Sunday, September 28, 2008

Conference Diary: Sunday 4

Just had a chat with Eric Pickles about the new Tory commitment to encourage councils to reintroduce weekly collections. I asked him about the reaction of councillors to this. Unsurprisingly most have greeted it with huge enthusiasm. Of course, many councils of all political persuasions have introduced fortnightly collections, often because central government diktats leave them with no choice. All councils should be encouraged to improve their recycling, but when there are public health issues involved, they must take precedence. It will be interesting to see how many councils come forward and commit to reintroducing weekly collections.


Anonymous said...

Excellent populist idea that will go down well with the public. The lefties who favour bi-weekly collections will find themselves having to defend an unpopular system that was often introduced by local councils that didn't want to introduce it but had no choice.

PhilC said...

Council with highest recycling rate? Tory-controlled North Kesteven with a fortnightly collection.
In fact something like three-quarters of the top 100 performing local authorities have fortnightly collections.
And the health issue with fortnightly collections is a myth. I know this will bring all the crazies out but squeal all you's still a myth.
If you think having a fortnightly or weekly collection is a government diktat you know nothing about waste disposal policy.
What there is, is a tax on the amount sent to landfill - how councils choose to reduce that liability is up to them and their electorate.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for fortnightly collections - we live in Mole Valley (Con) and have one week recycling one week normal. No problem with smells or pests.

BUT, and it's a big but, is the number of bins you end up with. As a large family (6) we have 2 bins of each type, one v. large, one medium. Having the separate bin means it is easy to recycle a lot (green bin is as full as black)

Then there's the garden refuse bin (voluntary - costs £ 26 / year) and we end up with 5 bins, OK if you have the space but not otherwise.

Summary - Alternate weekly collections work in some places not others, it needs to be a mixture.

John M Ward said...


You hit it on the head, as agreed by "no longer anon". Interestingly, here in Medway it was a Labour former councillor who put the message about that the Conservative-run council was switching to fortnightly collections, never mentioning that it was his party who were pushing this.

As it happened, the opposite was true, and the council's admin' had already firmly stated that they were committed to staying with weekly collections.

The Labour fellow managed to sneak in at last year's local elections (by a mere 16 votes) primarily through that outright lie, and is the only non-Conservative councillor throughout Strood (the other eight are all Conservatives).

Some of the Labour mob are just trash; but we're getting rid of them at every election (and even in between!) and he'll be gone next time...

Anonymous said...

In the Mail aides are quoted as saying it would be "electoral suicide" for any council not to switch back to weekly collections

Anonymous said...

And in buildings with multi occupancy? How many bins then? Where do you put them?

Councils should make recycling easy instead of prosecuting people for some small mistake in putting 'non green' stuff in a 'green' bin.

I'm afraid I question the whole concept of needing to tax landfill. Why not just burn rubbish? why not separate out and recycle centrally after collection.

In any event it all winds up in Africa or China giving people cancer there.

Lets be clear this is just a load of bogus hoopla by a bunch of jerks.

No one knew anything about the coming credit crunch because we have a load of stupid ignorant legislators and regulators (and a load of barrow boy bankers). Its the same with the rationale behind recycling and cutting CO2.

We have sold our soul to a bunch of mad insane environmentalists based on voodoo economics and junk science.

Anonymous said...

Personally I've never seen the problem with fortnightly collections, as long as the recycling is done well there should not be a problem.

Catosays said...

We used to go on holiday to a little town down south in France.
Very odd but they had daily collections, not weekly...daily.
So what's the problem having weekly collections here? I just fail to understand the logic.

Anonymous said...

We successfully fought off a Lib Dem initiative to cut rubbish collection to fortnightly. In inner city or suburbian areas fortnightly simply won't work because of the lack of storage space - the rats, vermin, flies and other bugs and the smell. In the city there are a lot of flats with no where to store rubbish to fortnightly really won't work here - it is terrible when the foxes rip open the rubbish or the bags blow around. If you can manage with fornightly fine, but don't let Lib Dem councils tell you it is more "green". It simply isn't. I hate seeing all the rubbish in people's front gardens - it looks horrid, smells horrid and is a health risk. I think Pickles suggestion is excellent and the constituency I live in would definitely support that.

Anonymous said...

Daily collections- when precisely did that stop? Who stopped it and why?

Anonymous said...

