LETTERS: Comet May 30

North Herts District Councils new recycling plan is coming under fire

North Herts District Councils new recycling plan is coming under fire - Credit: Archant

THE letters published in the Comet on Thursday, May 30.

WHO IS PAYING FOR WASTE BINS

SIR – I would like to thank councillor Lynda Needham for the use of my name in her letter (Letters, May 23),

unfortunately she did not reply to the letter but just fudged the issue.

The statement by Cllr Needham of “No cost to the council tax payer” indicates to me these bins are being


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supplied free of charge to the council. This seems extremely unlikely to me. The council is purchasing these bins then using accounting methods to try and say there will be no cost to the taxpayer.

Utter rubbish – the bins would have to be distributed and others collected, these collected bins would then need to be disposed of. Only certain goods can be recycled and as we have seen this depends on the whim of the council (or

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their political masters), what will now happen to cardboard as it cannot not be put into your brown bin? In the mixed recycling this will then become contaminated with slops, etc, from the other waste in this bin, this will then be rejected for recycling!!!! The euphemism of the “footprint not being much larger” tries to hide the

aesthetics of these monstrosities, as I said in my original letter, and this was not addressed by our council leader. Our gardens are not council transfer stations

for waste recycling. If genuine savings could be made I would be all for it, however as it is widely known a lot of ‘receycled’ waste ends up in landfill one way or another, either in England or even more pollution

created as it is taken around the world to China, Africa and even Argentina (for

glass recycling). The money being invested in this charade would be much better spent on pressing needs such as roads, the elderly, home care, health care, etc, etc, and waste recycling organised in a proper

manner. Textiles can and are collected by charities, however the council will not allow their containers on any council owned land. So much for caring. I could go on, however I will leave it there for now.

Graham Harris

Address supplied

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Sir – I fully agree with the comments in your lead letter (May 23). The new policy is madness, but what really

annoys me is Cllr Needham’s comments. No additional cost to the taxpayer – really? So who is paying for the new bins and other things, Cllr Needham? You? I thought not!

So why did you need to sneak in an increase of 1.9 per cent in the NHDC element of the council tax without any

explanation?

V F O’Leary

Wheat Hill

Letchworth GC

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STRICTER RULES ON RECYCLING

Sir – Another letter was published last week about our new waste and recycling

service, this time from an anonymous correspondent. Firstly, I would like to make clear that with the introduction of new British composting standards we have to be much stricter about what items can go in the brown bin for composting. Cardboard and some shop-bought bags labelled as compostable do not meet these strict standards and do not break down in the processing plant we use. That is why we ask people to use the NHDC-provided

liners only as this is the only way we can guarantee that the bags are compliant with the regulations. Once people get to the end of a roll they can simply call us and a new roll will be provided free of

charge. If we get to the composting plant with a vehicle full of emptied brown bins, some of which contained the wrong items, the whole load will end up being taken to landfill rather than composted.

Not only is this a great shame, particularly for everyone making an effort to protect our environment by

reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill, but there is also the potential significant cost this generates. Last year alone, the cost of landfilling what could have been composted was £75,000. The new kitchen caddies and liners are being provided to help people recycle more of their food waste and to eliminate some of the issues people have told us about such as smells from their brown bin. If your reader and others do not want to use the kitchen caddy and have other ways of collecting their food waste, then

that is entirely up to them. Because of the costs involved in landfilling items which could have been

recycled, we do have a policy in place regarding people putting the wrong items in bins, which can be found on our

website. We very rarely have to take the final step of stopping regular bin collections as usually once people are

informed of items that have been put in the wrong bin they take the necessary action to prevent this happening again. Finally, the purpose of our four-page Outlook feature on the new waste changes was to answer many of the

questions people have been asking us about the new changes. Further information will be distributed as the

changes come into effect including placing stickers on peoples’ bins detailing what goes where. If anyone still have any other questions they can contact us by phone on 01462 474000, by email at service@ north-herts.gov.uk or via Twitter using #NHDCbins.

