Friday 21 April 2017

Picking up the rubbish

Great news:
"Police and Environment Agency officials carried out dawn raids this morning in North Staffordshire as part of an operation to disrupt 'major' illegal waste dumping racket. The raids – which were carried out in the city and Cheadle – came as part of an investigation into 25,000 tonnes of waste being dumped across more than a dozen sites."

Tuesday 18 April 2017

General Election: 8th June 2017

Ah well, here we go again. A General Election on 8th June 2017. At least this time poor ol' Stoke won't have to put up with a noxious cloud of London journalists descending on and libelling our city, since they'll be busy elsewhere. I suspect that the extreme-left Labour students, who flooded Stoke during the recent by-election, may also feel a bit less inclined to board their transit vans to Stoke.

Monday 10 April 2017

Litter Strategy: open for consultation

The new national litter strategy has been unveiled for consultation and it's looking good, so far as it goes. It includes:

* No Council tip charges on dumping of household DIY stuff like offcuts and paint-tins... "Ministers will stop councils charging householders for disposing of DIY household waste at the tip, as it legally should be free to dispose of such waste at municipal waste sites and they warn the charges can contribute to fly-tipping." (Good).

* "Owners of vehicles could be fined if rubbish is thrown from their car by any driver or passenger". (But it has to be "proved", presumably by CCTV or similar)

* "Fixed penalty fines of up to £150 for dropping litter". (Good. But it should be about far more than just security guards lurking in grotty 1970s shopping centres and pouncing on unsuspecting cigarette butt-flickers, in order to rack up income for the Council).

* "Offenders put on community service, including fly-tippers, to help clean up the streets". (Good, as long as it's not just the fairweather 'stroll in the park' I've often seen. Let's see them working up a sweat in the rain).

* "New guidance for councils will be issued to update 'binfrastructure' with new designs, and better distribution of public litter bins". (Likely to be useful).

* Target the 25 worst litter hotspots on the sides of the road network. (Nice for a few car drivers, but it'll probably only scratch the surface. 'Automatic litter-fining cameras' on motorways might be good, though, if such things could be reliably developed).

* Educate children to "lead the fight against litter". ("Lead the fight" sounds to me like like they intend a rather nanny-ish crusade — which may be the wrong approach, leading to a counter-reaction in some truculent kids as they turn 13-14).

* "Boost participation in national clean-up days". (Good. Perhaps have an after-Bonfire Night clean, in those still crisp early November weeks when the wind is low, as well as the existing Spring cleanup?).

Chugg off!

Excellent, chuggers restricted from Newcastle-under-Lyme, from 27th March 2017 onwards...

"Only two town centre sites can now be used by fundraisers: Ironmarket (between Yates’s and Greenwoods) and High Street (between Boots and McDonalds), on Tuesdays and Thursdays only, between 9am and 7pm."

"Only one charity/not-for-profit organisation is allowed to operate across the two sites at any one time, with a maximum of three authorised individuals. Further conditions require the fundraisers to make sure there is an adequate ‘comfort zone’ for pedestrians who do not wish to engage with them. They also have to remain a minimum of one metre from shop frontages and keep a ‘reasonable distance’ (approximately three metres) from each other and any other legitimate street activities, such as buskers, street traders, Big Issue sellers and market researchers."

They should have been banned totally, but at least they're now more avoidable.