1. Thanet Council’s ‘dirty war’
COST: £20,000 in the first year
One Kent local authority’s war on dog poo has taken a sinister – and expensive – turn for the bizarre.
Thanet council is set to use high-tech DNA testing technology to track down owners who fail to pick up after their pets, by inviting them to register their dogs on a DNA database. Once registered, evidence of ‘foul’ play will then be traceable to them. As if that was not enough, the testing will take place in a lab in Tennessee.
2. How did the dormouse cross the road?
The plight of the common dormouse – a furry rodent of the family Gliridae – has captured the hearts and minds (and chequebooks) of the Rhondda Cynon Taf council.
The local authority was forced to defend a decision to build a series of special bridges to help dormice cross busy roads safely after it emerged the scheme will cost £190,000. Though the Countryside Council for Wales – who were involved in the plans – were delighted, some local residents were less impressed.
3. The rise of the ‘Bin Police’
There appears to be no escape from the creeping rise of the surveillance state – not even when it comes to your bin.
In an unprecedented attempt to crack down on inappropriate type of waste being placed in recycling, Stoke-on-Trent council has hired a six-strong team of ‘Waste Minimisers’ to carry out ad-hoc inspection of the resident’s recycling bins. If found to contain non-recyclables, the delinquent will be issued with a yellow ‘warning notice’, which could result in their waste not being collected.
4. A waste machine in more ways than one
Councils are tasked with dealing with waste, but many of them seem to end up generating more of it in the process.
Back in 2009, Highland council purchased a mobile disposal unit for £108,000 to treat waste collected by gully emptiers. It did not work properly and was never used, and the supplier went out of business before the situation could be resolved. The council recently tried to quietly sell the machine off at auction for just £1,800.
5. RAADish spending
Barnet council's overspend in its purchase of a new waste vehicle depot was so large that it is hard to even imagine how it could have happened.
After an earlier potential site deal fell through, the council desperately accepted an offer of £13.5 million for a depot valued at a third of that price. Not only that, the smelly, noisy, and lorry-filled site is in a residential area with 18 schools within a one-mile radius, and local taxpayers have formed a Residents Against Abbot Depot (RAAD) group in response.