February 20th, 2015

Pickles, politics and power

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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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January 16th, 2015

Mutual benefit: austerity, waste partnerships and Teckal

Marriage de la vierge

by Wayne Lewis

 

The age of public sector austerity ushered in by the 2008 financial crisis has fallen with particular severity on local government. The Local Government Association (LGA) has calculated that the latest Local Government Finance Settlement announced on 18th December 2014 represents an 8.8% cut to local government budgets from April 2015. This brings to 40% the total reduction in core government funding since 2010 – then typically around two thirds of a council’s budget. Yet the deficit remains obstinately large and whatever the complexion of central government after May’s general election it’s likely that we’ll see councils’ spending power continue to shrink.

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January 2nd, 2015

Down in the dumps with Delingpole

Landfill habitat sml

by Peter Jones

 

For a couple of years now it has been clear that the Daily Mail, despite being printed on largely recycled newsprint, is no fan of recycling. As regular Isonomia readers will know, on occasion I’ve been able to force it to withdraw some of its more egregious claims.

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December 5th, 2014

Is waste a source of renewable energy?

Chimney-adapted

by Mike Brown

 

Whenever you look at material produced by the developers and users of energy from waste (EfW) incinerators, you soon come across the phrase “renewable energy”. Vince Cable used the term to describe a new incinerator in Lincolnshire just last week. On the websites of companies such as ViridorSITA, of councils from Glasgow to London, or of the Green Investment Bank, which has stepped in to fund several EfW projects – incineration is consistently referred to in the terms generally reserved for forms of energy such as wind, wave and geothermal.

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October 31st, 2014

Is separate food waste collection expensive?

Caddy stack

by Peter Jones

 

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s report on Waste management in England has been big news in waste this month, and by virtue of being a bit of a mixed bag most commentators have been able to find in it something to praise. The Committee had the unenviable job of trying to sift conflicting evidence from numerous interested parties, and perhaps it was inevitable that some of their recommendations would be in tension.

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October 17th, 2014

Is the waste PFI credit crunch justified?

Residual Graph

by Dominic Hogg

 

I’ve just made it back to the office following a thoroughly enjoyable LARAC conference. As well as staying up way too late on Wednesday night after a scrumptious dinner, I sat on a panel earlier in the same day which was asked a question regarding whether the withdrawal of PFI credits from various local authority waste projects was justified.

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August 12th, 2014

Is the circular economy achievable or desirable?

by Roy Hathaway

 

Defra Resources Minister Dan Rogerson drew a lot of criticism when he said, at the CIWM/ESA conference in June, that a completely circular economy was neither achievable nor desirable.

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