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We’ve been covering dirty industries in Avonmouth. This month’s meeting saw people from the neighbourhood discuss the issue.

Photo: Tommy Chavannes

The Cable often goes to areas to find out how local media can work for and on behalf of communities all across Bristol – including areas where people feel sidelined from decisions and debate.

On December 4th we were in one such area, Avonmouth Village, where privatisation of the port and lower regulation has brought many unwanted neighbours to the area. Cable journalist Lorna has been covering one of these:  Day Group and their ash incinerator waste processing plant.

“We’ve tried everything and we’ve been ignored,” a local resident said at the start of the meeting, “we came along to see if you could offer something different.”

Cable journalist Lorna and local campaigner Ian Robinson brought us up to speed with the latest developments affecting residents near to the port. From council planning ‘errors’, to secretive talks with the Environment Agency – the green light for a new polluting incinerator waste processing plant has left residents with urgent questions.

At the Cable, asking questions is one of our most important roles – this is how we get the information that communities need. And it’s how we let powerful people know they are being watched.

At the meeting, we asked:

‘What questions should we be asking about industry in Avonmouth port? Or about the relationship between the port and the council? Or about other things affecting Avonmouth village?’

Thanks to everyone who attended the meeting and took part in the discussions, over the coming months the Cable will be pursuing questions such as…

  • ‘How did Day Group convince the EA to give them this permit?’
  • ‘How could the council make such a planning “error”?’
  • ‘Who is the Environment Agency really here to protect?’
  • ‘Is there any agency involved in these decisions who doesn’t have a vested interest?’
  • ‘How can you say there’s not enough dust in the air to be concerned about when we have to scrape it off our cars?’

This should keep our journalists busy for a while! Over tea and mince pies (and later, the pub!) Cable contributors, local residents and members made connections and plans to follow up the questions together.

Resident Ian Robinson pointed out that the pollution from the port industries affects everyone across Bristol; residents in nearby Avonmouth Village might feel the effects more intensely, but ‘pollution knows no postcode’.

Next members meeting: ‘Tax dodgers in Bristol – who is dodging tax on buying up hundreds of Bristol properties?’ 18:00 Monday 22nd January, St Paul’s Learning Centre

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