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Rushmoor defends crass half-size wheelie bin policy

Keith Parkins | 01.09.2008 15:11 | Climate Chaos | Repression | Social Struggles

It has to be hurting. Rushmoor has been forced to issue a press release to defend its half-cock half-size wheelie bin policy.

wheelie bins left in street
wheelie bins left in street

'Rushmoor Borough Council has leapt to the defence of its plan to introduce smaller wheelie bins after reports in the national media were critical of the scheme ... Reports in the Daily Telegraph and Mail On Sunday, in addition to letters to the Star over the past two months, have contained critical remarks from members of the public who condemned the plans as a "con".' -- Surrey-Hants Star

'It's a blatant con, but sadly one that is likely to catch on around the country. Councils make a big show of the fact that they're keeping or reintroducing weekly collections, and then casually add that the bins will now be much smaller. Do they think we are all fools? Everyone can see that keeping weekly collections is a completely empty gesture if the bin is half the size ... Families who cannot cram all their rubbish in will have to drive to the tip, which cannot make any sense for the environment. It will also lead to an increase in rubbish left on the street, which will mean more problems with rats, flies and smells.' -- Doretta Cocks, Campaign for Weekly Waste Collection

'While of course I am fully aware the impact we all make on our environment and always willing to contribute by doing my bit, I refuse to sit by AGAIN, and watch a bunch of jumped-up redundant bureaucrats bowing to EU missives, deliberately trying to con me and the rest of Aldershot and Farnborough ... To suggest new smaller bins are to be issued to encourage recycling is an insult to the intelligence of rats, never mind the rest of us ... It is not a solution but merely a sleight of hand con trick that pulls the wool over innocent tax payers' eyes.' -- Dean Mansfield, Aldershot resident

Following extensive national press coverage and criticism of its half-baked half-size wheelie bin policy

and further critical coverage on BBC South Today

Rushmoor was forced to issue a press release defending the indefensible.

This was then picked up by the local Surrey-Hants Star

which cited at some length comments made on David Clifford's blog, though failed to give the web address, or make mention of the extensive criticism on his blog, though did mention criticism that readers have made in letters to the Star.

Or in other words, the hair-brained scheme to replace existing wheelie bins with half-size bins has been widely criticised and has no support.

That Rushmoor has been forced to release a statement defending its ill-thought out policies, exposes the lie from Rushmoor official David Quirk when he claimed on BBC South Today (19 August 2008) that he listened to local residents. If he was listening, a press release would have gone out saying they had listened and that the policy of replacing existing wheelie bins with half-size bins had been abandoned. Instead they are talking of enforcement.

The press release also contained the amazing piece of information that by replacing existing bins with half-size bins, capacity will be increased by 50%.

Now I know there has been a serious dumbing down of education, but I did not realise it was that bad!

It is always good advice to heed, when in a hole, stop digging. For Rushmoor, it seems when in a hole, keep on lying.

The latest lie to justify replacement of existing bins is that they are at the end of their life and are falling to bits.

Rushmoor lies is though nothing new, they repeatedly lied last year during the fortnightly waste collection trial, then rigged the questionnaire that followed.

The biggest lie of all is that replacing exiting bins with smaller bins, residents will have less rubbish.

At best this is wishful thinking.

Walking along a main road last week, I saw that all the bins put out for collection were full to overflowing.

Everyone I have spoken to is against this crass stupidity. Almost everyone has said their bin is either full or more than half full and sometimes full, therefore reducing the bin size will leave them with insufficient capacity and excess rubbish that has to be disposed of.

We all know what will happen as we experienced it last year when several thousand households were put on fortnightly waste collection for a so-called trial: overflowing bins, rubbish everywhere, fly-tipping, burning of rubbish, extra trips to the local tip, increase in the population of rats and other scavengers.

Rubbish left at the side of the bins will attract foxes, cats, rats and other scavengers. Will it be collected?

The recent Congleton ruling from Ombudsman Anne Seex reiterated that a council has a legal obligation to collect refuse, and that the council has to provide the appropriate means to collect the refuse. [Houlker v Congleton Council]

Last year during the fortnightly waste fiasco, there were two hour queues at the local refuse tip. Nearby businesses were adversely effected by the traffic congestion. And do not even think of driving to the local tip in a van as you will be refused entry.

Another dumb idea is bottle baskets, in which people leave glass bottles out at the kerbside for collection. Already in Aldershot the local yobs are picking up these bottles and smashing them, leaving a trail of broken glass strewn across the street.

The policies that are being pushed would do justice to the inmates of a madhouse.

