A week ago I posted here on the subject of unintended but not unforeseeable consequences, and how the decision in South Australia to ban supermarkets from giving or selling polythene carrier bags to their customers, many of which would go on to line small bins around the house or be put in pockets to pick up dog muck, inevitably and predictably led to an increase in sales of bin liners which take up more landfill volume than the thin supermarket bags that were banned. As daft as the South Australian government was doing this it’s been trumped by a British council which has come up with an even dafter idea.
Doorstep rubbish collections have been scrapped in Britain for the first time since they were introduced more than 130 years ago.
Rossendale council in Lancashire has stopped the service for hundreds of residents in rural areas who now have to drive or carry their rubbish down narrow country lanes to “collection points” up to a mile away from their homes.
The new system, introduced this month, means that large piles of rubbish bags left at roadsides overnight for early morning collections will be attacked by foxes, badgers and other animals, leaving refuse strewn over the road, residents say.
There are also concerns that the waste poses a health and safety risk, especially to children and the elderly, and will deter tourists from an area popular with walkers and horse-riders.
Now I’m sure that Rossendale council didn’t intend for wild animals to rip the bags open and spread rubbish all over the collection point, but perhaps it’s something they should have expected in a rural area. I’m sure they don’t intend for fly tipping to increase either, but I’d be surprised if people don’t soon learn when and where the rubbish piles up and go and dispose of their own at someone else’s expense by dumping it on the same pile.
A council spokesman said: “We have to make £2.6m of cuts over four years and we calculate that the change will save £92,000.
Is that all? Is that in total or per annum? And is it before or after you include the costs of cleaning up the collection points every week and dealing with rubbish left there by non-residents who’ve fly tipped their own in the night? You did think about that, right? Because if it’s before new costs and over the same four year period it might not save anything at all.
Still, let’s assume it’s net and p.a., that makes it just under 15% of the necessary saving and leaves a very long way to go. Can we ask how much the people who thought of this idea and those who approved it are paid, including benefits and employer’s NI etc? More or less than £92,000 a year between them? Is it anywhere near 650 grand a year, or £2.6 million over four years? Just out of interest.
Still, at least we can expect a typically fair minded council not to carry on charging residents for a doorstep collection they no longer get, just as the more than 50% of council tax payers whose rubbish is collected fortnightly saw their bills redu… oh, who am I kidding?
Residents losing the doorstep service will not receive a council tax rebate.
You saw that coming about 400 words ago, didn’t you?