Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Great Green Waste Debate

CS from Westgate, has asked if I would put the topic of green waste collections up for discussion. I’m happy to and have added some clarification of the issues, after his letter, that you might like to consider:

"It has been publicised by leaflets and in a free local paper that (Thanet District Council) TDC are considering making a charge for the collection of Garden refuse.

The Leaflets and articles state that whilst the collections are suspended if householders need to have the garden refuse collected they can pay a charge of £6.00 for the collection of up to 3 black sacks.

1) No notification was issued prior to TDC taking all collections back in house,

2) That householders would be restricted to only 5 bags of garden refuse per week (this was previously open on the numbers). Now TDC are intimating that we will be restricted to up to 3 sacks (I think it will be one green bin). I and several people in my road attempt to re-use our bags but at the commencement of TDC taking over this service the men did not return these reusable bags.

Is this not another hit on the retired, elderly and disabled people who’s pensions are under ever increasing pressure. Added to this if we are told to recycle and compost will any consideration be given to the increase in the number of rodents. We are now charged for the services of a rat man to call. I live near a school and used to have the rat man twice a year because of leftovers dropped by the school children during term time. Now I don’t bother I just report to the school that they have a rat infestation.

The Make Thanet Beautiful campaign is a joke who wants 3 bins (Black, Blue, Green) outside the front of their home? Next, there will be a bin for glass. Isn’t more damage caused to the environment by people driving up to the council refuse yard than having one lorry making collections? Don’t KCC & TDC make a profit from most of the recycled products?"

Ed: With a garden to tend, green waste is a subject that affects me as much anyone else. In Thanet, it was always a ‘Pilot project’ and at present, one third of the island has it, with the other two thirds paying for it, which I’m sure you would agree isn’t fair.

As pointed out, the proposed new service will cost £25 to £30 for a large garden waste bin and a further £26 a year for a fortnightly collection. This should also have the result of keeping the streets cleaner during the “Green season” and address the many complaints from residents over black sacks and green bags left lying on the streets where green waste has not been part of the collection.

At present, one can place green waste in a black bin but no side waste in sacks is permitted as this now carries a fine.

In simple terms and with 4% inflation only matched by 1% from central government this year, Thanet Council simply can’t afford to subsidise the service. I will keep repeating that we have less and less money to spend on services and significant challenges to overcome where costs and essential services are involved.

I asked Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, who has the Cabinet responsibility for the green waste service for a comment and she replied:

“Presently, it’s a popular service that we wish to extend across the island to give all our residents the chance to re-cycle their green waste. It’s not a service we had to supply but we aim to encourage recycling as part of a broader drive by local authorities across the country to help the environment.”

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

"At present, one can place green waste in a black bin but no side waste in sacks is permitted as thi snow carries a fine".
Clarify please

DrMoores said...

My understanding - and I just heard about it - is that if one has a bin collection but also leaves sacks of garden waste by the bin and not in the bin, then it is a fixed penalty offense.

Anonymous said...

How big is the bin?

Anonymous said...

This has obviously been a very long Pilot project of years and not months. The paper collection was a pilot project in Westgate and was stopped...Thank goodness - to a certain extent - we now have the recycle bins.

Please can anybody or even someone of retirement age tell me if the pension went up by 4% last year and if they expect it to this year...Or can they tell me when the last pension increase kept up with inflation let alone the increase at the rate of the property tax increases.

Perhaps also someone can tell me which Thanet area has to pay for the collection of the green garden waste?

I reiterate my question...Do KCC & TDC sell or get a fee for the recycled materials>

CS

Anonymous said...

This has obviously been a very long Pilot project of years and not months. The paper collection was a pilot project in Westgate and was stopped...Thank goodness - to a certain extent - we now have the recycle bins.

Please can anybody or even someone of retirement age tell me if the pension went up by 4% last year and if they expect it to this year...Or can they tell me when the last pension increase kept up with inflation let alone the increase at the rate of the property tax increases.

Perhaps also someone can tell me which Thanet area has to pay for the collection of the green garden waste?

I reiterate my question...Do KCC & TDC sell or get a fee for the recycled materials>

CS

Anonymous said...

