Sunday, 10 April 2011

Spelman increases waste by scrapping fines

Almost got to debate this with Caroline Spelman on Radio 5 Live this morning, but a technical hitch scuppered it.

She has announced that the ability of councils to fine residents for poor waste disposal (putting waste in the wrong bins etc.) is to be scrapped and I'm sure this will be popular among many, but there are three good reasons why the ability to fine is needed.

Firstly, to change behaviour, both carrots and sticks are needed. The carrots are in place (additional bins and roadside collections) and these make it easier to get waste down. There is more to do, specifically tackling packaging and ensuring a full range recyclables are collected, but having a stick in the form of a fine even if rarely used, is needed to move us towards zero waste.

Secondly, poor waste handling will increase costs for local councils. Increasing the costs for councils will mean less money for other services and therefore even more cuts.

Thirdly, what happened to local democracy and devolved powers? Rhetoric about devolved powers seem to be yet more hot air. If the Tories and Lib Dems were really serious about this, they would not be removing the powers through a top down decision.

No comments: