Thornton On Thursday: Bin this stealth tax

Brown wheelie bins in Lincoln Road, Werrington.

Brown wheelie bins in Lincoln Road, Werrington.

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B rown bins are now up there with black Fridays, blue Mondays, red mists and yellow snow as things that are best avoided... at least in Peterborough.

As a fierce critic of the city council’s decision to introduce a tax on gardening, you might think I’d be gloating at the revelation that many people are simply putting their garden waste in the black bins costing the council an extra £118,000.

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

But whether it is principled civil disobedience or just laziness, I can’t condone it, because it’s not just costing the council £118,000, it’s costing us.

While I think it outrageous that a council that supposedly has aspirations to be the greenest in the land can take such action, two wrongs do not make a right.

The council has, we know, an “extremely challenging’’ budget to balance... blah, blah, blah... and tough decsions.... blah, blah, blah... have to be taken...

But once the council has taken this decision, putting brown waste in the black bin is simply penalising your fellow council tax payer.

I, very reluctantly, coughed up the £39 stealth tax, but I’m not surprised (who is?) that many have just taken to dumping their dead daffodils into the brown bin.

The council claim fly-tipping has not increased but then the same claim was made when the bulky waste collection also became another stealth tax. Yet how much is spent on so-called “days of action’’ when an unquantified amount of public money is used to clear up city streets?

Councillors are also concerned about a dramatic reduction in the number of residents using their Hungry Harry bins.

Again that doesn’t surprise me and I link that to the imposition of a brown bin tax.

The council wants us to recycle, and many of us want to as well, but the message that the brown bin charge sent out was – we’ll be green... when it suits us.

Simply, the council has lost the hearts and minds battle to get people to recycle by its policy of financial expediency.

As part of the council’s A Great Place To Be propoganda, it proclaims: “We are proud of our residents and their commitment to recycling – which has made the city one of the leading recyclers in the country.’’

I don’t doubt the sincerity of that statement but the council is in great danger of putting all its (and our) good work to, er, waste.

Posh

Vale of tears

As a neutral, I really didn’t know what to make of Posh owner Darragh MacAnthony’s Twitter rant aimed at his misfiring team.

It’s difficult to have sympathy for pampered and privileged players (and they are even at League 1 level), but even so such a ferocious public beasting felt uncomfortable.

I guess for the London Road (sorry I mean ABAX) faithful the question is does the end justify the means? Posh lost their next game. To Port Vale.

Page 3

Page 31 girls rule

So The Sun newspaper has finally pulled the plug on its famous Page 3 girls.

One of my first jobs as a cub reporter on the Lincolnshire Free Press was to interview a young woman from Crowland whose ambition it was to be a Page 3 model.

I don’t know if she ever achieved her dream (she wouldn’t give me her number) but that particular career path is now closed.

Anyone with similar aspirations will now have to settle for appearing on the Mail Online’s website where they can show off their “amazing bikini bodies’’, their “side-boobs’’, their “wardrobe malfunctions’’ and their “revealing selfies’’.

For those of you distraught at the Sun’s decision, don’t worry there is still my veryown Page 33 girl to keep your spirits up.

This week, in tribute to the demise of this national institution, it’s my favourite ever Page 3 girl Kathy Lloyd.

Council

Co-located space

The following is taken from an agenda item to Peterborough City Council’s strong and supportive communities scrutiny committee.

“With a focus on building social capital to enable more communities to support themselves, there was a proposal to bring together, in one co-located physical space, a multi disciplinary and multi-agency team of staff.’’

I make no comment on this... mainly because I don’t 
understand a single word of it.

animals

Sequin d(ist)ress

According to newspaper reports seals have been, er, having sex with penguins.

I presume any offspring will be known as sequins.

War on terror

In a right Pickles

I was surprised to get a letter from some muslim neighbours urging me to do more to root out Tory minister Eric Pickles.

Don’t blame me.

Waste not want not

A week’s holiday in January is not my idea of fun – unless it involves a trip to the other (sunny) side of the world.

With a two-month-old and a two-year-old in tow that was never going to be an option. So it was with heavy heart I packed up the car (and my lovely new roof box) and headed for Center Parcs down the road to Woburn or should that be Woe-burn.

It took us hours and several of Mrs T’s lists for us to even consider leaving our driveway.

Even Toddler T who notoriously takes even more time to get ready than her mum, was suited and booted and waiting by the front door for a good hour before I was able to give the order to let the wagons roll.

On arrival it was a bit of a culture shock. Rows and rows of cars, and then rows and rows and rows of chalets, it was like living on a posh Swiss council estate.

It was undeniably child friendly and Toddler T loved the huge, heated tropical pool, while Baby T2 just chilled and read the paper.

It was a bit different in my day getting chapped legs on Bridlington beach.. and that was in July not January.