The second lead story in the Telegraph today was this story about how councils should be able to charge for rubbish collection in order to allow them to reduce landfill and avoid swingeing EU fines. This story originates with the Local Government Association who warn that we are “the dustbin of Europe” sending 27 million tonnes of rubbish to landfill every year compared to Germany’s 10 million tonnes. The LGA’s press release is here.
How dumb is this proposal? Do we want rubbish all over our streets? Do we want neighbours at war with each other? Do we want to give councils an excuse to make an additional charge but not reduce the council tax? Do councils really want to invite residents to compare the price for their services with those available on the open market? Could councils really make this charge without the option of an opt out?
The worst part of this proposal is that by unbundling this component of the council’s services you would make the rest seem even more unnecessary and irrelevant to most people. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
The LGA and the recycling industry are also being really disingenuous about incineration. One reason we do lots of landfill is because we don’t do much incineration. Incineration linked to local heat and power schemes is potentially a great solution.
It is a shame that the London Mayor is so against it. Only yesterday the Standard reported that the Belvedere incinerator, which will take 500,000 tonnes out of landfill on its own and power 66,000 homes, has been given the go-ahead by the High Court. The judge said that the Mayor’s case was “totally without merit” and awarded costs against him due to the “hopelessness of the claim”. It seems though the Mayor is prepared to waste another £150,000 of our money taking his hopeless claim forward.
It is worth noting that the Telegraph can have a front page story that confuses imperial tons with metric tonnes and talks about “bin bugs” that can weigh rubbish. No, they are radio frequency id tags that allows bins to be identified so that when they are weighed you could, if you wanted, know whose bin weighed what. If our journalists are this scientifically challenged there is little hope for our economy in the long run!