The suspension of the green waste collection is very disappointing; this was one of the real positives I found when I moved to Thanet a couple of years ago and was heavily supported in my area, judging by the number of sacks left by the roadside. Now we'll all be making discrete visits to the tip guzzling gas all the way! Hardly a green solution.

Anonymous said...

Councils, District and otherwise, are always going on about cuts in subsidy. I know it is an issue and Local councils are getting less from Government but it is also true that unelected executives are getting more and more.
KCC recently recruited 2 Business efficiency experts at 80 grand a year to help them...wait for it.... SAVE MONEY!
Did they not think of cutting the Chief execs 229,000 a year salary?
I thought of it and no one pays me 80 grand.
How much does unelected chief exec Richard Samuel help himself to?
Peter Gilroy has shown value for money by successfully trashing Margate Library, splurging on an internet tv station no one watches,
and visiting Virginia for all our benefit. How public minded of him.
Maybe he and Sandy Ezekiel can swap travel stories but then he's probably already visited China.

DrMoores said...

Over the last ten years and mostly thanks to our present government, public sector salaries (The Guardian jobs page) have rocketed.

This has put a strain on those who have to pay those salaries from their taxes. The public sector has also grown in a way that resembles the best efforts of socialist governments in countries such as Germany and France.

On a personal note, I believe the encouragement given to huge public sector salary awards, bringing them in line with the private sector, is wrong. Take the recent Maidstone health trust CDIF fiasco. There used to be a balance. i.e. publc sector workers balanced lower salaries with far higher final pension settlements but today the results appear quite unjustified in the eyes of many taxpapers.

Do bear in mind that local councillors are a different matter.

Local taxpapers did not pay for the visit to China by Sandy Ezekiel, which we genuinely expect to deliver a benefit to the local economy as a consequence.

The expenses paid to local councillors do not in any way reflect the time that doing this work entails. I wonder how many councillors when they realise what is demanded of them, would have, with the benefit of hindsight, left local politics to others.

James Maskell said...

I still havent received any information about the soon to arrive recycling system in Cliftonville West and Margate Central. It would be nice to have some information so I can explain it to my fellow housemates...

Anonymous said...

I understand that if TDC receives a complaint about a recycling centre not being emptied, they have it collected and taken to the landfill!!

Mr Friday said...

OK. Let's at least make a start of clarifying the myth that Thanet DC is so hard done by with their Government grant as it seems to be used as an excuse for everything.

Yes, TDC received a lower than inflation grant increase for 2008/9 and beyond. So did almost all District Councils the length of the country. Was this predictable ? To anyone working in the field, absolutely. In fact the smarter LAs had calculated their draft budgets with a 0% budget increase estimate instead of panicking and scrapping things like green waste collections at the last minute.

So, is TDC really penalised that much by the Government ? Well, let's have a look at the stats for 2008/9 grant allocation. It reveals that not only do TDC receive the largest grant allocation for a District Council in Kent only 10 such Councils in the whole country receive more !! Are these in the "Labour heartlands" of the North ? Mmm, contrary to the waffle peddled by the current administration actually no. The only District Councils who will receive more grant than Thanet in 2008/9 are Bedford, Basildon, Tendring, East Lindsey, Norwich, King's Lynn, Oxford and Northampton in the South before looking at the "Northern Councils" which include just Preston and Lancaster.

So, could I very politely suggest that TDC put as much effort, energy and enthusiasm in improving the area for all of us than they do constantly moaning about the lack of Government support as this position is just not backed up with any facts.

Thank you.

DrMoores said...

Mr Friday, I suspect that your argument has already been lucidly addressed elsewhere and possibly by Cllr Cameron on Cllr Green's website.

We simply can't keep repeating the maths of this year's settlement.

It's rather like every other week, somebody coming online and asking for the Turner figures. If you don't sit on the committee, you are most unlikely to have an accurate picture of what's happening and the real extent of this council's financial obligations.

The government gives, most certainly but it also takes away in areas such as business rates. The bottom line is a harsh one, frightening even, so you can either trust people like Cllr Cameron, who has an unrivalled grasp of economics or you can believe what you want to believe.

In the meantime, some of us are trying to get on with the arduous (part time) job of making sure that what little cash we have available, stretches sufficently over the next 12 months without really important service priorities suffering.