'We need weekly collections reinstated to make sure our streets are clean and to protect public health.' -- Eric Murray, co-founder of Collect Refuse in Oxford Weekly
'For the first time in 40 years I've had mice in my house. Give people the choice [of weekly collections] they would have them back tomorrow - but what they want is ignored.' -- John Power, Former Lord Mayor of Oxford
'You can imagine the scene in the summer, with flies, wasps, maggots and rats all going into their homes as the trial is well underway here. These will be called “teething problems”. So come on, Rushmoor, think what you are doing to the people – stop this now.' -- Councillor Peter Sandy, Aldershot
Across the country, local communities, against the expressed wishes of local residents, are seeing their refuse collection service reduced from weekly to fortnightly.
The pathetic excuse for this cut in service is to reduce waste, increase recycling.
We all support waste reduction and recycling. You do not achieve these worthy aims by cutting services, by alienating the very people on whose support you depend.
A dozen or more local authorities have been forced to bow to public pressure and have returned to weekly collections.
Basingstoke was forced to withdrew its plans for a reduction in waste collection even before the cuts took place, such was the public outcry.
Two local authorities that have recently gone over to fortnightly collection are Oxford and the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor (6 month trial). In both it has proved to be an unmitigated disaster, in both it has led to public outcry, in both the council is displaying arrogant contempt towards the local community.
In Oxford, there are overflowing bins, rubbish in the streets. There is an implicit admission that fortnightly collection has been an unmitigated disaster by the fact that the council is now having to employ a hit team at the cost of £100,000 for its first year of operation to go round and clean up the mess that Fooks and her crass policies have created.
As Oxford resident Eric Murray, co-founder of Collect Refuse in Oxford Weekly (CROW), has asked 'Is this an admission the new scheme is not working?'
The councillor responsible for this disaster, the arrogant Jean Fooks, she with the Orwellian title of Councillor for a Cleaner City, has made it very clear that she is not interested in the views of local residents, fortnightly collection is here to stay, the lady is not for turning.
'We are not going back to weekly collections... it would be a U-turn. I am not for turning on this.'
Fooks ought to learn the lessons of history. The last lady who made that comment, Lady Thatcher, was unceremoniously dumped by her party.
Fooks put her foot in her mouth when she said there would be no return to weekly collection as it would cost more. In other words what we have all known all along, fortnightly collection is a cost cutting exercise.
In Aldershot, there are streets strewn with rubbish, streets that are not pleasant to walk down due to the stench of rotting rubbish (and it is not yet summer), the Wellington Monument has become a favoured spot for fly-tipping, the army quarters are strewn with rubbish. The same problems are also becoming apparent in Farnborough.
Walking the streets of Farnborough, I have yet to find a single person in favour of a cut in service to fortnightly collection. People support recycling, waste reduction, but not a cut in services. All that an imposed cut in services is doing is alienating the very people on whose support we depend if we are going to cut waste and improve our abysmal recycling rates.
Speaking to one Farnborough resident, he told me that when his recycling bin is full, and he has paid out of his own pocket for an extra large recycling bin, he takes his recyclables down to the local council tip, where he was shocked to find the waste he had taken the trouble to recycle, was being dumped in with general waste. When he questioned this, he was told that was what they always did.
Like in Oxford, the council is being forced to send out teams of workers to clean up the mess, though the council deny they are doing this.
The equivalent to Jean Fooks in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor is Roland Dibbs, equivalent in more ways than one as he is showing the same arrogant contempt for the local community in Rushmoor as Fooks does in Oxford.
It did not take a six month trial to learn whether or not local residents wanted a cut in their refuse collection from weekly to fortnightly, all that was necessary was to ask.
Local residents in Aldershot and Farnborough have said loud and clear that they do not want fortnightly collection of refuse, but arrogant Dibbs is carrying on regardless with his rubbish policies.
It is not only with rubbish that Dibbs has shown arrogant contempt for the local community.
Dibbs has backed the developers who have destroyed Farnborough town centre, he has backed the operators of Farnborough Airport against the wishes of the local community.
Dibbs sits on the Farnborough Airport Consultation Committee (FACC). Whatever is discussed, he acts for the airport operator, not the local community. When the issue of noise was raised by residents in Church Crookham, he claimed noise did not effect people in Farnborough. A view with which local residents would beg to differ. He has tried to stop members of the public from speaking at the meetings and addressing the committee. I raised his behaviour at one of the meetings and called him a disgrace, not fit to be a councillor.
Local people are asking why are their councillors not acting in the best interests of the local community.
We are coming up to the May local elections. Is it not time the local electorate stood up and told councillors who refuse to act for local communities to Fook Off?
In Farnborough, where Dibbs is up for re-election, he is is facing a strong fight to retain his seat.
We pay very high council taxes. One of the basic services we expect to receive is a weekly collection of domestic waste. You do not play the fool with public health.
Rowena Mason, Bin study tells of hygiene risk, Oxford Mail, 27 February 2007 http://www.oxfordmail.net/news/headlines/display.var.1220650.0.bin_study_tells_of_hygiene_risk.php
Cliff Mogg, Call to halt bins trial, Surrey-Hants Star, 15 March 2007
Cliff Mogg, Info blitz on bins at army homes, Surrey-Hants Star, 22 March 2007
Keith Parkins, Natural Capitalism, www.heureka.clara.net, October 2000
Keith Parkins, A sense of the masses - a manifesto for the new revolution, www.heureka.clara.net, October 2003
Keith Parkins, Curitiba – Designing a sustainable city, www.heureka.clara.net, April 2006
Keith Parkins, Recycling and waste reduction being used as an excuse to cut services, Indymedia UK, 19 February 2007
Keith Parkins, Opposition grows in Rushmoor to cuts in refuse collection, Indymedia UK, 27 February 2007
Keith Parkins, Fortnightly collection of rubbish an unmitigated disaster, Indymedia UK, 26 March 2007
Keith Parkins, The weekly collection is much better, Surrey-Hants Star, 29 March 2007
Ram Sampla, Unfair on Army homes, Surrey-Hants Star, 5 April 2007
Peter Sandy, Please stop trial now, Surrey-Hants Star, 29 March 2007
Giles Sheldrick, Bin policy ‘is not for turning’, Oxford Mail, 12 March 2007
Giles Sheldrick, Teams to tackle rubbish problems, Oxford Mail, 2 April 2007