As from the beginning of October it has been possible to dump glass bottles in your green bin. Yes, apparently the new waste processing facility at Costessey has machines that are capable of picking shards of broken glass as small as a couple of millimetres out of what would otherwise be worthless paper and plastic. Amazing stuff. But if the glass wasn’t there in the first place – you can see this coming can’t you – there would be no need for fancy machines, and the uncontaminated wastepaper would be more valuable. Yeah!
Just to make sure their new machines have plenty of work to do, the NNDC are removing all local bottle banks from the district thereby giving householders no choice but to contaminate their green bins with glass. This smart new policy will also result in a loss of revenue to the Parish of some £700 per annum. Except it won’t, because the parish council has decided to arrange for a private contractor to provide us with a bottle bank – that’s a different private contractor to the one the NNDC has just used to take all the bottle banks away – who will collect our glass, charging £10 a ton, while we claim the recycling credit direct from the County council who are responsible for all the landfill sites. We should come out of it all some way ahead, financially and environmentally.
Why has the NNDC opted for this daft idea? I don’t know – and they’re not saying. The rather better news is that this new waste processing facility can also deal with a wide range of other materials: you can now dispose of kitchen foil and takeaway food trays (provided they are clean), tetrapaks and other waxed paper packaging, plastic food containers such as styrene yoghurt pots, plastic bottle tops provided they are still attached to their bottles, and shredded paper. I have heard that they can even take window envelopes but I can’t find anything on the website to confirm that. But it must all be clean.
What you still cannot put into the green bin is general household waste, garden waste (use the brown bin for that), bagged waste, food waste, plastic bags, loose lids/corks/stoppers, lightbulbs, and window/mirror glass. There are persistent rumours – impossible to confirm from public sources – that the next step in the brave new world of rubbish disposal is to start charging for non-recycled waste by weight. It may not have escaped the more eagle-eyed of you that our bins are fitted with RFID chips so a dustman – sorry, refuse disposal operative – can, with a suitable gadget, tell whose bin he is about to empty into his cart; it is but a small step to fit the cart with some weighing mechanism and Bob’s your mother’s brother. If, or more likely when, this comes to pass those of you who in a fit of paranoia have taken a hammer and chisel to the RFID chips will probably find their bins aren’t being emptied any more as the householder can’t be recognised and thus charged. Will we also see unpopular neighbours getting quantities of rubble and old concrete dumped in their bins just before collection time? Perish the thought.
The big message is: carry on drinking, but please also carry on using the bottle bank, especially as it is now our bottle bank.
There has been much concern in the village of late about protecting the ancient walls of our lokes – even to the point of trying to get them locally listed as of historical importance which unarguably they are. So it is with some dismay that I have to report that some idiot van driver in the employ of DPD parcels service, while trying to execute a 3-point turn in the rear drive of Cley Hall, managed to reverse into, and knock a great hole in, one of these lovely old walls. Fortunately no one was injured but there will no doubt be protracted legal squabbles before we can see the wall repaired. Unfortunately the particular skills of the people who built those walls seem to be lost to the present generation and, as the wall is not listed, there is no way we can enforce an historically accurate repair.
Cley Parish Council has long supported the ‘dark skies’ initiative so we are never happy to see bright lights erected anywhere in the village. Though this may be our policy, there is no way other than persuasion that we can enforce it. Certain forms of lighting come under planning laws, others are covered by environmental health – in the latter case all those afflicted by over-bright lights from neighbouring properties are urged to write to the Environmental Protection people at Cromer (or phone 01263 516085). The more people that write, the more likely they are to respond. But please remember that, however desirable, there is alas no statutory right to a dark sky at night.
There is a statutory right to be able to walk to and from one’s allotment garden without treading in dog muck. Dog owners are reminded that if they take their animal down the path through the allotments they must keep it on a lead at all times and must prevent it from fouling. Anywhere. If the dog does decide to take a dump the owner is responsible for clearing it up – on pain of a large fine. There is a red bin specifically for dog waste nearby in the Village Hall car park. Please use it and show some consideration for the gardeners, heroically slaving away in all weathers to put food on their tables, battling with slugs and snails, pigeons and pheasants, not to mention the rats… No, don’t mention the rats.
Which reminds me, would those allotment holders who have yet to pay their rent please do so as soon as possible. Otherwise we’ll let the dogs loose.
The next meeting of the Cley Parish Council will be held on Tuesday 4 November in the newly redecorated (I hope) club room, starting at 7.30pm. Only seven more months…