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17 August 2010
Veolia, a French multi-national, may be allowed to tender for contracts with Edinburgh City Council despite the company’s clear involvement in violations of international law. Lib Dem Leader and SNP Deputy Leader of Edinburgh City Council, Jenny Dawe and Steve Cardownie, have written to Edinburgh citizens to defend their decision. Veolia’s involvement in Israel’s illegal settlements, clear crimes under international law, have led to Dublin, Melbourne, Swansea, Bordeau, and other elected councils barring the company from tendering for any contracts. Veolia’s multi-billion euro contract in Stockholm County was terminated following a national outcry at their ‘grave misconduct’ in violating the human and political rights of the Palestinian people.
Public anger at corrupt and cowardly politicians is widespread in Britain. Much worse than the revealed corruption, however, was the way in which t6he UK Parliament prosecuted invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan in the face of overwhelming public opposition.
Councils are, among other things, apprenticeship schemes for those wishing to enter Westminster. The defence of Veolia’s crime by Dawes and Cardownie is of a piece with Tony Blair’s lies about weapons of mass destruction.
The Leader and Deputy Leader of Edinburgh City Council throw up a smoke screen using Section 17 of the Local Government Act 1988 to claim they are unable to bar Veolia on the grounds of the “location in any country or territory of [Veolia’s] business activities”. That is, however, NOT the basis for the complaint against Veolia; the grounds for challenging Veolia are their undeniable ‘grave misconduct’.
- The Local Government Act 1988 does not debar a Local Authority from excluding Veolia from public contracts on grounds of grave misconduct: read more
Cllrs. Dawe and Cardownie claim that there is no ‘very clear and robust evidence that the company [Veolia]…has behaved in a way that constitutes “grave misconduct". They say they have been ‘informed that the Council has seen no evidence’ of any ‘grave misconduct’ by Veolia.
If true, this means Edinburgh Council’s leaders see no ‘misconduct’ in Veolia
• supporting war crimes (Israel’s settlements are ‘war crimes’ under 4th Geneva Convention, art. 49 & 53)
• being involved in the construction of a light railway to link racist, Jewish-only colonies across the ghettoes of Palestine
• illegally dumping effluent from criminal settlers on Palestinian areas against the express wish of all Palestinians
• operating bus routes linking illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory
Edinburgh City Council is bound by the 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice that
‘All States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation…’
Veolia is clearly ‘render[ing] aid or assistance in maintaining the situation’ and reasonable people see that as ‘grave misconduct’.
Glasgow has a Mandela Square, a tribute to the contributions made from there to end South Africa apartheid. The absence of any similar landmark in Edinburgh records the efforts of the Dawes and Cardownies of an earlier age to prevent any official support from Edinburgh for the international struggle against that earlier system of racist oppression.
Please write, call, and meet with, and get others to write, call and meet with Edinburgh City Councillors to insist they follow Dublin, Swansea and West Dunbartonshire Councils and bar Veolia from tendering for any contracts with Edinburgh City Council on the grounds of their clear grave misconduct.
*** Contact your Councillors today!
- Sample letter to Edinburgh City Council: boycott Veolia
- How to find & lobby your Edinburgh City Councillors to repudiate Veolia
- List & Contact Details of Edinburgh City Councillors
Veolia Environment and Subsidiaries
Thank you for your email of earlier today requesting that existing contracts with Veolia and their associated companies are cancelled and that they be excluded from future tendering opportunities.
As you may be aware Veolia ES (UK) Ltd has been short-listed for a contract to provide Environmental services for the Council. The tendering of this contract is subject to the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2006.
The 2006 Regulations require a Contract Notice to be placed in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) inviting organisations to register their interest in bidding for the contract. The subsequent process is closely regulated and limits the reasons that can be used for the selection of candidates and the award of the contract.
The relevant Regulations for the selection of candidates are 23, 24, 26 and 30 and it is this Council’s interpretation of these Regulations that a candidate’s political/ethical connections cannot be considered in selecting or awarding contracts. For a candidate to be excluded under Regulation 23 there would have to be very clear and robust evidence that the company had relevant criminal convictions or has behaved in a way that constitutes “grave misconduct”. I am informed that the Council has seen no evidence that this is the case.
Section 17 of the Local Government Act 1988 also prohibits the Council taking into account non-commercial considerations including the “location in any country or territory of the business activities or contractors”.
Accordingly having regard to ethical and political considerations or a related company’s presence in a particular territory in the selection and award of a contract is considered by this Council to be unlawful. To do so may provide valid grounds for a successful legal challenge leading to an award of damages and/or the setting aside of the subsequent contract.
I trust this explains the Council’s position.
Councillor Jenny Dawe
Leader – The City of Edinburgh Council
[A]: By Councillor Chapman - Veolia Environnement
“Council notes that
1. Veolia Environnement is a leading partner in the consortium contracted to build a light railway system linking Israel to settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.
2. Veolia Environnement operates in illegally occupied Palestinian Territory, servicing bus routes built through Palestinian land for Israeli settlers, and operating the Tovlan landfill site which serves Israeli settlements .
3. The United Nations does not recognise Israel’s annexation and occupation of East Jerusalem and has repeatedly stated that the
Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank contravene international law.
4. Veolia’s involvement in these projects is in contravention of the UN’s stated demand that Israeli settlement activities and occupation
should not be supported.
Council therefore agrees to follow the commendable example of Dublin City and Swansea City and County Councils and:
1) exclude Veolia Environnement and any of its subsidiaries (Veolia Transport, Veolia Environmental Services, Veolia Water, Onyx,
Cleanaway, Connex, TMM) from all new Edinburgh City Council contracts;
2) not renew any existing contracts and/or ad-hoc arrangements that are in place that use services provided by Veolia Environnement or any of its subsidiaries.”
[B]: By Councillor Blacklock - Veolia Environnement
“On the basis that Veolia provides services to illegal settlements in Occupied Palestinian land and is therefore complicit in grave breaches
of international and human rights law committed by the state of Israel, Council agrees to call for a report that outlines how:
- Veolia Environnement or any of its subsidiaries - Veolia Transport, Veolia Environmental Services, Veolia Water, Onyx, Cleanaway, Connex, TMM - can be excluded from all Council contracts.
- Any ad hoc arrangements that are currently in place to use services provided by Veolia Envirronement, or any of its subsidiaries, can be cancelled.