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Thursday, 28 August 2014

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Bin this idea

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. It’s the most basic need and one that always provokes a huge and vehement reaction from people.

I’m talking rubbish, bins, waste collection and its disposal.

Cumbria County Council’s plans to close half of the county’s 14 household waste recycling centres and reduce the opening hours of those remaining to save £2m a year has prompted a flood of letters, emails and phone calls of complaint to us, the council and anyone else who cares to listen.

Most of them angry and upset that their local tip could go.

Never have so many been so furious about so much rubbish.

Many are unhappy at the prospect of having to make do with a bin wagon visiting their neighbourhood four times a year to pick up any rubbish they want to recycle.

This prompts a vision of householders storing up their garden rubbish, piles of rubble, old prams, mattresses bicycles, furniture, etc in the garage or garden until the recycling truck visits.

How many of us are likely to do that?

How many of us are more likely to just choose a quiet place to, well, leave it by the roadside until someone calls their local council to complain and a team of operatives have to drive out to pick it up and take it for landfill.

It’s not something I’d do, but I can imagine the temptation would be too much for quite a few people.

If not that, it will be dumped into our everyday binbags, or else lie piled up in gardens and alleyways.

County councillors cannot possibly seriously think that reducing the availability of the recycling centres so drastically will not rebound in such a way.

Carlisle City Council leader Mike Mitchelson said he had been inundated with angry reactions.

He told a council meeting: “The county council is asking people to recycle more and cut down on waste, yet those in charge want to close recycling centres. The logic is ludicrous to say the least.”

The county council plan follows the opening of the new waste processing works at Hespin Wood to the north of Carlisle.

This was built as part of a £700m, 25 year agreement with waste company Shanks.

It has been said that the costly contract will cut the amount of waste sent to landfill by 80 per cent.

If we no longer take items to the local waste centre, is the new biological treatment plant so clever that it can pick out the recyclable materials?

What if we open the recycling centres at weekends only – when most people tend to use them any way?

The county council, city council and other district councils need to bang their heads together on this.

All of them are desperate to save money and they all have my sympathy as they battle to balance their books.

But this is one area that might need looking at more closely and needs to be worked on with the help and support of all authorities.

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