Spin doctors to sell incinerator idea
COUNTY chiefs have hired a team of specialist spin doctors to sell the idea of an incinerator to the people of Suffolk, The Evening Star has learned.A report outlining the county council's plans for the future of waste reveals a total of £4million has been budgeted to push through the project over the next three years.
COUNTY chiefs have hired a team of specialist spin doctors to sell the idea of an incinerator to the people of Suffolk, The Evening Star has learned.
A report outlining the county council's plans for the future of waste reveals a total of £4million has been budgeted to push through the project over the next three years.
Kent based public relations team DTW Vavasour, which specialises in providing communications support to the public sector, has been appointed to “provide public relations advice” for the project for a two-year period ending July 2009.
The appointment has come in for criticism from anti-incinerator campaigners because the council already has a communications team.
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Peter Welham, who heads anti incinerator group SAIL, said: “I find it remarkable that the council should appoint outside specialists, no doubt at some huge expense, to sell the idea of incineration to the rate payers of Suffolk.
“Perhaps the council thinks the task is so onerous that they deliberately chose not to give that responsibility to the in house press and public relations team at Endeavour House.”
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Eddy Alcock, Suffolk County Council spokesman for the environment, defended the move.
He said: "The specialist advice we have chosen to hire in is additional resource which we simply do not carry in the organisation.
“£4 million is less than one percent of the total cost of the project.
“The decisions we have to make about the county's waste will affect everybody in Suffolk over the next quarter of a century and involves an investment of half-a-billion pounds.
"It is only right that we do this thoroughly and properly.
“If that means investing in additional environmental, legal, technical and communications resources so that we can have a properly informed debate and reach the best solution for the people of Suffolk, who are producing over half a tonne of waste per person per year, then that is what we must do.
"The purpose of the communications consultancy is to ensure that we effectively communicate with the residents of Suffolk; to explain why changes to the current disposal methods are necessary; to explain the technologies available and the potential site locations and involve them in the decision making to decide on the best option for Suffolk.”
A county council spokesman said hiring the public relations team is costing the authority around £50,000 a year.