Letter: Isle of Wight Council ‘most short-sighted, ignorant and stupid collection of officials’

The upcoming restriction on size of trailers allowed at the Isle of Wight’s rubbish tips is a subject that has been raised before and will come up again.

tape measure

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below. This from Gordon Payne. Ed

I took some assorted household waste to the recycling centre at Lynnbottom this week. Most of it was in my trailer. At the entrance, a member of staff advised me that, from 5th June, no trailer longer than 1.8 metres would be allowed to use the centre. He measured my trailer. It is a standard two metre trailer. He told me there was nowhere on the Island I would be able to use my trailer to recycle waste after 5th June.

While I was emptying my trailer into various skips, a council van pulled up at the General Household Waste skip. The man who unloaded this van told one of the members of staff that this van-load of assorted rubbish was from yet another fly-tipping incident that had been reported.

Three simple questions
A number questions have to be answered about this.

  • Firstly, why is the size limit being imposed? Lynnbottom has a dedicated trailer bay which can easily accommodate longer trailers.
  • Secondly, why set the limit at an arbitrary 1.8 metres? This is simply six feet converted to metres. Is the Isle of Wight Council still using imperial measurements 40 years after the rest of the country adopted the metric system?
  • Thirdly, does the council seriously want to tackle the problem of fly-tipping, or are they content to allow this lovely island to sink under a growing mound of unsightly rubbish? They have already increased the problem by charging for plaster-board and other building débris and reducing opening hours at the recycling centres.

Most short-sighted, ignorant and stupid collection of officials
When I lived in France, every encouragement was given to householders to recycle all their rubbish in one of the many recycling centres, with no charges. I never saw an incidence of fly-tipping in the years I lived in France.

Of all the places I have lived, in England and abroad, the Isle of Wight Council is easily the most short-sighted, ignorant and stupid collection of officials I have ever had to pay taxes to.

Image: smemon under CC BY 2.0

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Friday, 26th May, 2017 4:50pm


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Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Letter to the Editor

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. profoundlife

    26.May.2017 5:32pm

    Feels like they went with the best deal financially for them when they issued the contract. If anyone stood back and tried to look at what we’re trying to achieve for a clean, tidy, recycling island trying to help the residents paying for it…this wouldn’t be it.

  2. Phil Jordan

    26.May.2017 5:56pm

    Earlier this year I took up two ‘complaints’ from residents about this very issue. I have to say that the response I received was also ‘unhelpful’.

    There is another curious parameter that also leaves one head scratching when trying to consider the reason it has been implemented.

    So, in a reasonable response, the idea that some residents wish to use a commercial vehicle to deposit household waste (commercial waste is another matter entirely) often, but not entirely, building rubble, furniture or garden waste…. a scheme that allows 10 visits per year by any such commercial vehicle was introduced. Fair enough. Apply for a free permit and use the permit according to the terms.

    Except, if you happen to possess a *tipper* type vehicle – now, there are many of these around…they are small transit van sized vehicles, flat bedded, look like thousands of open back, flat bed transit van sized trucks except they have the capacity to *tip* the flat bed up in the air – you cannot use it anywhere on the Island.

    So, the idea that there are ‘no tippers’ at the waste depot has spun out of all rational sense because there is no capacity to *tip* at the waste depot but the attending vehicles are not being used to *tip* at the depot…merely transport said household waste. It is illogical and pointless and, as the letter writer suggests, is just going to add to fly tipping issues. (especially from vehicles capable of tipping their load in about 30 seconds…..!)

    I understand that Portsmouth CC tried to implement similar conditions and have now found to their detriment that fly tipping has increased massively but also they were challenged by residents over ‘discriminatory’ actions that excluded the open use of the waste facilities to all residents and have since changed their policies as a result. I have yet to establish the details on this.

    I predict that this Authority is going to face challenges to the way it is delivering (or failing to deliver) it’s statutory duties and I believe that waste is going to be near to the front of these actions.

    I suspect that the LGO (Ombudsman) might, just might, take a more sensible view on the Authorities service delivery which might include not imposing conditions such as trailer size or tipper vehicles (NOT tipping) at the reduced opening hours of the waste depot. I suspect, also, that the opening hours are very much open to challenge within the context of the legislation that controls this service.

    In broad terms that states that waste facilities must be open at ….”all reasonable times”. Two or three days a week cannot, in my view, be considered all reasonable times.

    For numbers of residents it seems the LGO is the next port of call.

  3. I’ve raised the trailer issue with my new ward councillor. The proposed 1.8m trailer limit is quite arbitrary, and I suppose I’m narked as my trailer is 2m! I’ve got two cars and there’s more than 0.2m difference between them.

    Still I probably visit on average once every other year.

    All a bit short sighted and silly.

  4. There has been a total lack of scrutiny of the waste contract. It is not even currently available for public scrutiny which I would have thought would trouble many on here who are champions of openness and transparency when it suits.
    From what I can gather there are a whole host of issues with the waste contract that do not get aired. Hopefully that will change now there is a new administration.

    • Robert Jones

      6.Jun.2017 12:01pm

      I remember a senior councillor in the last Tory administration indignantly telling me “I don’t read contracts! That’s the officers’ job!”

      Tells you all you need to know about scrutinizing contracts if that attitude has persisted beyond her time.

  5. @tyke
    this change was made by the new addmin? so do not try your old tory tricks of blaming the last lot .Typical Tory’s lets lay the blame at the independents door not our fault gov

  6. Phil Jordan

    27.May.2017 12:15pm

    To be absolutely clear on this.

