Sunday, 29 June 2014

Will Brent's 'garden tax' lead to more Birmingham style fly-tipping?

Green waste dumped by the roadside in Birmingham

The KilburnTimes LINK is reporting that the Council's proposed charge for recycling green waste revealed on this blog last week will be an annual fee of £40.

Brent councillors and officers would be wise to look at what happened in Birmimgham in May when a £35 charge was introduced by that Labour Council.

Initially only 20,000 of the city's 400,000 households signed up to pay the charge and there were mile long queues of angry drivers at city recycling depots LINK

Green waste was fly-tipped by residents wanting to avoid the charge and it became an issue in the local elections. 

Just before the election bin men were allegedy told to clear up all the dumped green waste according to the Birmingham Mail LINK:
But now binmen have allegedly been told to clear the streets of ALL abandoned green waste this weekend, whether householders have paid for the controversial scheme or not.

Senior GMB shop steward Paul Langley, based at Perry Barr depot, told the Mail: “All the dumped garden rubbish is going to be picked up this weekend – just before the election.

“Our overtime has been cut and now our crews are being told to collect it all. It means the 40,000 people who have paid for a green waste bin and those who have simply dumped their rubbish are getting the same service.

“I have just spoken to a manager and he has confirmed it.”
The proposed charges follow the awarding of the multi-million Public Realm contract to Veolia which is due to take parks maintenance from next month in addition to recycling, residual waste collection, street sweeping and BHP grounds maintenance. Councillors claimed at the time that the new contract would save public money and there was no mention of introducing charges for basic services.

This opens the way for other charges for basic services in addition to what we pay in Council Tax.

At the same time as introducing this charge the Council is also considering landlord licensing which amongst other things is aimed at the 'anti-social' issue of untidy and poorly maintained front gardens. The £40 charge hardly seems an incentive to tackle this issue.

And of course we have the Council's anti-fly tipping campaign while this policy looks likely to increase the amount of illegal fly-tipping adding garden waste to the builders' waste currently common on our streets.

Cllr Perrin, new lead member for the environment needs to look at this again.


Anonymous said...

A glance at the comments section of the Kilburn Times story - link in blog - shows that newby councillor, Dan Filson, has a lot to say. It seems that Cllr Butt has nothing to fear by way of a critical voice from this apparently loyal party-political follower. Mr Filson also had quite a bit to say, on a previous Wembley Matters blog, about the latest Kensal Rise Library application, where he come out against deferral of the planning committee hearing until the active police investigation into the fraudulent email affair enmeshing the original application has concluded, and any charges been made.

Anonymous said...

Dan Filson does appear to be rather gabby. Hoping for a place on the council exec, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Dan Filson seems to have a lot to say FULL STOP.
There is a good thread running on the Kilburn Times website today - seems to like the sound of his ipad tapping.

Anonymous said...

Copied from Dan Filson's comment on Kilburn Times link - 'have you not noticed that under Labour the council tax did not increase once during the period from 2010 to date, whereas it rose regularly in the previous 4 years when the Liberal Democrats ran the Council with Conservative support, despite government revenues to Brent rising then and falling since 2010.'

Am I wrong in thinking that the directive to freeze council tax came from Central Government which is Conservative/Lib Dem? Aren't Local Authorities given some money from Central Government to cover not having an increase

Excerpt from Eric Pickles - 'As well as special funding that has ensured councils freeze their bills, the Government has scrapped a council tax revaluation and in the future residents themselves will have the right to veto excessive increases in local referendums.'

Isn't it time councillors stop with the verbal diahorea and start making some sense, residents need to wake up and stop listening to the claptrap and open their eyes.

Anonymous said...

FKRL - KR library application.
Nearly every reply on this blog refers to Kensal Rise. Anybody else read this blog?
Enough already!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to put a counter-point here: residents can beat the 'garden tax' by composting grass-cuttings and making leaf-mould. No special containers are needed for either - the cuttings can be left in a pile to rot down, the leaves can be piled up in a shady corner inside, for example, a cylinder of plastic-covered wire to stop them blowing away. Both can then be re-used in the garden - the leaf mould makes excellent potting compost.

Anonymous said...

Agree, 19.48, that 'residents need to wake up and stop listening to the claptrap and open their eyes'. If the matter weren't so serious, political parties vying for the position of keeping council tax (CT) the lowest would be hilarious. Council tax is the most regressive tax there is, obscenely so in London with its rampant property-price inflation, usually soft-focused by being referred to, apparently innocuously, as 'house-price rises'. The question isn't how many properties fall into the top CT band H but how many don't (very few in London). So the homeowner of a multi-million property anywhere across the city will pay the same CT as someone living in a two- or even one-bed flat. If you think this doesn't apply to Brent, you'd be wrong. A one-bed in the Willesden Green Library development will cost £405k, falling into the top CT band which applies to properties over £320k - link below

Interesting: inflation of almost 30% in any other context than property prices would be focusing government minds. When it's for property, it's seen to be 'a good thing' - at least until recently. But now the capital's citizens are wising up.

Back to the politicians - instead of arguing over keeping CT low, they'd be acknowledging the inequity this now-ridiculous system has for too long been engendering. There is an alternative - it's called land-value tax which the Green Party supports.

Anonymous said...

Why so tetchy, 21.46, above? The comment at 13.45 to which you appear to be objecting is surely an example of the joined-up thinking citizens need to exercise - see 1 July 19.48, below - if we're to begin to hold our representatives to account?