Friday, 2 November 2007

Under attack from my MP over recycling

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In a panel debate organised by Friends of the Earth, Martin Salter MP launched an unprecedented attack on a member of the audience. He claimed that I had written against recycling. Its typical New Labour to invent an initiative that doesn’t work, then attack those who say so. Spin and lies, business as usual for them.

Ironically he was making a point about how politicians words stay in the media that stay to haunt them. Unlike the other parties, I stand by what I say and my letters stay on our website. I wrote my letter after seeing the state of the streets of our town, increased plastic bags of rubbish in the road and in peoples gardens. That letter can be seen at , it dates from the 15th of October 2006. I've cpied it below.

Dear Sir
Have you seen the state of our streets lately? Bins are overflowing with rubbish around the town as weekly collection has ended. Recycling bins also have rubbish in them, as residents don’t know what can be recycled. The council point to Cherwell where they have adopted the alternate weekly recycling/ normal rubbish collection, but don’t mention Southampton, Sutton, Leeds, Plymouth, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Bury, Kirklees and Bolton. These Councils have gone back to weekly collections after trying the scheme. If the council were to work with the public and allow them to participate in the decision making process we could be heading to a zero waste strategy, instead of a public health catastrophe.
Adrian Windisch

Note for the editor
UK average recycling rate is 18%, the Netherlands is 65%, Austria 59%, Germany 58%. We are only ahead of Greece and Portugal in Europe.

As can be seen, I’ve pointed out that we're one of the worst recyclers in Europe, which despite claims of the wonders of Alternate Weekly Collection is still the case. They also seem to regard residents as fools, repeatedly denying that they have reduced waste collection. Even they must admit that before there were 3 collections in 2 weeks, now we have 2. Fly tiping has increased, plastic bags and bottles that won't degrade for centuries are littering our environment. Rats populations have also increased.

There is a new green waste collection for garden clippings, but very few people have bought the new green bins, at £25 each, so that won’t make much difference. At the same time as RBC introduced the new scheme they gave away tens of thousands of large red wheelie bins, before they had been difficult to procure. With this of course the recycling will increase, irrespective of new schemes.

I've been looking for more recent figures from, but they seem curiously reticent. I got a copy of the report by RBC one year on from the introduction of fortnightly collection by the freedom of information act. It announces the target for 2010 is 40%, and claims we were at 35% in June'07. That would still put close to the worst in Europe, assuming the rest of the country achieved on average the same. So instead of leading the world, the truth is we would be 10th of 15 counties in Europe; if all went to plan. Its a modest improvement, but at a price; loss of credibility, increased smell, as well as health and safety fears. Still rats like it, maybe RBC have a diferent group they are trying to please.

See website below for European recycling rates


Gareth Epps said...

Adrian you should be a bit more honest about other parties' climate change policies and the Climate Change Bill. I quite clearly said at the beginning of my presentation that Liberal Democrats had sought to amend the Bill in the manner FotE were campaigning for, but got no support from Labour or Tories. I also pointed out the Liberal Democrat approach of a carbon-neutral Britain by 2050. Don't be so selective and dishonest - after all we're not going to see the Greens in power any time soon.

Anonymous said...

That being the case, why be so nasty Gareth?

Adrian Windisch said...

Gareth, you should read the later post, which does quote you. This one doesnt, so I suspect you have commented here by mistake. Unless you are defending Martin Salter?

Essenitally my disagreement with the Lib Dems is the emphasis on the next generation solving the problem, I think we need to do something now.

I commented on the Lib Dem Green Policies in more detail on the next blog, no need to repeat them here.

Gareth Epps said...

Your comment Adrian shows you haven't read our policy or noted the Liberal Democrat voting record on the Bill.

But it's very clear you weren't going to let the facts get in the way of a long rant. The point I made about the Prius, for example, was about its size and cost.

The Liberal Democrats have been ecologically conscious since 1970, before I or for that matter the Green Party was born.

On the subject of waste, Rob White was supposed to be organising a debate, which the Liberal Democrats have said we'd happily take part in; where is it?

Adrian Windisch said...

Gareth, your still posting comments on Lib Dem policies in the wrong section, this one is about Martin Salter. Dont you have anything positive to say, are you always this grumpy?

The Lib Dems have been failing to take action on green issues for meany years. In Newbury they built the A34 which has generated more traffic since it was built. If they were really green, then no one would vote for us. Clearly they have failed, in the other post I quote an independent asessment put them only just ahead of Labour on Green issues, what an achievement. See for more. eg M74 motorway extension, pro Iraq war MEP Emma Nicholson, against congestion charging in Edinburgh and pro nuclear weapons.

Gareth said...

Adrian you seem to have taken the Martin Salter spin course!

Oh yes 1 of our MEPs was for the Iraq war. Every single Liberal Democrat MP physically voted against.

Oh I am not pro nuclear weapons.

What independent report put the Liberal Democrats just ahead of Labour? The recent multi-agency report gave the Liberal Democrats 3green stars out of 6, Labour 1 and the Tories none.

Adrian, as with the cycle lanes, you ought to get your facts right before posting. I have no quarrel with idealism - but every quarrel with spin.

Adrian Windisch said...

Gareth, see for a discussion on Lib Dem and the other parties, see

According to you, I tell the truth, but you spin it by saying I spin. Instead of supporting a green cycling strategy, you choose to attempt to attack me. Every comment you’ve made has been negative, which says more about you than it does about me. Maybe you’re in the wrong profession.

I can see your trying to spin, but you’re not doing very well. The green alliance did not praise the LD green efforts, they were very critical. 'All three of the major political parties are falling short in their response to the threats facing the environment, all were found wanting.' Hardly high praise, and with good reason.

The Lib Dems were not anti war, despite their often repeated claims. At the anti war rally in ‘03, Charles Kennedy spoke in a personal capacity, not representing his party. But even then – even at a Stop the War rally – he didn’t say he opposed the war.

One of their two MEPs in the SE, one was pro war, thats a high percentage. Vince Cable was in Labour, co wrote a book with Gordon Brown, then worked for Shell; hardly a green background.

The shame is that they have not been an effective opposition, either locally or nationally. They may hold the balance of power in the next election, but they are playing the same game as the other grey parties. So not so much a green party, more a yellow party.