Matt McLaren and Enfield Lib Dems slam 'deliberately misleading' response from Mayor of Enfield over extraordinary Council meeting
January 14, 2022
In an open letter to the Mayor of Enfield this morning, Liberal Democrat Council candidate for Winchmore Hill Matt McLaren has slammed the Mayor of Enfield for an email which contains ‘wholly untrue’ and potentially ‘deliberately misleading’ statements.
This email was sent to local residents like him from the Mayor’s office after many residents requested an extraordinary meeting of the Council be convened urgently to debate the new, hugely expanded Edmonton incinerator before the contract for its development is signed in a few days’ time.
Many Enfield residents wrote to the Mayor last week, following a call from the Stop The Incinerator campaign for residents to write in and request that an extraordinary meeting of the Council be summoned to debate the issue before the contract is signed. This followed a request for such a meeting being put to the Mayor, signed by five Councillors in the Community First Group (which includes Lib Dem, Green and Independent Councillors) on 4th January 2022.
Matt and fellow residents who responded to Stop the Incinerator’s call received no reply from the Mayor’s office until yesterday, In it, Enfield Mayor Cllr Sabri Ozaydin claimed (we believe falsely) that he had no power under the Council’s constitution to convene a meeting of the full Council that would meet earlier than 19th January (by which time the contract for the incinerator would already have been signed) and in fact he would not convene an extraordinary meeting until 26th January – somewhat farcically meeting on the same night as ordinary meeting of the Council already scheduled for that date.
Commenting on the Mayor’s email to residents, Matt McLaren has said:
“The Mayor has sat on his hands and done nothing after receiving a request from his fellow Councillors to call an emergency meeting of the Council to debate this monumental issue before the future of so many Enfield residents is signed away.
“He continued to sit on his hands and do nothing when he received many more requests for such an emergency meeting from local residents such as myself. And now, in the ultimate slap in the face to those calling for the democratic debate Enfield is absolutely entitled to and desperately deserves, the Mayor dares to pass the buck and falsely claim that only if the Councillors had requested the meeting earlier then the debate could have taken place earlier.
“That is categorically not true and deeply misleading. The Council constitution is unequivocal on this point and says quite clearly that the Mayor could have called the meeting at any time.”
Commenting on the Mayor’s failure to call an extraordinary meeting in time to debate the Edmonton incinerator before its contract will be signed, Liberal Democrat Councillor Ayfer Orhan (Ponders End) has said:
“The Mayor could have called an extraordinary Council meeting at any time and absolutely should have done so the moment my Councillor colleagues requested that he do so, let alone when so many concerned local residents wrote in asking him to do this.
“The fact that he then went on to incorrectly state the rules when writing to local people about his reasons for not acting when it could have made the difference has seriously called into question his ability to act in the impartial, civic role the Council has elected him to. The role of Mayor is an independent one and I believe by acting in a party-political manner he has eroded local democracy and compromised the role of Mayor.
“There remain serious unanswered questions about the new Edmonton incinerator. Most importantly for our residents health, with only this week the Council’s Environment & Action Scrutiny Panel hearing a report on how all and any sources of combustion in the borough present a serious risk to health from PM10 and Nitrogen Dioxide emissions.
“But there are also many unanswered financial questions, with only one bidder in the process being awarded the contract and potentially new taxes on particulate pollution coming down the track which would ride a coach and horses through its business model. As well as serious environmental questions which still lie unanswered, with all the increased emissions from greater traffic transporting waste and the huge disincentives for greater recycling the new incinerator will create.
“But because of this Mayor’s refusal to act, elected representatives like me won’t have any chance to debate these enormously important issues prior to the contract actually being signed. Disgraceful!”