Thursday 30 June 2011

The Tobacco-Powered Electricity Plant Is An Official Secret

I understand that a follow-up request has been lodged to ascertain exactly which power station is tasked with emitting these highly toxic chemicals.
That was how I left it a few days ago on the subject of UKBA's contribution to electricity generation ... with goods confiscated from cross-border shoppers. A solution which does no 'stakeholder' any favours.

The response has now been received. Apparently, the destination of all that contraband is so very secret that revealing its location would be a threat to security.

I can confirm that the UK Border Agency holds the information that you requested. However, after careful consideration we have decided that the information is exempt from disclosure under section 31 2 (i) of the Freedom of Information Act. This provides that information can be withheld where disclosure would prejudice the purpose of securing health, safety and welfare of persons at work and the public interest falls in favour of applying the exemption.

We have considered the public interest there may be in the fact that the tobacco is shredded and used as an alternative power supply. Whilst the information that the Agency recycles its seized goods is already in the public domain, we feel that the disclosure of the name and address of the power station where the alternative fuel product is burned outweighs the public interest in disclosing these details.

There is an argument in (sic) to support the public interest in releasing this information on the grounds that it provides greater transparency with regards to outside organizations with whom the agency works. It may also assist the public in being able to develop an understanding of the processes adhered to in this instance however, ff (sic) we were to disclose this information it could substantially jeopardise the health, safety and welfare of the contractors acting on the Agency’s behalf. Due to the nature of the work involved all the Agency’s Contractors require anonymity in order to safely undertake the work of the Agency.

Disclosure of this information could put at risk the safety and welfare of the staff at the site where the tobacco is being shredded and transformed into an alternative fuel product. If this information was made public it could increase the risk of recovery by force of the tobacco product prior to it undergoing the necessary treatment processes. This is clearly not in the public interest.
In short. If they tell you where the baccy is being burned, hordes of disgruntled trippers are going to rock up with pitchforks and torches to grab the stuff back. Or are they scared of the perennially-terrified driving their diesel-powered 4x4s up there to complain about their pure air being contaminated? Could be either, but they don't elaborate.

However, secret the plant must stay as a vital matter of health and safety.

The instigator hasn't taken this lying down, of course. We're talking serious health threats here after all.

With reference to your reply to the above FOI request dated 29th June 2011, I am requesting an independent internal review of your decision not to supply the information that I requested.

You state that information is exempt from disclosure under section 31 2 (i) of the Freedom of Information Act as disclosure would prejudice the purpose of securing health, safety and welfare of persons. The information that I requested is to secure the health, safety and welfare of people that may be being exposed to deadly 'second hand smoke' from the burning of 'shredded tobacco'.

In view of this known deadly health hazard, I believe that the whereabouts of the burning of this 'alternative power supply' should be known to the public whose health may be in considerable danger.
In light of the recent assertion that secondhand smoke is more dangerous than sucking on a car's exhaust pipe, it's uncommonly worthy of the enquirer to go the extra yard on this issue, don't you think?

Please God let the place be in or around Milton Keynes.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you should let those fine folks at ASH know about this appalling amount of SHS being released into the atmosphere by the Gov.

I'm sure they will be right onto the case...

Leg-iron said...

Forget ASH. Get the Daily Mail on the case. Just imagine the headline - "Deadly tobacco fumes could be drifting across YOUR town as tonnes of confiscated tobacco is burned to generate electricity - and nobody knows where. Shock horror tremble quake."

That should further faecalise the fan.

Curmudgeon said...

...and it is bound to affect house prices...

Dick Puddlecote said...

Yes, it's that dangerous.

We're really at the point in time where the burning of tobacco is considered too taboo a subject for a state body to discuss.

Absurdity doesn't get much more intense than that.

Anonymous said...

I think that it may be near where I live as my cat comes home coughing.
I think that I may have developed asthma and my husband coughs and splutters when he lights a bonfire and cooks on the barbecue.

Anonymous said...

You forgot "CANCER" curmudgeon, an essential part of any DM headline.

Smoking Hot said...

They are talking utter bollocks. The shredder is a mobile shredder and calls into specific warehouses to shred the 'stolen' goods when the amount is big enough. In Scotland it is 10 million cigarettes and they are stored at Queens Warehouse, Hillington, Glasgow ... (shhh, UKBA say this is a secret and National Security at that!)

For verification look here

You'll note that UKBA cease to trace the goods once they are put on the destruction list ... not when they are actually destroyed. Excellent security then? ... l'm sure none go missing, eh? ;)

Anonymous said...

Either that statement is incorrect or the FOI department is lying.

The first sentence of the refused FOI request clearly states that they do hold the information. As the question was 'where is it being burned' their answer obviously applies to that question.

Yet the statement states that they do not know where it goes to be burned ???

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Puddlecote

It's National Smoking Day.

I shall be lighting up to celebrate, and maybe have a bonfire and a barbecue.


Anonymous said...

PS You could denounce UKBA to ASH. I wonder what their response would be. DP

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see someone file a lawsuit for personal injury against the government for failure to point out where the deadly SHS is emanating from, as without proof which areas are being affected by the deadly fallout then anyone suffering any malediction what-so-ever will be fearful it is from the deadly cloud of SHS consuming perhaps all of UK. And SHS has already been proven the cause of anything bad, thus open and shut cases when they begin hitting the courts.

Since this is obviously something worse than Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukishima combined - then the public bloody well has the right to know which areas are currently being affected.

This is deadly, gnarly, ghastly stuff we are talking about. This isn't radiation from plutonium and uranium - this is Second Hand Smoke for Chris'sake!!

Anonymous said...

Good point SH. We have the address where all the intact stuff is but it's a big freaking secret where all the minced up tobacco/packaging crap is! Thryre taking the piss!

Anonymous said...

As I suggested a couple of days ago, Mr Hot should put a tracking device in a pack and get it confiscated.

wcoaphorse2010 said...

Might be worth having a go under Environmental Informaton Regulations (EIR) as there's clearly a desperately dangerous escape of second hand bollocks into the environment.
Sometimes stuff for which they claim exemption under FOI is more easily obtained under EIR (for example Queens Belfast tree ring data iirc)

BarryW said...

You could try Hampshire County Council whose waste contractor runs three[?] incinerator power generators. These woiuld be very suitable for tobacco burning.
The private incinerator in Avonmouth Bristol burn cannibis taken by the Welsh police, but has no generation capacity.