Blue Bins For The Enhanced Recycling Scheme Purchase Or Lease That is The Question

After doing some further investigation in to the Enhanced Recycling trial we have turned up yet another anomaly with the blue bins that leads us to believe the Elected Members were not furnished with the full facts when scrutinising the results of the Enhanced Recycling trial.

The EMB appear to have nodded the Enhanced Recycling Scheme through at the meeting 3 December 2008 only to have it called in by the Improving Communities Overview & Scrutiny committee on 24 December.

The O&S Committee approved the recycling trail with the following recommendations

  1. that following the train and before consideration of the rolling out of the enhanced recycling scheme, a detailed and evidence based evaluation of the trail be submitted to a future meeting of the committee
  2. that all members are kept informed of the relevant progress, reports and meetings are given formal opportunity to participate and give feedback

On 21 May 2009 the O&S Committee sat and heard the the detailed evidence based evaluation of the trial (all 6 pages of it) from Interim Assistant Chief Executive Mike Maunder and other officers.

that he had concerns with regard to the Executive Summary of the report and questioned whether the recyclable value was being maximised and why we needed to wait until the end of the year in order to ascertain the financial aspects of the scheme as he felt that an independent assessment should be carried out immediately. He felt that the decision to go down this route had been decided before the trial was even undertaken and that, even though there was no going back from this position, he was still not convinced that it was the most appropriate way to deal with the issue. He felt that a number of issues had not been given due consideration such as the cost of kerbside versus co-mingled collection and that no detailed analysis of cost had been undertaken. He asked what independent assessment of the current system had taken place and asked whether it was proposed to have one in the future.

Indicated that details of the savings etc. had been set out in the report which had been considered as part of the call-in. He indicated that it had been understood at the start of the trial that there would be a large take up but what was uncertain was the subsequent level of “tail off” that would occur. At the end of the year it would be possible to give members a better feel for that in terms of the trial areas. In addition, the other uncertainty was regarding the value of recyclables, which had therefore not been incorporated into the budget arrangements.
In response to a previous question about the costs associated with the provision of bins etc., he indicated that this had been part of a leasing arrangement and that it had been clear that as part of this agreement that, if we did not make this provision we would not have been in a position to proceed with enhanced recycling this year. If the trial had not been successful, we would have been able to recover the money for the bins because of the current national demand for them.

Which appears to indicate that he was telling the O&S Committee that the blue bins were leased rather than purchased which is in direct opposition to what Jane Forshaw said in her interview with Pits n Pots and which has been confirmed by the council, that the bins were indeed purchased.

So the question is, were to O&S committee able to make a qualified decision on the Enhanced Recycling trial without being aware of the full facts?

The O&S Committee members at the meeting were:

  • David Conway – Chair
  • Randolph Conteh – Vice Chair
  • Michael Barnes
  • Michael Coleman
  • Rita Dale
  • John Daniels
  • John Davis
  • David Sutton

The WRAP report commissioned in 2007 which was as far as we can tell ignored and not put before the EMB at the time was also mentioned in the meeting by one of the officers present.

In terms of the independent report, the national organisation WRAP had carried out a review.

Image used under license

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it!

Keeping the air clean and pure in Stoke-on-Trent isn’t an easy job, but the city has two superheroes who are continuing to help out in 2010.
 
The city council’s Clean Air Superheroes campaign, which began last November, is aimed at helping youngsters understand pollution and how it affects the environment.
 
Youngsters can visit Fiona Freeze, Travis the Time Traveller and Oxy-Gen the Super tree at their exhibition at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery which will be in place until the spring.   
 
Pledge cards are now also at the museum or can be completed on line at: http://stoke.gov.uk/cleanair
 
The pledge cards give children the opportunity to say what they will be doing to help keep the air clean in Stoke-on-Trent, and all the cards will be entered a competition to win a bike.
 
77 pledge cards have so far been completed, with youngsters offering suggestions such as walking to school with their parents instead of taking the car, and hopping on a bus or biking to school – and persuading their parents to do the same.
 
All the characters, along with their evil arch nemesis “Professor Pollutant”, have been created to highlight the issues of air pollution within the city and get people to try and find better greener ways to travel, to improve the air quality in Stoke-on-Trent.
 
The superheroes have also had great feedback from schools – any school taking part has received an activity book for each year four child. 
 
The campaign has been funded using money provided by DEFRA to improve the air quality in the city.
 
Councillor John Daniels, cabinet member for housing, environment and neighbourhood services, said:
 
“We want to be able to teach children and young people about the consequences of pollution at a very early age, so they understand the harm that is done to the environment.
 
“Poor air quality affects people’s health, especially if they have breathing difficulties or suffer with heart trouble.
 
“The clean air campaign is just one part of our long term plan to make the city a cleaner, greener place to live and work. By getting the message across to people at a younger age, we can lay some solid foundations for our environmental future.”
 
