Sunday, 8 December 2019

It's about time councils standardised recycling policies
My father moved up to the bright lights of East Anglia from Hertfordshire a couple of months ago and he is still confused.
This state is not due to his age (he is in his 80s) but the recycling and waste collection rules of his new local council.
After 50 years living in the same town he was pretty au fait with what could and couldn’t be left outside the house on the pre-designated day and time and what had to be taken to the local “tip”.
He knew exactly what went into which large (black or blue) bin, the small green bin and the black rectangular box.
Simples really? Oh no it isn’t. In his naivety he assumed, perhaps understandably, that his new local council would have the same rules as his previous spender of council tax.
Sorry, dad, but you can’t put your glass into a box outside the house – it has to be taken to a bottle bank (either at a local village hall or a council waste site).
And your old newspapers cannot go in the brown bin anymore – that’s basically for potato peelings only.
And your general household waste can’t be put in plastic bags on the pavement – it still has to go into plastic bags but these must be put inside the bin. Now, what colour bin is that?
The whole situation is pretty bonkers. How difficult would it be for the UK, or England at least, to have a joined-up recycling and waste policy?
Then the black bin would be for general household waste, the brown bin for compostable materials and the blue bin for recyclable materials e.g. paper, card, plastics and glass.
I guess there is a reason why West Suffolk Council has a different policy to Breckland and, for that matter, East Herts to North Herts. But could someone please explain it to me?

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Time for PedestrianCam? You heard it here first
I have to say that I applaud the latest road safety initiative being introduced in London.
Under the new scheme HGVs caught driving in the capital without safety features to protect cyclists and pedestrians will be fined under a world-first scheme launched by the Mayor of London.
Firms will be hit with £550 penalty tickets from the autumn of next year if their vehicles fail a “direct vision” standard, based on how much the driver can see from the lorry cab.
HGVs are involved in a disproportionately high number of road deaths. They account for just four per cent of the miles travelled by vehicles in London, but 63 per cent of all cyclist deaths and 25 per cent of all pedestrian deaths in the capital between 2015 and 2017.
Operators are required to obtain a free permit from Transport for London which gives vehicles star ratings — from zero to five — according to the amount of safety equipment.
Zero-rated vehicles will be fined from October 26 next year. The rules will get progressively tougher by 2024, when only HGVs rated three stars and above will avoid a fine.
The scheme will apply 24/7 across Greater London. Roadside number plate cameras will detect lorries without a permit.
And cyclists will be encouraged to upload helmet-cam footage.
This is all great but (controversy warning) isn’t it time that cyclists act a bit more responsibly?
I can't wait for the re-birth of Spitting Image!
Only last month SWMBO and I were in the big smoke to see a show. We strolled down Shaftesbury Avenue from Piccadilly Circus before realising the theatre we wanted was on the opposite side of the road.
Being a fairly cautious type, I quickly dismissed the notion of cutting across the road where we were and playing dodgems with the very heavy traffic.
We made our way to a pedestrian crossing just yards away and waited patiently, with some other touristy types, as the cars, vans, buses and bikes sped past through their green, and our red, light.
Then it was our turn. Having been brought up proper, like, we still looked right and left anyway before stepping out.
Which was when a female cyclist went through her red light, oblivious to the people crossing, and narrowly missed me.
As I am a chap of what some may say are generous proportions, that was very, very lucky escape. I’m still not sure how she did miss me.
As I shouted a greeting (?) at her quickly disappearing rear wheel I realised she was not simply stupid. She was downright ignorant.
For she was wearing headphones. Probably too busy listening to some upbeat combo to worry about respecting other road users and their safety or even hearing warning honks from other road users.
But I bet she had a helmet cam and was the sort of cyclist always prepared to upload videos of inconsiderate drivers and vehicle-dodging pedestrians putting her in danger.
Maybe it’s time for PedestrianCam. I’m off to the Patent office now.

Monday, 4 November 2019

There will always be some people more equal than others

So, a dozen BBC women are poised to take the corporation to tribunal over equal pay.
This was announced as broadcaster Samira Ahmed launched a case for £500,000 in back pay.
She is arguing that as a presenter of Newswatch she was doing an equivalent job to Jeremy Vine when he was presenter of Points of View.
But she was paid £440 per episode while Vine received up to £3,000 per show.
Apparently the programmes have similar formats, airing viewers’ concerns about BBC content and interviews with the executives responsible.
The BBC said that the roles were not equal because Points of View has a long history as a popular entertainment programme, and Vine is a household name.
Samira Ahmed is the first BBC presenter to take her equal pay claim all the way to tribunal in a movement that began when the corporation was compelled to publish details of its gender pay gap in 2017, sparking a revolt by women employees.
I know this may not be a popular view but why should Ahmed be paid the same as Vine?
There are pay variances in all professions and it is virtually impossible to compare, say, an editor of one weekly newspaper with another in a different part of the country.
Surely geography, general pay rates, experience plus many other factors have to be taken into account?
My take on the current BBC issues is quite simple – lower the ridiculously high salaries of the highest earners and then begin a thorough investigation about pay equality.
For Jeremy Vine to receive £3,000 a show is, to me, bonkers. For Samira Ahmed to receive £400 a show seems mean and cheap in comparison.
But surely Vine has more perceived “value” as a presenter and much more experience so he should earn more? End of?