THE Liberal Vannin party says it’s committed to building a transparent independently scrutinised government.
An analytical report into the island’s IRIS sewerage network, posted on the Lib Van website, appears to offer that independent scrutiny – and its highly critical findings could make for uncomfortable reading for the government.
The un-named author concludes that the regional sewage treatment strategy has been adopted by virtue of ‘flawed and misleading information’ - and it would be cheaper to link Peel to the main IRIS network served by the sewage works at Meary Veg, Santon.
But now Lib Van leader Peter Karran has confirmed the man behind the report is David Jones, who stood as the party’s candidate in Rushen at the last general election and owns land next door to the site being earmarked for Peel’s proposed regional sewage treatment plant.
In fact, Mr Jones secured planning consent on appeal in July 2008 to build 21 homes on the plot adjacent to the brickworks entrance on Glenfaba Road.
Related article: Plans for regional sewage plants ‘flawed’.
In his report he suggests the location of a proposed sewage works at Peel ‘is flawed as the effluent discharge is directly into the bay where bathing regularly takes place and carries the risk to health which the European Clean Bathing Water Directive was designed to prevent’.
He said if the works had been correctly costed, linking Peel by pipeline to Meary Veg rather than building a separate regional treatment plant in the town, would have been shown to be the economic option by more than £4 million.
Party leader Mr Karran insisted there was no secret about the author’s identity. He claimed it was the Water and Sewerage Authority who had the vested interest and urged people to read the report to read the ‘facts’.
He told iomtoday: ‘Everybody knows he’s the author. He owns a bit of land in Glenfaba. There’s nothing secretive about it – we have not hidden it.
‘We are not looking at some shady individual with an ulterior motive.
‘We thought it was an excellent report. It’s the facts that people need to look at. If the figures don’t stack up then that what’s people should be worried about.
‘The government with their PR spin have a vested interest. There’s a total imbalance in the system, We can’t spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on taxpayers’ money on feasibility studies into IRIS - that’s a vested interest, that’s more of a vested interest.
‘David had put in about 2,00 hours of work into this. He said to us he would never have looked at IRIS but for the fact that he is affected.
‘But he was so shocked – he could not believe what was allowed to go through.’
Graham Cregeen MHK, chairman of the Water and Sewerage Authority, said the report was portrayed as being independent when it was not. ‘They should make it clear who the author of the report is.
‘His figures are all wrong. At the moment we are getting really good prices for bring in regional sewage treatment and making significant savings.
‘Peter Karran was always greatly critical of sewage being pumped around the island and now he is saying we should be. Has he changed his mind?’
Mr Karran is asking two questions for oral answer about sewerage in this week’s Tynwald. He wants to know answers to a series of questions about Meary Veg, the sewage plant in Santon.
He is also asking about the proposed regional sewage treatment works in Peel, the number who will use it and the cost of developing it.
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