Birmingham Labour's secret and insane wheelie bin bid to Government
Birmingham Labour's secret and insane wheelie bin bid to Government
There is one thing that brings out the worst in Birmingham politicians and that is the question of whether or not wheelie bins should be used to collect household waste....and this week has highlighted this point.
I don’t have an issue with the use of wheelie bins per se. I live in a property, where wheelie bins could be accommodated quite easily. But there’s a large contingent within Birmingham’s Labour Party that have an obsessive view that you cannot have too many wheelie bins. They also believe that somehow the introduction of wheelie bins everywhere will cure all the recycling and litter problems in Birmingham....and boy has this obsession been evident this week.
First of all some background to this week’s argument.
The Coalition government has invited all local Councils to bid for money to help them maintain, or return to, weekly domestic waste collections. Councils can also bid for money to help increase their recycling rates. The first round of bids was for 22nd June, where Council’s put in outline bids. All Councils were given feedback on their outline bids and invited to put in their more detailed and final bids by 17th August. At this week’s Cabinet meeting, the final bid by Birmingham City Council was agreed and submitted.
So what was submitted as the final bid? Well, the Labour Council won’t tell us, since the details of that bid was only discussed in the non-public part of the Cabinet. The Council claims that if it was publicly announced what it was bidding for, it would give rivals an advantage over our bid. I could accept that argument, if what was been proposed was not contentious – but what is been bid for is so contentious and so anti-recycling, I really do believe it is important that all residents should know what is proposed.
This is what Birmingham City Council is asking the government to fund at the cost of £28.5million for:
- 240 litre wheeled bin for recycling with a separate insert box for paper/card – maintain fortnightly collection service
- 140 - 240 litre bin depending on household size, for domestic waste – maintain weekly collection service
- 240 litre wheeled bin for green waste - fortnightly collection service
The Council has bid for £28.5million, so that EVERY household in Birmingham will have one of these bins.
The previous administrations proposal to bid for food recycling waste containers for every household, to be introduced in 2013, has been dropped. The containers would have been similar to what Somerset use – see http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/collections/food/ Instead, the Cabinet Private report it says the following about food recycling: "[green recycling wheelie bins] could facilitate future collections of food waste although this is not part of the final bid". THIS PROPOSAL TO MIX GREEN AND FOOD WASTE IS ECONOMICALLY INSANE AND A COMPLETE NON-STARTER, AS I WILL EXPLAIN LATER.
So why do I believe this bid by the new Labour administration to be ill thought out? Well how about these for a start?
1) I don’t believe wheelie bins are suitable for EVERY household in Birmingham. Moseley and Kings Heath illustrate this point very well. Wheelie bins would work fine in roads like Oxford Road who have large gardens, detached houses, with easy access to the rear garden where the wheelie bins can be stored. In complete contrast, wheelie bins would be problematic in the tight terrace roads of Kings Heath, like Bank Street, where the gardens are small and rear access to store the wheelie bins is sometimes non-existant.
2) Wheelie bins for residual waste will NOT increase recycling, but instead reduce the recycling rate. Give someone a large container and they will fill it.
3) Introducing plastic containers for food waste is the way to significantly increase Birmingham’s recycling rate. Look at these handy plastic food recycling containers in Somerset http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/collections/food/ .....and this bid
4) The only argument for introducing wheelie bins, is that cats, rats and foxes rip open black sacks and scatter the contents across the road. The reason cats, rats and foxes rip open black sacks is because they can smell the food waste.......and if you have plastic containers for recycling food waste, then this whole issue is resolved. But under Labour’s plans, you will still be left with a huge wheelie bin for non-food residual waste, which will only ever be partly filled.
5) The proposal that food waste will be included in green waste is totally insane. At the moment, all green waste from Birmingham is rotted down into compost in the open air in several farms around Evesham. Food waste has to be composted down inside sealed containers – this is so as to stop the possibility of scavenging birds spreading foot-and-mouth disease. Including food waste into green waste will mean that ALL of Birmingham’s green waste will have to composted down inside enormous sealed containers. IT IS ECONOMICALLY INSANE TO EVEN PROPOSE MIXING FOOD AND GREEN WASTE AND THE EXPENSE OF DOING SO MEANS IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.
6) Why do we need to go to wheelie bins for plastic, paper or green waste? Cats, rats or foxes do not scatter these. I do accept that in areas that already produce large quantities of green waste, there is both an economic and recycling advantage in using wheelie bins. So how about focusing wheelie bins for green waste on areas that produces tonnes of it already, ie Sutton Coldfield, Moseley, Hall Green, etc. For other areas retain the use of green sacks.
The previous administrations proposed bid to the government had increased recycling at its heart, these included
- the introduction of a food waste recycling collection to every household in 2013, using plastic containers similar to those already used in Somerset http://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/collections/food/
- the roll-out across the entire city of a joint Nector Points and Leisure Card Reward scheme for recycling. Yes, get free access to the Council gyms and leisure centres by recycling more.
- move the collection of plastics, metals, paper and glass to weekly collection in areas that have high RECYCLING collection rates. We now have data going back several years, showing which roads produce high levels of recycling.
Instead, we have a bid by the new Labour administration has panders to the ‘wheelie bin’ obsessive’s in their own party, with little or nothing that proposes to actually increase recycling. It’s wheelie bins for everything and everyone, whether you need one or not. No reasoning has been given as to why we need wheelie bins for recycling, when other Council’s do with boxes. No reasoning has been given for dumping our one chance to introduce food recycling across the city in under 12 months.
Labour claims that if the bid for £28.5million is successful they will then begin consultation on where wheelie bins will be introduced. This is utter rubbish. If the government grants Birmingham £28.5million for wheelie bins, are Labour going to consult on whether we want this £28.5million or not? Of course they won’t. They will force these bins onto us, whether we want them or not. .....and the chance to introduce food waste recycling will be lost for several years.
Yet again Labour failing its residents of Birmingham in a wheelie bin obsessive bid to the government.