Birmingham Friends of the Earth Newsletter February 2002/March 2002
The Public Inquiry into the proposal to build a waste-to-energy incinerator in
Kidderminster commences on February 19th. Wyre Forest FOE and Stop Kidderminster
Incinerator (SKI) have mounted an excellent campaign which has put waste issues
to the fore in the town and surrounding area. I am told that levels of recycling
in the area are going up!! The campaign has raised a35,000 to pay for expert
witnesses to make their case as well as encouraging as many people as possible
to attend the inquiry. Watch out for updates on this in the local and regional
Birmingham City Council have introduced a door step waste paper recycling scheme
across a large part of the City. This is, in headline terms, most welcome and
should be the sort of scheme the City offers for a whole stream of resources
which we currently call waste.
However, the way in which the City has introduced the scheme has meant that it
has not been very successful. Each house was supposed to be given a reinforced
cardboard box, a list of when the paper was to be collected and a roll of plastic
bags. The delivery of these was the first most residents had heard about the
scheme. Many residents did not get the information leaflet nor the roll of plastic
bags. The cardboard boxes, which were supposed to be taken in and placed out
on the appropriate day, became street art for the late autumn.
Many people who wanted to participate in the scheme did not know when the paper
was to be collected. Initial good faith was not rewarded with collections and
as such the number of active participants reduced quickly.
So there are some important lessons for the City: participate, consult, listen,
act and deliver. As we have one of the largest incinerators in the country the
cynic might argue the whole exercise was inspired to show that Brummies are not
into recycling so let's keep the burners going! The City needs to change its
whole attitude to resource management if it is to deliver a more sustainable
and greener City which it always tells us it is striving to do.
(C) 2002 Birmingham Friends of the Earth