A resident (angry about Labour’s garden tax) recently suggested to me that I go and look at Frankley Reservoir in Bartley Green, as there are a number of fly tipped green bags there. The bluebells are in bloom and it should look lovely – but sadly the view is spoilt by dumped green bags. Clearly some people have decided simply to drive to the nearest piece of countryside, and dump their green garden waste there. Welcome, to Labour Birmingham.
I have said it before – both on this blog and in the Council Chamber – but I will say it again, the garden tax was an ill thought policy and the introduction of it has been completely mis-managed.
You cannot start charging for something which was previously free and except people not to be annoyed.
You cannot charge people for a green wheelie bin, take their money, and then leave it months before you deliver it to them.
You cannot charge people for a bin, deliver it to them, but then consistently fail to empty it on the agreed dates.
And you cannot charge for green waste and not expect fly tipping to increase, and crucially not have a plan to deal with it.
But the Labour Council in Birmingham is guilty of all of these things.
Endlessly they tell us to compost instead. Like many people, we’ve been composting our grass cuttings for years. That is not the problem. The problem is the hedge clippings, cuttings from shrubs and bushes, tree prunings, etc. Years ago when we didn’t have a garden waste collection service, people DIDN’T compost all this stuff. They had bonfires. But people are very conscious about air quality now, and many don’t want to have bonfires. So getting rid of garden waste turns into a huge problem. Especially if you’re poor and can’t afford the £35 charge on top of Labour’s 1.99% Council tax rise.
Taking garden waste to the tip is a nightmare – a resident told me last night that he had to queue one and three quarter hours when he recently went. I’ve had endless complaints about this.
I see on the Birmingham Mail website today that now Labour backbenchers, frightened they might take a knocking at the local elections, are calling on their leadership to do something about the garden tax. That just about sums Labour up! These same Labour Councillors voted FOR the garden waste charge a few weeks ago at the March budget meeting and they voted AGAINST a Conservative amendment which kept garden waste collections free.
It’s apparently only now they think they might personally suffer that they’re going off the idea. I think that speaks volumes about the quality (or otherwise) of the Labour Councillors currently running Birmingham.