SIR – Some things happily never change with local matters: refuse collection is back on the front page.

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However, this year has radically changed the public’s perception and analysis of government authority numbers. New Forest District Council needs to catch up.

Of course, we want to increase the rate of recycling. But every six months a documentary pops up on TV showing the UK recycling on a waste tip in Asia with the locals suffering pollution and toxic waste.

Currently in NFDC 34% is recycled, you say. What units? By weight or volume? What are the numbers? What exactly is recycled and to where and by who? Are you asking us to pay more, to send more of our plastic to Thailand via a private company with no end-point guarantees?

Look, waste is a technical, logistical and environmental problem, not political. And I bet the community has got the skills and knowledge to help. I worked overseas for 25 years and have seen outstanding composting and waste management systems.

Before you impose bins or any other new system, write a four-page white paper with all the current data, costs and practices, plus your limitations and obligations. Invite us to help (we are pretty smart in the New Forest) and you will have community buy-in.

And for goodness sake, put in the waste bin forever muddy and meaningless numbers

Peter Padfield,
Holmsley

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SIR – I read the article concerning the introduction of wheelie bins (A&T, 16th October) with dismay and disbelief, particularly as it seems that it could be a fait accompli.

I hope that I am wrong and that the supposed public consultation will once again put a stop to this bad idea.

I look forward to hearing how wheelie bins will increase the amount of recycling from the councillors who are behind the proposal. Did any of them have this in their election manifestos?

We are very satisfied with the current system of black and clear bags which are collected weekly along with the fortnightly garden waste and monthly bottle collections.

Now we are going to be blessed with fortnightly collections and have to cope with three large bins plus a food caddy.

Not everyone will be fit enough to manage these bins or have adequate storage space.

Finally, who will pay for the bins and the modification of the vehicles? No prizes for answering that.

Let’s hope that the proposal is binned once and for all.

Ian Bowman,
Holbury

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SIR – The news that we are to suffer the blight of the green refuse bins is frightening.

Has nobody noticed the tragic result in areas where this has been implemented? Quite simply they have turned those areas into slums.

Many homes in the town and terraced areas are unable to accommodate them, so they stay in the street on narrow pavements.

The news that the potential Liberal Democrat candidate for office is against forcing
this policy persuades me for the first time in my life to desert the Conservative party when candidates seek my support.

Jennifer Cutmore,
Lymington

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The most bizarre aspect of this process is that apparently NFDC’s ‘Team’ has been working on this project for 2 years but has not carried out a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of the direct & indirect costs (e.g. reduced accessibility on pavements from the wheelie bins being left on pavements all week) nor an assessment of the value of the anticipated benefits. I’m dumbfounded that a proposal could have been worked on for this long and is to be presented to committee without any hard numbers having been established. NFDC said this will follow the committee meeting!!! NFDC has also said that before wheelie bins & food caddies etc are rolled out to 90% of residents in 2022 (or later) that ‘extensive surveying’ will be required for each household to assess suitability. How much will that cost.

    Based on 60,000 households (180K people in NFDC, assume 3 people per home on average) and 2No. 240L wheelie bins at £30 each (trade) = £3.6m. Add in another, say £500K for the other bins & caddies (probably an under-estimate) and the cost of adapting the dustcarts and you are at around £5m for the immediate direct costs. You then have the cost of the surveying to consider, and this is before any ongoing costs (replacing damaged wheelie bins, claims from wheelie bins damaging property, etc). You also need to consider the amount of embodied plastic in each 16KG 240L wheelie bin.

    Given the main issue that NFDC seems to suffer from is poor levels of food recycling for anaerobic digestion into methane (vs. heat recovery from burning) surely more sensible and cost-effective solution would be to keep the current system and just introduce food caddies? This would eliminate food waste from black bags so they would not be attacked by pets / vermin and it would boost the areas recycling stats to national Government. It would also be a very low cost intervention at a time when public finances are obviously stretched to the limit.

    What is odd is if you look on fora like Nextdoor and read the comments, the majority of people who have responded to NFDC’s post on this matter are opposed to the proposals, yet NFDC’s own polling earlier this year suggested resounding support, which has driven the process forward. This seems highly suspect – how is it so many people making very reasoned and sensible observations about the negative issues of wheelie bins weren’t captured by NFDC’s surveying?

    My personal view is that wheelie bins could be beneficial for those with large plots and drives to leave them on, who are diligent about their waste triage already and will take them in shortly after collection. We only need to look as far as Southampton to see what happens when these are imposed in towns with houses with small gardens – the residents are frequently unable or just unwilling to take them in and the bins and boxes just end up on roads and pavements all week long. It doesn’t take long on Google Streetview to see for yourself.

    The ‘consultation’ by NFDC on this smacks of a sham – the decision has been made, it is a fait accompli and the ‘consultation’ just wastes more time and money for a decision that NFDC’s ‘Team’ has decided they are going to run with. I suggested just starting with food caddies and received a reply from a NFDC representative saying “we have considered that but ruled it out”. So what is the point consulting if all options have been ruled out and the option that is being presented is the only one that NFDC will accept?

  2. Why doesn’t the UK follow Europe ? France and Spain (don’t know about the others) do not have a wheelie bin anywhere. Within a hundred meters of most houses are 5 very large skip bins for the various waste. Instead of the unsightly 3- 5 bins outside every house which is stupid in a row of terraced houses. and much cheaper to organise.

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