change.org/VauxhallWay
Join our FB Group Save Vauxhall Way Trees
- Save Vauxhall Way Trees
XRLuton fully support the “Save Vauxhall Way Trees” campaign.
Come along to Wigmore Park on Saturday 18th July, 11am, to meet for Samba Band rehearsal – skills not needed, just a drum or next best thing, or just a willing to take part in related actions 🥁🥁🥁
Follow this link to sign the Change.Org petition: http://chng.it/ZCKSPxBJ
Join the Facebook Group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3626396450704257/?ref=share
- A softer side of the rebellion
XR Luton ladies were invited to a Precious Pearls event for women, at High Town Methodist Church.
It was a great event with lots of interesting speakers, then there was a piano player, singing and dancing, making this quite a giggle! The emphasis was on caring for Mother Earth, and it was wonderful to hear that so many women are aware of the Climate Crisis and want to be part of the change we all need.
We set up a stall with Rachel’s beautiful table cover, and our new leaflets which show Extinction Rebellion are more than a group of complainers – we are searching for solutions and have some of the answers to create our future. Lot’s of positive conversations and connections made with this community.
Thanks Ann for organising the event, hope to see you for another one soon!
- Card presentation to the council
This week we were able to present our giant card to the council executive, calling for a declaration of climate emergency. It has been signed by many of us at XR Luton, attendees at a recent Luton Council of Faiths meeting, and members of the public we talked to at our march on Friday.
Hazel Simmons received the card, and we then read a statement to the council executive outlining the need to act, and calling for a sense of urgency.
Both were well received, and councillor Tom Shaw spoke to us about the council’s plans to consult on a net zero target for Luton. He mentioned 2030, twenty years earlier than central government’s current target.
We are grateful for the council making space for us on the meeting’s agenda, and we look forward to working with them to develop solutions for Luton.
We will also keep up the pressure on the council to ensure that this positive rhetoric turns into real policy. We do note that even in the press release to announce these new climate policies, there is a robust defence of airport expansion. We recognise the complexities of these issues, but ultimately airport expansion is not compatible with net zero climate targets. We will be raising this in futher discussions and actions with the airport operators.
Thanks to the arts and creative team for a wonderful card, and the politics group for liasing with the council.