Cllr Peter Burt

Portfolio Holder for

Waste, Recycling and Environment

North Herts District Council

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SIR – I was positive when I read the documentation about the new waste collections; but I did say to my wife that I expected letters in here condemning it and was therefore not surprised when there were. What continues to disappoint is the ‘boy scouts’ who insist on bonfires in their back garden throughout summer. Often in late afternoon when we are still sitting outside and by neighbours close enough to see that we and others have

washing out. Could you please use the brown bin provided (it’s really not that complicated a system to use). If this is not big enough and you cannot bear to keep the green waste on site until it’s emptied, you could take it to the tip. For those who insist on having a bonfire, I won’t complain if you light one late, can we agree on after 9pm? What a surprise that exhaust fumes are at a high level in Stevenage Road. I think there would be some high readings elsewhere in the town if they were measured.It now seems that the deluge of trucks in Hitchin is not only breaking up the roads – who paid for Grove Road to be repaired again after they broke it up?, making houses on their route unsellable and also causing a health risk to town

residents. The so called “action plan” is just a talking shop and the suggestions from it are only scratching the surface of the problem. HGVs are the problem. Isn’t it about time our elected representatives indulged in some joined up thinking and removed the problem from our streets. This could be achieved by routing them to the industrial area via Wilbury Hills road instead of through the centre of town. The rail loop has nearly

been finished and what a good opportunity this would have been to install such a link road. Our MP Peter Lilley says he is in favour of it and it would be interesting to hear from him and our councillors what steps have actually been taken [if any] towards it becoming a reality. However, Hitchin’s apathy towards this problem seems to be unanimous and I doubt this letter will even raise an eyebrow never mind a response from those who are supposed to be serving this once lovely truck park/town.

Nick Boxall

via email

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LOSS OF LAND

SIR – I am writing to you about the loss of the Leisure Gardens in Gaping Lane – now called allotments. The land was originally given by the Hitchin Dacre family more than 100 years ago to the local poor people as leisure gardens and to grow food totally without charge. As some point the local council, for obvious reasons, changed the land’s designation to allotments, giving them more rights over how the land could be used and enabling them with no

consultation to develop it. Apparently they have lost the original covenant that the Dacre family had established.

The proposed expansion of Samuel Lucas is totally unnecessary and at the expense of this ecological little gem.

The leisure gardens, now called allotments, were a necessity for the ordinary people working in the local

lavender fields. The hedges that surround the leisure gardens were established over 100 years ago and were a vital part of the locals’ diet along with the produce they grew. There are still an abundance of mature trees producing apples, plums, sloes, rosehips, hazelnuts and blackberries. Hop vines are still found today which would have been used for their beer making. The land has not been sprayed and has a fully functioning natural eco system, attracting, slowworms, black squirrels, foxes, hedgehogs, frogs, butterflies, dragonflies, insects, wild flowers and many different nesting birds As you walk up the old track you can slip back in time and experience the peace and tranquillity of a time gone by. I have lived in the area for over 30 years. I have enjoyed this unique

historical part of Hitchin which is definitely worth preserving. The little cottages with their patchwork of leisure gardens are connected by a network of hidden paths. The surrounding countryside with Oughtonhead Green at its centre, complete this idyllic picture. The State of Nature report, compiled by 25 wildlife organisations

– from the RSPB to the British Lichen Society – collates assessments of 3,148 species has found that some 60 per cent of British animal and plant species have declined in the past 50 years, and one in 10 could disappear, With this new development there will be an even larger bottleneck of traffic at the bottom of Gaping Lane. You cannot make the road wider you can only make the congestion worse. These insensitive plans should not go ahead. There are plenty of places for children at the nearby schools which remain empty. Development for development’s sake! Not a good enough reason to ruin a unique area, once lost it can never return.

S Craig

Address Supplied

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THANK YOU

SIR – I want to say thank you to the passers-by who helped me when I was thrown off my bicycle on Saturday, May 18, in Chaucer Way, Hitchin. I think there were three, including an off duty nurse who was able to come and see if she could help, but as I kept my eyes closed until just before being taken to A&E I am not really sure what exactly happened. I know one woman was particularly helpful until the paramedics arrived. I was not wearing a helmet, which

was a pity as it would reduced the severity of my cuts. The accident happened due to a faulty mudguard while I was on a smooth flat road, at low speed with no traffic or potholes. So, I urge your readers to take a moment to check if their bicycle is safe, and that nothing can seize the front wheel, and that mudguards or any other fixing are

secure and in good condition. With the summer round the corner(!) do not miss the chance to have a safe bike ride.

I am recovering well, and in fact have gone out for a quick spin since as this incident has not put me off, but might wait until I have properly healed as I do not want to open up recent wounds if I come off again.

Andrew Ircha

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