Why wheelie bins are such a waste
Dear Editor, those advocating trials of wheelie bins need to remember several important points. Wheelie bins are fairly expensive to buy and wagons which can lift the bins also have to be purchased.
The economics of all this mean that in most areas which have wheelie bins, household rubbish collections are cut to fortnightly (or alternate weekly as the Labour Government likes to call them).
The Conservative/Lib Dem partnership running Birmingham City Council is committed to weekly rubbish collections and it is our belief that most Birmingham householders want that, too.
This was shown in 2004 when one of the major planks of Labour's local election manifesto was wheelie bin trials with fortnightly collections. Labour lost - having previously seemed invincible in Birmingham.
If wheelie bins were unpopular then, there is even more reason for them to be so now. In the years since 2004, the Labour Government has suggested piloting schemes whereby householders would pay for the amount of rubbish they throw in their bin. If ever a policy was designed to encourage fly tipping, then this is surely it.
The whole idea is crazy! It penalises the law-abiding citizen who puts his rubbish in his bin, while other less community minded people will creep out at the dead of night and either put their waste in a neighbour's wheelie bin, or dump it under hedgerows or on our green open spaces.
Fly tipping is already a huge problem in Birmingham where waste collection is weekly and free. Imagine how the problem would escalate if it were fortnightly and people had to pay extra to use it.
So how exactly would councils charge people for the amount of rubbish they throw? The way suggested is to put a micro chip in the bottom of the bin. The contents are then weighed when the machine on the wagon picks it up to empty it.
It is, of course, only wheelie bins which are emptied into the wagon this way. With black bags, the operatives just chuck them in by hand. No machine needed, no way of being sure which bag came from which house, so no way for the council to weigh the contents.
Put simply, if you don't have a wheelie bin, it makes it very difficult to ever have the microchip to charge you for your waste. An important point to remember when people are considering whether they want wheelie bins in their area or not.
COUN DEIRDRE ALDEN,
Conservative parliamentary spokesman for Edgbaston
We don't want a new prison
Dear Editor, we missed out on the Millennium Dome, the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, the Capital of Culture and countless other prestigious projects. We have been waiting 20 years for a decent railway station while Birmingham remains the largest city in Europe without a modern urban transport network.
Do not despair! This benevolent government has saved a true gem for our region: a huge "Titan" prison. And we thought they had forgotten all about us.
A J MILLINGER, via email
The supermarkets must come clean
Dear Editor, supermarket cartels have a serious economic backlash, on the consumer and on the integrity of our retailers. If we cannot trust them to be honest over a bottle of milk, then we need to ask can we trust them with food additives, quality and processing.
Do we know whats in our food or what's not in it? this is more than a pinta - it's the very core of our food manufacturing and retailing. It's important that we know what they are putting on our table and if they are putting profits before people. Fining food companies means nothing because in the end any fine will be put on to the cost - and we will not only be paying with our money we could well be paying with our health.
ST VAUGHAN, Yardley Wood