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Rutland columnist Allan Grey discusses the future of recycling centres

Is it just me, or is access to many of the local services we pay our council tax for becoming severely rationed, in the process of going digital, or both? It seems that Covid-19 has provided a once in a generation opportunity for many of the services we pay for through our taxes to try to distance themselves from us, writes Rutland columnist, Allan Grey.

First out of the blocks were our GPs, when our local medical centres became ‘no go areas’ with threatening notices outside warning people not to enter, and great efforts taken ever since to discourage us from seeing our doctor. Libraries, museums, castles, council offices, refuse tips, sorry waste recycling centres, all trying as hard as possible to distance themselves from the proletariat, by closing, or minimising opening times, all under the guise of protecting their employees from covid, and now planning even more draconian measures to deter the casual user.

These mega cautionary features of our public services are not observed by the many organisations that survive on that tiresome consideration called profit, our supermarkets, our pubs, our restaurants, our delivery companies and many more beside, all finding procedures with which to operate reasonably effectively during the pandemic. I am very concerned that even when all restrictions are lifted, our public services will continue to find reasons to keep us very much at arms length. Even the notable exception of the fantastic vaccination centres would have struggled without the many thousands of volunteers that have stepped up at a time of need.

Allan Grey took this photo of a locked Cottesmore tip
Allan Grey took this photo of a locked Cottesmore tip

However, as someone who has had to find their way through a 90 minute magical mystery meander down country lanes for the last 18 months to dispose of my domestic waste, I will focus on future plans for our refuse tips, sorry waste recycling centres.

Amazingly, a top secret sheaf of council papers left carelessly on a bench in the Cutts Close playground have fortuitously come into my possession, papers that could easily have found their way to The Sun newspaper, or the Russians, or even worse the BBC, had I not got to them first. I have my seven year old granddaughter to thank for this... she said: “Grandad, look at these top secret papers I’ve just found. Some of the grammar is appalling, there are no fronted adverbials and the sums don’t add up, and whoever did the illustrations needs to use better crayons. Oh, and what’s a 25 year waste recycling strategy when it’s at home Grandad?”

Proposals for managing the North Luffenham and Cottesmore tips, sorry waste recycling centres, over future years were laid shockingly bare in these papers. The booking system is just the start, this will soon be followed by a 30 minute, mandatory online Zoom interview to gather intimate personal details before any consideration of a visit in person can be made.

Firstly you will need to provide proof of your address, your email, your phone number, your car registration, your NI number, your mother’s maiden name, your inside leg mesurement, your O-level results and your credit card details. You will also be required to show proof of covid vaccinations and your most recent flu, pneumonia, yellow fever and paranoia jabs, and from September you will also need to show proof of installation of a hydrogen powered boiler. Failure to produce any of this information will incur a five year ban from any council refuse tip, sorry waste recycling centre, within a 50 mile radius, and only if all this is deemed satisfactory will an assessment of the materials you wish to dispose of commence.

Old clothing will not be accepted, you will either be expected to repair your old clothes, hand them down to younger members of your family or attend regular ‘60s disco nights. Scrap wood will not be accepted, you will be advised to install a wood burner, or build yourself a shed at the bottom of the garden. No garden materials will be accepted, as you will be expected to invest in a composter and fertilise your garden or allotment regularly, growing more flowering plants to encourage the pollinators. Any mention of plastic waste will be considered a hate crime, causing your interview to be terminated immediately, followed by a visit from the local constabulary and a mandatory binge watch of all eight episodes of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet series down at the local nick in the Greta Thunberg suite.

If you wish to dispose of old furniture or electrical goods you will be advised to upcycle them yourself, or if you are not practically inclined and have seven fingers and three thumbs, you will be advised to take the whole shebang down to the Repair Shop in West Sussex and speak nicely to Jay Blades, returning the following week to admire what a wonderful job they’ve done with Granny’s old commode, and her VHS tape recorder. Children under 11 cannot be disposed of at either recycling centre, although there is a chimney sweep just down the road in Cottesmore looking for a couple of skinny young apprentices.

Any materials that do pass muster by the refuse, sorry recycling stasi can only be disposed of in a pre-determined three minute window, and only in an electric vehicle; no diesel or petrol vehicles, not even Range Rovers will be allowed anywhere near the tips, sorry recycling centres, due to the health hazard they present to the operatives and the three nearby badger sets. As a good friend of mine recently experienced, any resident of Rutland turning up at even an empty tip without prior authorisation, seriously expecting to dispose of waste, will be mocked mercilessly by recycling operatives for a full ten minutes for their abject stupidity.

The secret papers conclude with some self congratulatory comments about the visionary strategy for refuse tips, sorry waste recycling centres, and the hope that the expected rise in flytipping, sorry wide domain waste redistribution, in and around Rutland will increasingly become the responsibility of the local farming community.

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