Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Were there's muck there's brass!!!

Ever like me wondered with the rise in prices of recycled materials, such as cardboard, paper, glass and metals, that our councils aren't raking in millions of pounds in profits?

Well apparently the answer is because they have entered into contracts with recycling companies, all well and good you say, but the kicker is that some of these contracts are for 25 years in length!

Now I understand that councils have to go for what is achievable, without putting to much of a drain on the public purse, but I ask you, 25 year contracts, which idiot signed off on these contracts. Don't get me wrong I understand that some of these companies need to guarantee an income, but surely common sense would dictate that contracts should be for a few years and then up for renewal!

If one parliament cannot tie the following parliament, surely this must be true of the councils. One Council should not be able to bind its successors, so the contracts should be able to be renegotiated, at a more favourable rate than at present for the councils concerned.

In lancashire the county council have a metal collecting service for all lancashire residents, you phone the contact number, they then come and pick up free of charge any metal waste. I used this service recently when getting rid of an old filing cabinet. The company was council owned and arrived within the stated timescale. I asked the operator of the vehicle how they (the council) were able to do it for free and was told, that the rise in price for scrap had shot up from £80.00 per tonne to over £200.00. Which made it worthwhile for the council to do its own metal collection and also to do it for free.

Now if I am honest I really don't expect Lancashire County Council to continue the service for free ad infinitum, but at least they are making inroads in providing a free service that earns much more than it costs to run.

I admit I had thought no more about it until an article in the Express today (article not available online) reminded me, but it does go to show that some councils do try to do their bit.

Now can only hope that the profits made will go into reducing the Council Tax bills, but I won't hold my breath.

But it would be interesting to find out how much companies who collect the recycling on the councils behalf are actually making out of all this rubbish!


Blogger Mark Wadsworth said...

You've covered two of my favourite topics:

1. For sure, a Parliament cannot bind future Parliaments, this is a constitutional thing. In 'judicial review' cases however, courts have to draw a line between a) ensuring that a council honours its contractual commitments, despite a change in the party controlling it while b) allowing a council to reverse political decisions made by the party that was in control before.

2. There is a trade off between the cost of collection and the value of the raw materials collected. As you point out, sometimes the latter is greater than the former, i.e. firms should pay the council for the right to collect e.g. scrap metal. However, a contract is a contract. Hopefully, whichever party was in opposition when f***wit councillors signed up to 25 years uses this as a stick with which to beat them for the next 25 years.

10:35 pm  
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9:50 am  

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