Friday, 16 August 2013

Calm down Eric. It's only a bin

Is Eric Pickles scared of bins?

I only ask because his latest rant - about the terror of waste receptacles - seems even more bizarre than usual.

He goes so far as to describe having to exist within sight of a bin as making 'lives hell'. Come off it Eric. To be forced to live in an abusive relationship with no hope of escape might be described as a living hell. To be suffering with a painful medical condition with no hope of cure might be described as a living hell. To occasionally catch sight of your neighbours bins is most definitely not.

Mr Pickles wants councils to ensure that every home has somewhere to hide rubbish bins and bags. Most properties do, of course, but that isn't good enough for the local government minister. He wants councils to rip up their existing planning policies and insist that developers take his new phobia into account. I don't know about the cost of the changes to buildings, but the cost of changing a council's planning guidelines runs into many tens of thousands.

Here in Cornwall, we rely on the good sense of our residents over how to store their rubbish. Apart from some residents of the old Penwith, we don't use wheelie bins and are happy to allow people to buy bins, use seagull-proof sacks or just use black bags. We do ask that they don't put their rubbish out until the morning of collection to avoid problems with animals ripping sacks apart. Generally, this system seems to works pretty well without government interference.

Perhaps Mr Pickles should take a holiday instead of seeking to meddle yet again in the lives of hard pressed residents and impose even more burdens on local councils. If he does want a break he would be welcome to bring Mrs Pickles down to Cornwall to see that we don't need telling how to get the basics right.

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