February 20th, 2015

Pickles, politics and power

by Peter Jones


“If you want to get anywhere in politics, you’ve got to be good at pushing on open doors. If you can’t resist pushing on closed ones, then you ought to have chosen another job.” That rather bleak assessment of the extent of ministerial power comes from C.P. Snow’s novel Corridors of Power, in which the lead characters try (and fail) to tip the balance against 1950s Britain seeking an independent nuclear deterrent.

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August 23rd, 2013

Squeeze me gently

Baa Baa Black sheep pg 8

by Paul Jones


As every child knows, Baa Baa black sheep had three bags full of wool. But if she lived in Monmouthshire and decided she wanted to throw them away, she would now be thwarted under the council’s recently announced plan to allow households only two bags of residual waste per fortnight. I for one am extremely excited about Monmouthshire’s new squeeze policy and think it will have big impact; indeed, it makes me wonder if we might see the sack start to make a comeback.

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August 20th, 2013

The Mail’s de Mauley mistake

Kerbside Sort in Newport

by Peter Jones


What is it about the Daily Mail and stories about recycling? Back in April, I took apart a story they ran on the front page of the newspaper, versions of which claimed that 12m tonnes of household recycling ends up in Chinese landfill sites each year – when a little basic fact checking would have told them that only 10.7m tonnes of household recycling was actually collected in 2011/12. I followed this up by launching a complaint through the Press Complaints Commission – although more than four months on this remains to be resolved.

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February 27th, 2013

DCLG’s weak collection fund

Canute rebukes his courtiers

by James Fulford


It’s possible that Eric Pickles expected the Weekly Collection Support Scheme to provide a permanent boost to his popularity. After years in which local government had cut the frequency of rubbish collection, much to the chagrin of the Daily Mail, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government must have imagined that he would be seen to be acting decisively to put things right.

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November 28th, 2012

Pickles puts councils in a jam

Eric Pickles

by Phillip Ward


The upside of Eric Pickles’ venture into waste funding is that thanks to the good sense of local authorities not all of the £250m Weekly Collection Support Scheme will be wasted. By my reckoning it will pay for 23 new or extended food waste collections to be introduced and various expansions of recycling services, without any significant return to weekly residual waste collections.

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February 15th, 2012

Clash of the hierarchies

Eric Pickles, October 2009 1 cropped

by Chris Sherrington and Peter Jones


The long awaited details of DCLG’s £250m Weekly Collection Support Scheme were announced last week in the form of a prospectus for local authority applicants. For all the undoubted effort that has gone into trying to reconcile respect for the waste hierarchy with Eric Pickles’ vision of every Briton living unmenaced by 8-day old chicken tikka masala, the end result would appear to be a bit half-baked.

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December 5th, 2011

Who is Pickles trying to please?

James Fulford Director

by James Fulford


An announcement from DCLG officials at the communities and local government select committee has at last started to cast light on what Eric Pickles’ controversial £250m fund to support local authorities who retain or reinstate weekly waste collections may actually cover.

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