More information about is also available online at: http://stoke.gov.uk/cleanair

Operation Good Guy

Staffordshire firefighters will urge thousands of school children to ‘remember remember the 5th of November’ as part of Operation Good Guy.

In the run up to Bonfire Night, the Service will be making more than 200 visits to schools with its hard-hitting demonstration which highlights the explicit dangers of fireworks.
The presentation features information which explains in detail the hazards associated with the unsafe use of fireworks. It examines the laws associated with fireworks and features a visual demonstration which shows quite explicitly just how dangerous fireworks can be if not used in accordance with the manufacturers’ directions.
The annual campaign is a multi-agency initiative supported by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Trading Standards. Fireworks for the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service presentation have been supplied by Fireworks International. Assisted by Trading Standards officers, firefighters will also be visiting retailers in North Staffordshire to offer them advice and guidance on the responsibilities they have selling fireworks – particularly to young people.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Risk Reduction Manager, Simon Craythorn said: “While this time of year is about recognising and celebrating history, it is important to remember that fireworks, although fun to watch, can cause serious injury and damage if not used safely. “This can have a devastating effect on people’s lives and futures. Operation Good Guy is a timely reminder to children and young people to think about the dangers of fireworks in the hope they can develop a healthy respect for fireworks and be safe at all times”

In the run up to Bonfire Night, the Service will be making more than 200 visits to schools with its hard-hitting demonstration which highlights the explicit dangers of fireworks.

The presentation features information which explains in detail the hazards associated with the unsafe use of fireworks. It examines the laws associated with fireworks and features a visual demonstration which shows quite explicitly just how dangerous fireworks can be if not used in accordance with the manufacturers’ directions.

The annual campaign is a multi-agency initiative supported by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Trading Standards. Fireworks for the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service presentation have been supplied by Fireworks International. Assisted by Trading Standards officers, firefighters will also be visiting retailers in North Staffordshire to offer them advice and guidance on the responsibilities they have selling fireworks – particularly to young people.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Risk Reduction Manager, Simon Craythorn said: “While this time of year is about recognising and celebrating history, it is important to remember that fireworks, although fun to watch, can cause serious injury and damage if not used safely. This can have a devastating effect on people’s lives and futures. Operation Good Guy is a timely reminder to children and young people to think about the dangers of fireworks in the hope they can develop a healthy respect for fireworks and be safe at all times”

Stoke-on-Trent City Councillor John Daniels, Cabinet Member for Housing, Environment and Neighbourhoods said: “Operation Good Guy is a really worthwhile project and we’re happy to be involved. “The city council will be inspecting all businesses that sell fireworks and making sure fireworks are stored safely, sold only on the dates allowed, and are not sold to anyone under 18. It’s important that young people realise the dangers of using fireworks unsupervised, but we should all act responsibly to ensure we have a safe and happy bonfire season”

Staffordshire County Councillor Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture said: “We are once again proud to be working in partnership on Operation Good Guy. Using this multi-agency approach means that we can target a much wider audience in Staffordshire with the firework safety message. The work of the fire service in schools combined with the work of our Trading Standards team who issue licences so that premises can sell fireworks and who also tackle both illegal and underage sales of fireworks, ensures that Staffordshire residents can feel safe at this time of year. Our Fireworks Hotline is also up and running once again and people who want advice about fireworks can call 08454 02 03 34 for more information.”

In support of Operation Good Guy, pupils at Blurton High School have produced a video to raise awareness of the safety issues which surround fireworks. This video will now form part of the Operation Good Guy visits in the County.

‘Shame on young people’ says Meir Councillor

By Tony Walley.

Cllr John Daniels

Cllr John Daniels

Cllr John Daniels, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, blasted the young people of his own ward on Friday, by saying “shame on them” .

The comments came following a meeting called by a local resident to revitalise the Plantation Play Area in Meir.

The meeting, organised by Wood Farm Resident’s Association Chair Brian Jones, was arranged to gauge opinion on a proposal for a new play facilities on the estate.

Speaking with other councillors after the meeting, Tory member John Daniels said that if “tough kids in Meir North” would not travel to other facilities in the area “shame on them”. Cllr Daniels

Cllr Tom Reynolds

Cllr Tom Reynolds

harsh words come as national Tory leader David Cameron and local council leader Ross Irving are trying to promote “caring conservatism”.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Tom Reynolds said:
“Its completely understandable that parents are reluctant to let their children travel across busy roads and in unfamiliar areas- there are obvious safety concerns- I don’t see why Cllr Daniels doesn’t get it.

“We understand that people want local play provision in the heart of their community- its about standing up for young people. We support the initiative which will revitalise the plantation and I give my full support to Brian Jones in driving it forward.”

This article is taken from a Stoke-on-Trent Labour Party press release and does not necessarily contain the views of the person posting it.