Talking rubbish

IT MAY seem rather odd that a Government supposedly committed to devolving power is concerning itself with the minutiae of local rubbish collection. Hard-pressed householders around the country, however, will be cheering Ministers on as they demand that local authorities bring back weekly collections.

Council-tax payers, on the whole all too keen to do their bit for the cause of recycling, have bent over backwards to accommodate increasingly complex demands from councils involving an ever-growing array of different coloured bins and an ever-changing collection calendar.

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All too often, however, their reward for being law-abiding and environmentally conscious is to be bullied and harassed, threatened with fines if they dare to leave the wrong bin outside on the wrong day and told that their weekly collections are to be reduced to fortnightly ones and that, if they are not happy with that, there is precisely nothing they can do about it.

It is plainly unacceptable to treat people in this way when they are paying through the nose for a simple service to be performed. The problem, of course, is that councils are saving vast sums of money by reducing their number of bin collections and now, in an environment of spending cuts, they have a ready-made excuse for turning a deaf ear to protests.

If there is to be any hope of restoring common sense and fairness to councils’ bin policies, then, it is up to the Government to act. And it is hardly betraying the cause of localism to stand up to intransigent and dictatorial town halls on behalf of the very people who fund them.