"If you think having a fortnightly or weekly collection is a government diktat you know nothing about waste disposal policy."

Then why has there been an increase in bi-weekly collections recently? Didn't Brown increase the landfill tax?

Anonymous said...

The ridiculous system that has been foisted on us stems from an edict from Brussels that bans landfiil or makes it very expensive, hence the rush to recycle. There is no shortage of landfill in this country as we have plenty of old industrial sites and quarries. In deed we are still making holes in the ground as we quarry some 200m tonnes of rock, sand gravel and clay every year for construction.

The rubbish put into landfill is capped and the methane generated is collected and sold to the gas companies. What you end up with is a metane farm and land that is regenerated. It can also be used to fill in creeks and such on the east coast.

All this is very sensible except like so many things that blight our existence it is a competence of the EU and as we know it's a one size fits all sort of arrangement.

The man who stole my pension will get a surprise when he tries to regulate our banks too. That is also a EU competence so Cameron cann't do anything either.

We are going to have to do something about the power shortage too. Because of EU regulations we are having to close perfectly good coal fired power stations and the man who stole my pension has not made provision to replace this capacity. So as well as being penniless I am going to be without heat and light in 2015 even if I could afford it.

Don't think Dave will do any better. He wants to change things from within the EU. Bet you we still have the same rubbish collection system under the Tories and the lights will still go out.

Victor, NW Kent said...

Irrespective of the fact that some will say they have no problem with fortnightly garbage collections the concept runs contra to all logic.

It is all very well to applaud it whilst talking about having 5 or 6 bins. Most will not have space for so many bins and who wants to have a garden filled up with refuse bins?

There are stench and pest problems in hot weather and we are told that the Earth is getting hotter.

There is no conceivable reason to assume that more rubbish will be recycled if collections are reduced unless one is prepared to factor in more fly tipping. We still enjoy weekly collections but we recycle about 3 times as much volume as we put to refuse.

And, as others have pointed, the recycling is a sham as it is mostly exported at great cost [and carbon cost]to countries in the Far East. I also agree that we should be incinerating most of the volume to generate power.

Countries such as Sweden do so very vigorously and I think I read that it is very established practice in Chicage.

Anonymous said...

I compost all my vegetable and garden waste. I recycle newspaper & cardboard (collected) and also glass, tins and plastic (which I take to supermarket recycling centre). My "normal" rubbish bin is not full, even after two weeks, despite having a baby using disposable nappies. HOWEVER ... the bin stinks to high heaven, even at this time of year. I am a devoted recycler, but the fact is that rubbish stinks when it is left for two weeks. And this is under a Conservative council.

Everything I see and hear from David Cameron makes me want to vote Conservative, but everything I see and hear from my local (Conservative controlled) council makes me realise I just can't!

Chris Paul said...

Populist idea maybe. But is it a Tory idea? Or cost effective? Or green?

Those other populist ideas of lower local taxes and increasing recycling might be more important.

Are Tories going to start going in for Lib Dem style mirroring of views instead of giving leadership?

Fortnightly collections work very well in many areas and there are more Tory Councils at it than otherwise controlled.

North Kesteven is a good example. And Rushcliffe in Ken Clarke's constituency is another. There was no sign there of anyone wanting to go back to weekly. It was a well-handled transition and money was saved. The link was made to that. And also to greening.

Those with issues were given individual attention to deal with these.

Anonymous said...

This is not a party political issue.

My Conservative council collects general rubbish one week and compostable garden waste plus recyclables the next.

One wheelie bin for general rubbish, one for garden waste and a small bin for recyclables.

Recycling rate better than 40%.

The present system replaced the old weekly dustbin collection about 8 years ago. People are generally enthusiastic about the present system because the wheelie bins are much larger than the old dustbins.

I know of no-one who has encountered problems with smells or pests.

Anonymous said...

"HOWEVER ... the bin stinks to high heaven, even at this time of year. I am a devoted recycler, but the fact is that rubbish stinks when it is left for two weeks."

Mine doesn't. Try putting all potentially pongy rubbish in plastic bags and keep the bin lid closed.

Man in a Shed said...

Weren't the bi-weekly collections mandated by the EU ?

I'm not sure recycling will hold up if both bins are collected weekly.

This may turn out to be a mistake.

( Maybe for flats and people who have little space to store two bins weekly collections should be reintroduced. )

Anonymous said...

