Leaders: ‘Common sense is required here’

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COUNCIL chiefs were right to adopt a policy of refusing to empty overflowing bins or pick up extra rubbish in black bags – but the way such a policy is implemented is crucial.

Everyone knows there is a need to increase recycling and reduce the amount of waste being buried in landfill sites, which now incurs large fines for local authorities.

But when bin men stop collecting bins whose lids are open just a couple of inches, all it does is get people’s backs up and make them hostile to the whole idea of trying to improve the city’s refuse system.

The tough approach is estimated to mean 2500 bins are not being collected. And in line with the new policy, householders are being warned they could face a £50 fine if they do not make sure the lids can close properly.

The refuse crews have been told to use their discretion. But such a draconian interpretation of the new rules will remind people of previous hard-line stances on controversial policies over parking and bus lane cameras.

It did little for the cause of sensible parking to target motorists whose wheel might be touching the edge of a double yellow line and there were no new fans for bus lanes when drivers were fined for crossing into them to avoid parked vehicles.

In the same way, refusing to empty bins when the lid is barely ajar does nothing to foster support for the vital drive to cut down on waste and boost recycling of the city’s rubbish.

The troubled switch to fortnightly collections, the ban on surplus black bags and the threat of £50 fines have caused enough problems for the council.

The thrust of the policy is correct, indeed, essential. But city leaders must ensure it is implemented sensitively. Common sense and discretion are required.

Step forward

Today’s news that Castlebrae High is set to close in the summer will come as no 
surprise.

It is the right decision for all concerned as in light of the woeful results and a school roll of just 165, it was always in an untenable position.

It is reassuring that the city council has taken on board parents’ concerns and pledged to provide free school transport and new uniforms.

The school’s closure marks a fresh start and a better education for the current Castlebrae pupils.

The pupils of the future can look forward to a new school, fit for purpose and geared towards giving them the best possible start in life.