Is the stupidity of Thanet councillors limitless? It sure looks that way to me.
Not content with having the fifth highest fly-tipping rate in south east England (link to my earlier article below) and an enforcement service whose performance at catching and prosecuting fly tippers has fallen off a cliff, Thanet councillors have now voted to turn what is already a tidal wave of fly tipped rubbish across the district into a tsunami of dumped waste. How so?
At a meeting on 8th February called to discuss the council’s budget for the financial year 2024/25 councillors were also asked to approve an increase in the fees and charges levied for certain council services.
One of these service charges is that made for the removal of bulky items of household waste such as beds, mattresses, cookers, sofas, etc. It was proposed, and agreed by the councillors, that these charges should be increased by an inflation busting average of 13% on 1 April 2024.
This huge increase, will unfairly penalise tens of thousands of households in Thanet who do not have a car to transport their unwanted items of bulky waste to the district’s two Household Recycling Centres at Margate and Richborough.
It will also penalise the elderly and disabled, and the rapidly growing number of Thanet residents who, due to the cost of living crisis, simply cannot afford to pay the council to take away their old sofa, fridge, or worn out mattress.
There can be no doubt that this stupid decision will lead to a significant increase in fly tipping in Thanet. There can be no doubt either that the decision to hike the already high charges for the council’s collection of bulky household waste will lead to the unfair criminalisation of many otherwise law abiding citizens, who could face fines of up to £1,000 for being forced by the council’s stupidity to break the law.
Talking of law breakers this decision will almost certainly lead to the growth of Thanet’s unlicensed and illegal waste transportation industry, who undercut the councils charges and dump what they collect across the district. This is an industry which, as the Government has warned on many occasions, is under the control of organised crime gangs.
But it’s not just unfairness or the growth in underworld criminality we need to worry about. The increase in fly-tipping in Thanet both before and after the latest increase in the council’s collection charges, also has a massively damaging impact on our environment.
Flytipping can pollute and contaminate land, poison waterways and aquifers, set fire and pollute the air, destroy ecosystems, kill animals and in some cases people too. Fly-tipping is not only criminal its environmentally dangerous too.
But there is a simple answer to the stupidity of Thanet’s councillors. Make TDCs collection of bulky household waste free to everyone!
The Government has already indicated it favours such an approach. In December 2023 it introduced rules which forced councils to end the practice of charging for the disposal of household DIY waste at their recycling centres, stating that the removal of this charge “is part of the wider Government aim to tackle waste crime and fly-tipping, which is estimated to cost the economy £924m per year in England”.
So why can’t Thanet Council do the right thing and abolish all its charges for collecting bulky household waste and for that matter garden waste too?
According to official figures during the past five financial years (2018-19 to 2022-23) Thanet Council has spent £310,900 on clean-up costs for tipper lorry and other significant or muti load incidents of fly tipping.
The council is not required to report smaller incidents such as waste fly tipped from cars or vans, or carried and fly tipped by people. If these costs were to be included in the table above its very likely that total fly-tipping clean-up costs to the council could easily be close to £1million over the five year period.
Making the collection of bulky household waste free would, I believe, significantly reduce the rate of fly-tipping which would in turn reduce clean-up costs and likely cover the costs of the free service as well.
You’d be stupid not want to do it. But there again Thanet councillors are renowned throughout the local government world for their stupidity!
There are some important political points I would like to make about this charge increase. This is an increase which was proposed by Labour Councillors, who now run the TDC.
But Labour claims to be the party which supposedly represents the interests of those on low incomes, or who are otherwise vulnerable, which in Thanet numbers tens of thousands.
So by increasing the charge, which will dissproportionaly impact on those on low income, or who are vulnerable, Thanet's Labour councillors are attacking and victimising the people they claim to stand up for.
Worse still its is likely that some of those who Labour claims to represent, will because of the charge increase, have no choice but to flytip thesleves, or turn to the illegal waste transporters, which could lead to court, prosection, and a criminal record as a result of Thanet Labour councillor's stupidity.
Thanet's fake socialists hypocritcally demonstrate that they are in fact the enemy of the poor and vulnerable of the district, rather than their friends as they would dishonestly have people believe.
In fact former trade unionist and now the councillor in charge of waste management at TDC, Steve Albon, had the unbelievable arrogance to say that council charges for collecting bulky household waste are "nominal". Meaning the charge was affordable to all.
But getting £20,000 in councillor allowances each year, a gold plated council pension, and a state pension as well, he would say that would'nt he?
Not one a miss a trick even Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer gets in on this sick, poverty punishing, act. He talks with enthusiasm about getting tough with fly-tippers, bringing them to justice, and having clean-up chain gangs of convicted flytippers sweeping up litter across the country.
But in Thanet, and probably other local authority areas too, it will be the case that many victims of Labour’s get tough justice, its unaffordable fines, and the threat of the clean-up chain gangs, were forced into the court room and labelled as criminals purely because of Labour's increased charges for the removal of bulky household waste.
If ever there was case of double victimistation this must be it!
Lets not forget TDCs Green Councillors. Despite the massive damage to the environment caused by fly tipping, they nevetheless happily voted in favour of increasing the charge to remove items of bulky household waste, whilst knowing full well that their support for this proposal would increase fly-tipping and the risk of serious damage to Thanet’s environment.
This is not the first nor, I suspect, the last time that Thanet Green Party councillors voted for decisions which are contrary to the fundamental reasons for their party’s very existence.
To add insult to injury, Green Councillor Tricia Austen appeared to made light of the charge increases condescendingly saying in the discussion about fees and charges that she had had “ wizard wheezes” speaking about them with Labour Councillor Rob Yates.
Well increasing fees and charges upon those stuggling hard to get by might be a wizard wheeze for Austen because, unlike thousands of others she can, courtesy of the 10% councillors allowance increase she greedily voted to award herself last year, easily afford to pay the increased charges.
But for those pushed into unlawful fly tipping by the increased charges supported by Austen and the other Green Party councillors, who might end up in the dock facing fines or the prospect joining Labours clean up chain gang, it most certainly isn’t a wizard wheeze.
Link to my earlier artilce here
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