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Tuesday, July 17, 2007


According to an interview with the Minister for Sustainability and Rural Development in last night's South Wales Evening Post, the new Labour-Plaid Cymru Government have decided that fortnightly refuse collections are the way forward in Wales because she believes that they make people recycle more. She is also opposed to the tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay as she thinks that 'the technology is not there'. Utter nonsense.

A contrary view on refuse collection appears in this morning's Western Mail from Newport. There we are told that the Council has had
an increase of more than 80% in complaints about rats since fortnightly collections were started.

The Commons local government Committee also takes a contrary view to Jane Davidson. They have concluded that fortnightly rubbish collections are not right for all areas and there is no proof they increase recycling. Their conclusions are a compelling case for local councils to decide for themselves rather than have Ministers dictate from the centre.

In my view a proper investment in kerbside recycling and education will have an equal impact on recycling rates as alternate collections. The problem is finding the money. One of the reasons why fortnightly collections appeal to Councils is because it enables them to both meet government targets and reduce landfill, for no additional cost. Unfortunately, the environmental and health costs of such a policy can be too high, with increases in litter, fly-tipping and rodent activity.

That is why the Government needs to start putting its money where its mouth is. A proper up-front investment in recycling, combined with new measures on reducing packaging and encouraging industry to re-use materials, could help change habits over the long-term and lead to a natural reduction in collection rates for the remaining domestic waste.

Leadership in this case should not be about forcing an unpalatable measure on reluctant residents but in ensuring that facilities are in place to enable them to change their habits easily over time. The hard decision in this case lies with national government, who must find the money to enable local Councils to make this change.

Jane Davidson is mis-informed on the tidal lagoon. the design for the turbines envisaged reached full maturity in the 1930s, and the retaining walls use well tested civil engineering techniques using aggregates dredged routinely to keep Swansea and Port talbot docks, and rocks delivered by sea. Concrete will only be used to build the turbine chambers. The Barrage, on the other hand will be built largely from concrete, which has an enormous carbon footprint.

While the barrage will have a huge deleterious environmental impact on wildlife, the lagoon would provide new habitats for marine birds, and it could even be used for fish or lobster farming.

Andrew davies had a blind spot on this as well, and refused to even meet the proposers of the Swansea bay site - Tidalelectric.com. The reports produced by the dti that informs the anti lagoon view were deeply flawed, prepared by individaul under-qualified consultants, and harshly critisised by the national audit office. Tidal electric, on the other hand have a report from WS atkins, one of the largest civil engineering consultancies in the world, which is far more convincing.

Unlike the servern barrage, the lagoon can generate for up to 20 predictable hours a day, (compared to 8 for the barrage. and can also be used for load balancing (ie storing energy), making it much easier to integrate into the national grid than wind.

Someone in the DTI and/or the national assembly is in the pocket of the wind lobby, otherwise why ignore this wonderful opportunity?

FOur sites have so far been identified as suuitable afound wWales, and if these were all built, they would produce mar power, more of the time, than the barrage.

It appears that someone in the DTI or in the assembly is in the pocket of the wind and possibly
Agreed, hence my comment of 'utter nonsense'.
Many householders don't have waste disposal units fitted to their kitchen sinks and consequently food waste is put into plastic bags which in turn will act as a food source for rodents and wandering dogs.

Pretty plain logic/common sense really. The size of the rat population is largely governed by the available food supply, increase the food supply and the rate population will increase.

The causative agent of the bubonic plague (the gram negative facultative anaerobic bacterial species, Yersinia pestis) is pretty harmless growing in a petri dish, but not nice if found in a burgeoning local rat population. Treatable with antibiotics - but who wants to live among a growing rat population - something that is eminently avoidable by continuing to collect household rubbish on a weekly basis.
Interesting that her Labour colleagues in RCT have said they have no intention of introducing fortnightly collections.

Wonder who will win the argument?
Tidal Lagoons have proven technology. Putting it over simply - mankind has been building DAMS to impound water for millennia and also building generators for well over a Century. The two technologies are already very mature and put together to make a Tidal Lagoon generating plant. Of course there is a bias towards Wind and Andrew davies and others have been on Wind "Jollies". The questions that Peter Black AM should be asking is under Freedom of Information is "What is the CV of the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Wales Assembly?" Also "Is it true that a Junior Sewage Engineer reported the Tidal Lagoon system to Andrew Davies as unworkable despite the massive report from W S Atkins a world Leader in engineering. Jane Davison is just picking up the noinsense policies that Andrew davies left her.Peter is sadly led by Mike German who said "Wind Turbines work by storing electricity when the Wind blows and releasing energy when the wind is not blowing". I suppose he has proposed a Battery the size of Ireland or even Australia alongside the Wind Turbines he proposes. The trouble is that EVERY Assembly Member bar the Tories (who I have no time for) have been bought out by the Wind brigade. It seems now that the Assembly Government is plotting a great masterplan to make Wales the ENERGY CENTRE OF THE UK with new clean coal; tidal barrage; thousands of Wind Turbines and sawdust burners. What nonsense!
Actually, although I support wind power in principle as part of a mixed economy of energy provision, I do not do so slavishly. I believe each application should be taken on its own merits.

I also support the tidal barrage in Swansea Bay and have raised questions on it in the Assembly. I intend to continue to do so.
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