A recent House of Lords Science and Technology select committee report has shown that households account for less than 10% of waste, and most of that is what is generated by supermarkets with their excess packaging, thus we are addressing the wrong people. Not that is an excuse for not attempting to reduce household waste, but the main emphasis must be on industry and commerce.

There has yet to be any genuine attempt in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor to either reduce waste or increase the borough's piss-poor recycling efforts. This will only be achieved through education, help and support and working with the local community, not as David Quirk has done which has been to go out of his way to antagonise the local community and threaten to beat residents with a big stick if they fail to comply with his diktats.

Quirk's efforts to date include: introducing a charge of £20 for removal of bulky household items (a service that was hitherto free), fortnightly waste collection, replacing existing wheelie bins with half-size bins.

It goes without saying that there has been no consultation on any of these half-baked policies.

Residents of Aldershot during the August Bank Holiday weekend saw the impact of one of these dumb policies. A column of black smoke and toxic fumes when an idiot set fire to a couple of sofas in the street. To make matters worse, one of Quirk's officials who was duty officer refused to attend and deal with the situation.

There is much that can be done to reduce waste and increase recycling, but sadly it is not being done.

Rushmoor has a target of 40% recycling by 2010. On Quirk's performance to date, this pathetic target would not be reached by the end of the century, let alone 2010.

If Quirk were employed in the private sector and delivered this low level of performance, he would have been fired. Performance to date: low recycling rate with no likelihood of improvement in the near future, antagonised local community whose support and cooperation is essential for a waste reduction and recycling strategy, unnecessary cost to local taxpayers of at least three-quarters of a million pounds to replace existing wheelie bins with half-size bins!

Other local authorities achieve far better results. North Kesteven, the best performing local authority for the last two years, already exceeds 50% recycling. They achieve it by working with the local community, by actually focusing on recycling and waste reduction, they have invested in waste handling, they encourage home composting, they provide clear information on what can be recycled and help and support if you need it.

The fundamental difference is that North Kesteven talks to the public and heeds what they say. For Rushmoor this would be an alien concept.

Further information and reference

Anger over smaller bins, BBC South Today, 19 August 2008

Richard Black, Call to tackle UK business waste, BBC news on-line, 19 August 2008

Lester R Brown, Plan B 2.0, Norton, 2006

Lester R. Brown, Throwaway economy in trouble, Earth Policy Institute, 30 November 2006

David Clifford, Alternate week waste collection survey, 18 July 2007

David Clifford, Rushmoor's Waste Management Panel's recommendations, 10 June 2008

David Clifford, Statement to Sunday Telegraph, 14 August 2008

Rebecca Connop Price, Small bin plan defended, Surrey-Hants Star, 28 August 2008

Kevin Dowling, Man wins right to second wheelie bin, Times on-line, 10 August 2008

David Gibbs, If we can’t cut collection we'll halve your bin size, Daily Express, 18 August 2008

Paul Hawken, Amory B Lovins & L Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism, Earthscan, 1999

Liz Hull, Family wins battle for a second bin (and it only took two years!), Mail on-line, 11 August 2008

Alastair Jamieson, Councils may hand out extra wheelie bins after landmark ruling, Telegraph, 10 August 2008

Alastair Jamieson, Want weekly rubbish collections? Then you must have a smaller bin, say councils, Sunday Telegraph, 17 August 2008

Tom Kelly, The shrinking bins, Daily Mail, 18 August 2008

Dean Mansfield, Bins plans are a 'con', letters, Surrey-Hants Star, 14 August 2008

Keith Parkins, Natural Capitalism, October 2000

Keith Parkins, Curitiba – Designing a sustainable city, April 2006

Keith Parkins, Recycling – a tale of two councils, UK Indymedia, 5 January 2007

Keith Parkins, Rushmoor lies on fortnightly waste collection, UK Indymedia, 11 June 2007

Keith Parkins, Council rigs questionnaire on fortnightly waste collection, UK Indymedia, 16 July 2007

Keith Parkins, The duty of local councils to consult, UK Indymedia, 1 August 2008

Keith Parkins, Rushmoor wheelie bin madness, UK Indymedia, 11 August 2008

Keith Parkins, Household rubbish less than ten per cent of waste, UK Indymedia, 21 August 2008

Plan aims for zero waste society, BBC news on-line, 11 March 2008

Graham Tibbetts, Smaller wheelie bins for weekly rubbish collections, Telegraph, 18 August 2008

UK 'must tackle business waste', BBC news on-line, 20 August 2008

Ernst von Weizsåcker, Amory B Lovins and L Hunter Lovins, Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use, Earthscan, 1997

Keith Parkins
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