The Welsh Government’s ambitious plans to make Wales a ‘One Planet’ nation are in full swing. They have established numerous environmental schemes and advertised the non-job of the Century ‘Future Generations Commissioner for Wales’.
The Welsh Government, which is seen more of a talking shop by most of the electorate, has lumbered the implementation of some of its most wacky policies upon local authorities. In turn, local politicians come up with even wackier attempts to implement policy rather than focus on front-line services.
In Cardiff, a recent target of recycling 52% of all household waste was missed by 2%, and so the local authority now has been threatened with a £800,000 fine if their figures don’t improve by next year. This comes as recycling targets are increased ever more, with a 58% target being imposed for 2015/16. In an attempt to play catch up, Cardiff Council have decided that the best way to deal with these over ambitious targets is to create a two pronged attack on taxpayers.
First is a cut services and much more complexity. Over the summer Cardiff Council started to swap household black rubbish bins from the standard 240 litre, enough to accommodate most family’s needs, to a 140 litre bin which was usually reserved for one bedroom apartments.
For those households which couldn't accommodate a black bin they have been issued 64 colour coded bags annually which means that these particular households whatever the size are now restricted to less than three bags of rubbish per fortnight.
Rather than the bio-degradable bags for garden waste that meant householders could get rid of garden waste they are now restricted to reusable bags which can be stolen (I've already been a victim). This is ironic as Cardiff Council is also about to push through plans to close a recycling centre which serves half the city and areas of Cardiff with large quantities of student house shares which have already fallen into squalor due to a lack of waste collections.
Secondly, Cardiff Council plans to fine households that don’t recycle. If rubbish collection rules change then householders should make every attempt to accommodate these rule changes, but in areas of high population density, where rubbish is placed could lead to mistaken identity. The plan is for those who persist in not disposing of their household waste in the correct way then they could face a fine of £84 increasing to £100 over time.
I am not opposed to recycling and obviously if our local authorities can avoid paying landfill taxes and generate an income from our waste by recycling it then of course this would be welcomed.
However this Welsh Government policy of a ‘One Planet’ nation has led to a misguided plan and any difficulties they have meeting their own outlandish targets will cost taxpayers of today and tomorrow.
It is time for the Welsh Government to drop these over ambitious plans, allow local authorities to function delivering front-line services and ensure that Taxpayers of the future don’t end up with additional burdens.