There is no problem, in principle, with re-introducing weekly collections of household waste + compostable waste + recyclable waste but it would cost more and council tax would have to go up.

Anonymous said...

Personally I think Eric Pickles hasn't thought through his ideas. We need Weekly Sorted Food Waste and kitchen caddy servive; not, not a return to a pointless weekly rubbish collection. With weekly food collection, rubbish can remain at fortnightly.

Please, please can't someone tell dear Eric he is going backwards on taking methane producing food out of waste; not forward.

Also; waste industry is calling for a cap on waste incineratioon, with altenative better technology. Eric is simply promoting more residual, thus more incinerators.

Steve Horgan said...

In Basildon we have stuck with a weekly collection and have still managed to hit all of our targets for recycling. Biweekly collections may just about work for a built environment that gives people to ability to easily store waste security within their property's boundary. However, if you have large dense 60s type estates then it is simply impossible. Even in leafy suburbs biweekly collections are pretty unpopular, which should give elected representatives pause at least.

Having seen the numbers on this one I suspect what has been going on has been less Councils' pushing up recycling rates and more the trousering of the very significant sums that can be saved by going biweekly for rubbish collections, camouflaged by 'green' excuses. Well, that has got to stop. We can't go on using recycling as an cover for a worse service to the public.

Stephen Britt said...

Oh Dear,
Can't we find something far more important to argue about?
Fortnightly collections of landfill waste in wheelie bins pose no health/rat/maggot threat whatsoever - SO LONG AS THE IDIOTS FILLING THE BIN DO IT RESPONSIBLY!
Combined with alternate collections of recyclable waste, also in wheelies, is a great way of reducing landfill costs and increasing recycling levels.
I hope this is not front page stuff - it could be our next 'Europe'!!!

P.S. Iain - like the tie today - very DD.

Anonymous said...

If stuff is worth recycling, someone should surely be prepared to PAY YOU for it.

Anonymous said...

chris paul.

"It was a well-handled transition and money was saved."

That sounds promising. So can we now look forward to cuts in council tax? It will make a nice change from the usual government policy to make us pay more for less.

rob's uncle said...

Re: 'We need Weekly Sorted Food Waste and kitchen caddy service;' I agree: the rest can be collected fortnightly. I am in Richmond upon Thames, which gets pretty hot in the summer, so food waste goes off quickly.

For the moment our excellent Lib Dem Council collects everything every week.

King Athelstan said...

My wife put something in the kitchen caddy, a couple of days later there was this smell permeating the house. I couldn't locate it till I lifted the lid on the caddy ...and gagged. Havent used it since.

Anonymous said...

We need local authorities cut down to just providing useful services, like daily bin collections. All the junkets for councillors and money poured down the drain on the likes of diversity co-ordinators needs scrapping.

Most of all we need out of the ludicrous EU so we never again suffer from lunatic policies like this.

Anonymous said...

Basically you need a standard Weekly Food/Kitchen Caddy collection to solve the fortnightly rubbish bin saga.

Leave general rubbish with less food waste on fortnigtly along with dry recyclables and garden waste.

Pickles has being rather a playing to the popular gallery as a waste jester on the issue. He moves little forward, only backwards. Its food waste that should be collected weekly not mixed rubbish with less food waste left after a weekly food waste collection.

Anonymous said...

Victor NW Kent

""And, as others have pointed, the recycling is a sham as it is mostly exported at great cost [and carbon cost]to countries in the Far East. I also agree that we should be incinerating most of the volume to generate power.

Countries such as Sweden do so very vigorously and I think I read that it is very established practice in Chicage.""

Well anyone who has heard or researched Advanced MBT, Steam Autoclaving, modern Gasplasma or Plasma Gasification facilities; knows incinerator comments are ill informed and garbage.

Victor I've read in the Kent Messenger that residents suffered flys for the last year in Maidstone, because the so called State/Art WRG burner broke down for a year leaving rubbish to pile up and rot at Aylesford like Naples.

Also incinerators waste 75% the energy they produce, even with CHP. So inefficient.

Anonymous said...

Steve Horgan said...
"However, if you have large dense 60s type estates then it is simply impossible."

Nonsense. The area in which I live is mostly dense 1960s estates. Everyone puts their wheelie bin at the end of their drive or, in a very few instances, on the pavement near their house.