PUBLISHED: 11:58 26 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:22 06 May 2010
SIR. — Wrapped around last week s edition of the Herts Advertiser was another raft of good news stories about how brilliantly St Albans District Council is doing. In particular it focussed on the new waste and recycling services. Judging from what people
SIR. - Wrapped around last week's edition of the Herts Advertiser was another raft of good news stories about how brilliantly St Albans District Council is doing. In particular it focussed on the new waste and recycling services.
Judging from what people in St Albans have told me, our council has nothing to shout about in this area.
All over the district residents are confused about what's happening to the service. In my own street we've had no information whatsoever about what is happening, while regular collections get increasingly erratic.
With any new set of rules there has to be high-quality information and a degree of flexibility to avoid penalising people who are trying to do the right thing. When councils fail to do this they simply reinforce the reputation they already have for petty bureaucracy.
But however well recycling is managed, it needs to be part of a much wider and more fundamental strategy to "reduce, re-use, repair and recycle". Recycling is the least energy-efficient element of those four - better to reduce the amount of waste we create in the first place than have it collected for recycling, a relatively energy-hungry process.
The council's publicity also announces their carbon management plan. This aims to cut by three per cent a year the C02 produced by council activity. It implies that this figure includes "the community" but that is misleading. They have little more to offer us than encouragement to "do our bit".
Meanwhile some other councils around the country have brought in imaginative plans to insulate thousands of homes, generate energy locally and radically cut traffic emissions through transport policy.
We are facing huge changes in the way the economy operates - as the brief era of cheap, fossil-fuel energy and throwaway consumerism draws to a close. While we should welcome any attempt to address these changes, we need to put pressure on our council to take serious action that will actually make a significant difference.
For example, a more realistic target of what is needed is a nine per cent cut in C02 emissions each year. And that's across the whole district, not just within the council. If our council doesn't think it can do that on its own, it should join with others to lobby central Government for support.
Governments at all levels need to stop tinkering round the edges of the solutions and move forward bravely and urgently.
St Albans District Green Party.