Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Talking about Rubbish

This morning I had a mid-review meeting to discuss how we're getting on with the scrutiny of waste management. The results of the questionnaire have been very good - more than 2300 sent back so far, so we're going to be over the level needed to give us the comfort of a valid consultation.
The answers are proving really interesting - it seems that people are divided over the questions about whether collection patterns should change and if so, how, but hundreds of people have put in comments about all aspects of the collection, recycling and so on. The job of analysing the results is proving challenging in the time available but I'm sure it will get done.
There's going to be a real challenge to come up with recommendations which are based on the evidence we've collected and also are achievable with the available resources. Should we extend the kerbside collection to include plastic bottles and cardboard? If we do that will we be able to reduce the frequency of collection of residual waste? If so - when? If not, how do we pay for the extra vehicles we'll need and the people to crew them? Real challenges, with no easy answers.
This afternoon was Planning Committee, with a sobering report on the financial costs of losing a recent appeal. Hearts had ruled heads at the planning committee to some extent, with people voting against the officer's recommendations on a proposed development at Ingleby Barwick. Sadly, when the developer appealed to the Secretary of State, and the inspector heard the evidence he wasn't convinced and awarded costs against the authority.

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