Jumping on the bandwagon

PUBLISHED: 13:10 19 November 2007 | UPDATED: 13:04 04 May 2010

IT really does take the biscuit when Cllr Seaman tells readers that he is setting the record straight (letters November 1) by inferring he and his Tory colleagues listened to the electorate on waste collection. In reality, at the time of this May s counc

IT really does take the biscuit when Cllr Seaman tells readers that he is setting the record straight (letters November 1) by inferring he and his Tory colleagues listened to the electorate on waste collection.

In reality, at the time of this May's council elections, he and his colleagues hung their hats on a band wagon of a vociferously pedalled campaign in the Tory national newspapers opposing alternate weekly waste collections. What journalists behind this crusade of vilification declined to a acknowledge was this country's pressing need to improve its abysmal record in reducing and recycling the waste it creates. This is a massive problem local authorities across the country have to address in order to meet European and national legislation, with alternate weekly collections being one of the methods chosen at minimal cost to the taxpayer.

Like most bandwagons, this ill informed campaign ran its course and fizzled out with the majority of authorities riding out the rhetoric and continuing with alternate weekly collections. What Tories in this area and those who voted for them, failed to comprehend is that dumping waste into a hole in the ground is unsustainable, however rosy a picture Cllr Seaman paints of the situation.

As partners in the Cambridgeshire Recycling Partnership (RECAP), East Cambs is now the only authority with a weekly waste collection system, managing a measly 37 per cent for its effort. All other partners have increased recycling rates to over 50 per cent. We consistently fail to achieve our targets and will be further hamstrung by this retrograde Tory inspired strategy. Their decision to reinstate weekly collections was made without any comparative assessment into the results from two alternate weekly collection schemes the council was conducting into raising its recycling rates. Consequently, with a shortage of information on which to form an opinion, there was a complete lack of informed debate on the subject and the Tories with an overall majority in the committee rubber stamped the decision.

What should be of concern to those reading this letter is that failing to meet the recycling targets could result in the RECAP partnership landing East Cambs with any financial penalties the Government may levy and a possibility of increases in the council tax to address such an occurrence? I for one would not wish the residents I represent being penalised at a future date because of a dogmatically ill-conceived policy.

As a further slap in the face for residents, Tories will now be considering a proposal to spend £22,000 of council money annually on educating them in the need to recycle.

CLLR NEIL MORRISON, Littleport West Ward, East Cambs District Council, Ely

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