Will im­pos­ing fines keep streets clean?

Bath Chronicle - - OPINION -

Coun­cil­lor Bob Good­man’s faux de­fence jus­ti­fy­ing his plans to re­cruit a ‘pri­vate lit­ter army’ to is­sue on the spot fines to any­one who drops lit­ter in Bath and else­where re­vealed how few ideas the Con­ser­va­tives now have for im­prov­ing our area. It came on the same day it was re­vealed there had been a 636 per cent rise in missed do­mes­tic waste col­lec­tions fol­low­ing the change in col­lec­tion ar­range­ments agreed by the Con­ser­va­tives last year. This is im­por­tant be­cause it shows that waste left be­hind by the coun­cil is likely to end up on the streets as lit­ter and fur­ther un­der­mines the Con­ser­va­tive’s claims that they are act­ing in the best in­ter­ests of res­i­dents. What in fact emerged as a con­se­quence of the Lib Dem chal­lenge was clear ev­i­dence that Coun­cil­lor Good­man took his de­ci­sion to em­ploy pri­vate con­trac­tors to en­force ac­tion against lit­ter­ing in the face of the facts rather than be­cause of them and there­fore acted ir­ra­tionally in do­ing so. Pre­dictably the Con­ser­va­tive mem­bers con­sid­er­ing the chal­lenge closed ranks and re­jected our chal­lenge. We are not op­posed to tougher ac­tion against peo­ple who lit­ter but we doubt that em­ploy­ing pri­vate con­trac­tors whose in­cen­tive is to is­sue as many fines as pos­si­ble is ul­ti­mately in the best in­ter­ests of res­i­dents or will im­prove stan­dards of clean­li­ness on our streets. Coun­cil­lor Good­man also seems to have for­got­ten that in a democ­racy the right to scru­ti­nise and chal­lenge those who make de­ci­sions is a ba­sic tenet of British so­ci­ety. All too of­ten I have heard him dis­miss such chal­lenges as ‘play­ing pol­i­tics’ thereby seek­ing to di­min­ish the le­git­i­mate right to protest we are all proud of in this coun­try. The Con­ser­va­tives may think they have hege­mony over those of us who op­pose their views but thank good­ness elec­tions reg­u­larly oc­cur that of­fer the op­por­tu­nity for vot­ers to chal­lenge that view. Richard Sa­muel Lib­eral Demo­crat coun­cil­lor for Wal­cot and spokesper­son on com­mu­nity ser­vices

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