    The Independents proposed an ‘alternative’ budget in February 2017 that did not see the closures and restrictions on the waste depot and opening. That budget was voted down by the then alliance of conservative/IMG/Ukip members.

    Tosh, you are correct in the broad sense. The problems that are affecting our community and through the cuts to local services are brought down, since 2010, by continued cuts to the Revenue Support Grant that central government commit to local authorities to deliver services. The problem being that on top of the financial cuts, the duties to deliver services by local authorities has increased (not decreased) largely through obligations to implement and manage changes to central government legislation. In addition, until recently, council tax raising opportunities were *capped* by central government at 1.99% increase each year (recently extended for three years to 6% overall increase in addition to the 1.99% over the next three years …. to be ported directly to social care only).

    So cuts to services have been, are and will be made that are going to affect peoples lives. The waste is but one service area where residents are starting to experience first hand the outcomes of the cuts that the Independent group warned of since 2013. It’s starting to bite.

    Ironically, the conservative group have to deal with exactly the same parameters whilst supporting the government line on austerity and trying to convince the population on the island that it’s not all…”doom and gloom” and that they have positive attitudes to the problems. All well and good except that each year a financially balanced budget has to be set which takes into account the services the council HAS to deliver and the reducing revenue income it receives.
    The closure(s) of the waste depot is a financial decision…not a service one. The restrictions on vehicle ‘types’ is a nonsensical approach to the problems we face as a community and will have (foreseen) consequences which, ironically, may well lead to increased cost incurred by the council in dealing with the entire problem of ‘fly tipping’.

    Finally, the waste contract, like all contratcs, are not (necessarily) set in stone. If both parties agree (and under EU legislation) the financial changes do not amount to more than 10% of the value of the original contract then both parties can agree to contractual changes. (The PFI has built in facilities to do just that…I expect the waste contract to have the same). Thus, regardless of the why’s and wherefore’s of the waste contract, small changes can be, have been, are and will be made as deemed fit and agreeable to both parties.

    Operationally, this community will get what the management of the Council decide is best for the Island (within limits). So, don’t forget, next February, the Council will be making further cuts to services in the order of about £6m bringing the total revenue taken from the council since 2010 (and lost annually from this point onwards) to about £80m to sit alongside the job losses in the Council of about 600 in the same period.

    In reality, all of these issues are connected to the funding cuts from central government and their heavy hand over (not) allowing taxes to be raised ‘locally’ or to be retained – as in business rates – for local use.

    As far fetched as it appears…the size of vehicles and opening times at the waste depot are (broadly) directly related to funding cuts from government.

  7. I think the previous council did quite well to keep the Household Waste sites open and free for most people. With a newly elected Conservative Council expect more cuts and austerity – so probably more restrictions on opening times and charges for all.

  8. Mick. Let’s have this right.
    Forest Road recycling centre closed as a public amenity site under the Indies. At a stroke the number of recycling centres available to the public was cut in half with all the resulting increased miles spent criss-crossing the Island on route to the remaining facility.
    Proper forward-thinking environmental awareness that.

    • That doesn’t mean there will not be more changes to opening times, restrictions and charges. The Conservative Council have already committed to another £21million of cuts in the next three years and proposed more income generation, what better way than charging people to use the recycling centre. Consider voting against austerity at the general election.

    • Phil Jordan

      27.May.2017 10:49pm

      Tyke, Let’s have it right also. The forest road depot was closed because it had to be rebuilt. It was not closed as a permanent feature. Let’s not go over the whole issue (again) of how the parameters of the waste contract were set before the Independents took over in May 2013, were unchangeable under EU tendering regulations and there was no time left to ‘re-tender’ for a waste contract outside of the parameters already set because the existing contract had already been extended by one year and could not be extended any further…..meaning that dropping the existing waste contract tendering process ( already in motion before May 2013) would have left the Island without any waste disposal service….
      As others have commented, expect further changes to the waste service as the conservatives struggle to implement the cuts they are going to have to make…. and/or charge more for services.

  9. It has to be said that the behaviour of some trailer owners can be very selfish. A few times I have sat in a queue of cars at Lynbottom waiting for a free bay, because a car and trailer has parked across the whole garden waste parking area, and watched the driver amble about slowly unloading their rubbish apparently ignorant of all the people waiting for them to finish.

    Nevertheless the Council has a big enough recycling facility that surely some sort of separate space could be provided for them to use? Or alternatively they could unhitch the trailer in a single parking space and put their car somewhere else whilst they unload?

  10. In reply to Ian 123, I have come across this problem when I used the facility to unload my 1.8m trailer, I waited until a ‘lane’ was free, reversed in complete with my trailer taking up 1 space, when one of the attendants, who I must say was very polite instructed me to not park there as my front bumper was slightly overhanging the line, instead I had to wait until about 4 bays were clear in a row to enable me to park alongside the wall.
    This in turn took up valuable parking bays and also the fact that instead of unloading straight out the back and over the wall I then had to unload the trailer and carry it across a few feet to the wall, taking considerably longer to do.

  11. colinteller

    19.Jun.2017 2:39pm

    I would agree with the general sentiment that the changes to waster regulations since the award of the contract to Biffa is likely to increase fly-tipping.

    I have also heard that the contract is for a term of 25 years! If so that is worrying, if not surprising given the reputation the IOW council enjoys when it comes to contracts and planning permission…

  12. I never thought that i would agree with the comments of the above letter. Having seen the resulting debacle concerning the Wight Elephant that is trying to emulate a chain ferry across the Medina, i can only agree with the original sentiment.

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