Coffee House

Eric’ll fix it

30 September 2011

The papers report that Eric Pickles has beaten Caroline Spelman: bins will be collected
on a weekly basis. Back in June, James reported how the DCLG and DEFRA were opposed to
Pickles’ plan and that Spelman, who once advocated weekly collections in Opposition, had gone Whitehall native. It was a test, James said, of the government’s ability to master its
civil servants.

Pickles was very closely associated with the pledge and the impasse threatened to damage his burgeoning reputation in office. Now he is gloating in his hour of victory. “I may make passing
reference to the scheme in my speech,” he told the Today programme in that garrulous manner of his. He has also written an article on "">ConHome, where he says that bin collection is the most visible local
service – and therefore one of enormous electoral significance. And as a
"">coda to that, he telle the Mail that “there’s a limit to
what Middle England will take”.

But, it’s not all smiles for the Chum. The Mail, which has campaigned on this issue, notes that Pickles cannot force local authorities to make collections. Looser Whitehall control will
become the norm under the coalition’s localism bill, but Pickles is clear that communities should pressure councils into action or vote for change if necessary. More importantly, Pickles has
reallocated £250 million from his departmental budget to incentivise councils to make collections, and fund waste separation projects to appease DEFRA. Pickles’ victory has come at the
expense of accommodating cash-hungry local government, which could set a worrying precedent.

  • Juarez Two Step

    Verity, I gather it’s not just the rubbish left out in the streets for the men to clear up next morning. Keep your head down, girl.

  • Voter

    On a list of things that need fixing in this country I would have thought that reinstating weekly bin collections would be pretty low down the list. 250 million quid would build around 50 new primary schools so that some children could be taught in decent buildings where the rain didn’t pour through the roof during lessons (yes this does happen)

  • London Calling

    Rubbish collection weekly is essential, to be so complacent for so long on such a serious issue and not to act, is madness, especially as our expanding population has expanded rubbish output, otherwise we are asking for a plague. The council should enrol volunteers to collect rubbish, otherwise, the pied piper has got his work cut out for him…The councils should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this situation to escalate…remember Rats and plagues don’t differentiate between the feral underclass and the feral upper class..

  • alexsandr

    i put oury vegetable waste in our composter and get free compost.
    hardly anything smelly goes in the bin

  • Verity

    All the petty, fussy, conrolling regulations in Britain, and the commie control agenda for imposing them, gives me the creeps.

    In most towns and cities in Mexico, we have daily rubbish collections with no petty restrictios on what we can put out. Most people just use plastic supermaket bags hung on the fence – both to save dogs the bother of tearing them apart to investigate the contents and because it is easy for the men just to lift a bag off a shoulder-height fence and throw it onto the truck.

    Collections daily except Sundays.

  • Alex Tomlinson

    Any Conservative who supports this needs to think again. This is old fashioned, Stallinist style centralisatiin of power and decision making. Pickles is truly a socialist, who believes Whitehall knows best. If Conservatives sign up to this, they camnot complain when a future Labour Secretary of State forces councils to adopt their own barmy pet project.

  • McSweeney

    Total nonsense, the lot of it.
    £250 million? When a London borough can save £10 million a year by going fortnightly? What a result!
    And all this stuff about smelly bins and hygiene is such guff – what are all these little Englanders throwing away everyday?

  • michael

    The Greens position appears to have shifted to one collection a fortnight forcing recycling, to alternate collection weekly: for general one week, recycling the next… plus a weekly collection for putrefying food waste, making two collections per week.
    -And an yet another wheelie per house.
    -sounds good to me where do I sign.

  • Ian Walker

    We get dry rubbish and recycling (in a big wheelie bin, not a little box) collected on alternate weeks, and food waste collected weekly.

    Which is a great system that seems to balance the need to increase recycling and reduce landfill quite nicely with the need to not have stinking bins.

    All under the current rules. I’d rather we spend the money on something useful than a pointles sap to people too lazy to sort their waste out.

  • Axstane

    Every time this is raised a lot of lefties rattle on about reducing landfill and costs of collection. They even say that they welcome less frequent garbage collections. They try to get us to believe that somehow less frequent collection of rotting waste will reduce its volume. That flies in the face of logic and creates severe health hazards as well as an inevitable increase in the rat population.

    There are quite different types of waste collection and any rational person would be able to agree that in the case of food waste the collections should not be less frequent than weekly. Recycling and garden waste can obviously be collected less frequently.

    Eric Pickles displays commonsense, once again. The critics who say it should be spent on whatever else takes their fancy should realise that each Ministry has its own budget. If Eric has managed his department well and has the funds then he may allocate them as he wishes.

    The entire concept of less frequent garbage collections is an idiot idea from the Eu-Green philosophers who have any number of ideas which are illogical but ideological.

  • Magnolia

    Eric is a man of the people and a Conservative too.
    That combination could take him far.

  • Sally Chatterjee

    My sister lives in Switzerland and they collect the bins every second day. They are horrified at collections once a week!

    I also resent recycling, not the principle but having to do all the sorting myself just so some big company can collect items and make money. Why not reward households who save with a “deposit and return” scheme on glass bottles and tin cans?

  • Nicholas

    “The Pickles iron fist reminds one of 1933 Berlin”

    I wondered where you got your lefto-fascist ideas from.

  • Molly

    A complete waste of £250m (if it’s ever spent). In one breath we hear “let’s save taxpayer’s cash” (whether from The Mail or a Minister); when the pain is applied the retreat is immediate.

    Spineless, hypocrites.

    Oh Joy; let’s borrow to empty our bins, blow our noses and wipe our arses; our kids will pick up the tab – if they ever get jobs.

  • Mr Oulton

    What happened to localism?

    What will happen to those 1020 sailors just back from Libya who have been told they will lose their jobs, because of the cuts?

    And yet we now have £250m going spare? What a waste just because some poor delicate souls can’t stand the smell of their bins.

  • paulo

    And watching him headbutt that awful lefty BBC newsreader this morning was well worth tuning in to. ‘£250 million might not be a lot for the BBC….’


  • alexsandr

    Id rather they spent the £250 million on reducing the defecit.
    Waste of money.

  • Corinium

    It really does depend on the area. The Government is absolutely right to let local authorities take local decisions. The Leader of RBK&C said on Today this morning that they do two collections every week because their residents tend to live in flats and do not have the space to store waste. Cotswold District Council collects organic waste every week and general waste every other week and it works fine.

  • Publius

    More spin, I suspect.

    I think we’ll discover that this is quietly dropped after the Tory conference.

    What happened about votes for prisoners in the end?

  • Hugh

    We, in North Somerset, have a perfectly acceptable collection process which involves weekly recycling collections, including food recycling, and fortnightly general rubbish collections. They also collect garden waste for composting fortnightly.
    what is wrong with everyone doing this.

  • telemachus’

    The Pickles iron fist reminds one of 1933 Berlin

  • boulay

    it’s a very astute move. the fact that he cannot force local authorities is a bonus. what will happen is that any local authority that refuses weekly collections will get dog’s abuse in the local press and the Tories will get credit for the scheme without the local councils being able to blame government cuts. the government can still however extoll the virtues of smaller government not directly interfering on local matters.

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