Letter from Bassetlaw – March 27th 2016

Leon DuveenIt’s Easter weekend and we have had lovely weather on Good Friday, followed by a windy, then wet & windy, Easter Saturday.  As I am writing this on Saturday evening (I will be busy with my family all day on Sunday) Easter Day looks to be mostly dry as does Easter Monday so, in the end, not a bad break from work with plenty of chances to get out in to the garden to tidy it up after winter.

One of the side effects with spending time in the garden is that it produces large amounts of waste.  Currently, here in Bassetlaw we have to dispose of such waste by composting it ourselves, taking it to one of the two County Council Recycling Centres (and now you have to register your car to access them, I predict that their use will drop off) or simply dump it in the general waste wheelie bin to be collected in the usual way.

Why am I writing about garden waste?  It is because, after finding out that they are the worst mainland English District Council at recycling, Bassetlaw District Council have finally woken up to the fact that they are rubbish at dealing with rubbish.

The response from Cllr Julie Leigh, the Cabinet member with responsibility for dealing with rubbish, has been to do a residents’ survey (a classic delaying tactic designed to put off taking any action) which concentrates almost entirely on garden waste as if that is the only issue with recycling.

Judging from what is in the survey, the proposed solution is to charge those who want to recycle their garden waste a yearly fee for the privilege of having it collected.  I may be being a bit cynical but this won’t encourage people to recycle their garden waste when they can already dispose of it for free in their wheelie bin nor will it help deal with recycling other possible waste from homes.   Where are the proposals for collections of glass bottles, why are there not more recycling points for drinks cartons (tetra paks) than the existing three (or even collect them with other recycling as Bolsover does?

Rather than waste time with a survey about a partial impractical solution, I suggest Cllr leigh contacts our neighbouring local councils to get ideas about what works & what doesn’t otherwise Bassetlaw’s Recycling Shame will continue for a very long time.

 

Another issue in the news this week is the Tory Government’s policy to impose Academy status on all schools, primary as well as secondary, whether or not they want it.   This is worrying as it will reduce local accountability of schools (Academies do not have to have independent governors overseeing them), make sure that there are places for students in schools near where they live far more difficult and weakens the role of Teachers’ Unions in making surer their members of not overworked.

As there is no evidence that Local Authority run schools are any worse than Academies, the only reasons for pushing this idea are political.  It seems to me that at the heart of this policy is an attack on accountable Local Authorities to reduce their influence in Education, an attack on teachers as Academies do not have to stick to national pay agreements and, most of all, an attack on parents, telling them that they are not responsible to have any say on how their children are taught.

By passing control of our children’s education away from our elected representatives to unelected & unaccountable Academy Trusts, the chances are we will see more stories about corruption & conflicts of interests such as this one from Birmingham. The forced change to Academy status is certainly isn’t in the interest of most children and parents.

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