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Waste Consultation – Constructive Feedback Sought 7 October 2005

    The Department of Local Government and the Environment has expressed disappointment at the nature of some of the public statements that have been made recently following the launch of its Consultation Document on the Waste Strategy. The Department had been hoping for more constructive feedback on the document which seeks to set out the challenges facing the Island in dealing with its wastes; some ideas for tackling those challenges; and some proposals upon which views are being canvassed.

    Minister for Local Government and the Environment, John Rimington, MHK, stated:

    “The publishing of the Consultation Document by the Department is merely the start of a process and does not indicate that final decisions have been taken. However, it is absolutely essential that the public should be provided with the best information possible to enable them to gain a better understanding of the issues and their views invited so that the same can be properly considered before any final decisions are taken.
    I was very disappointed to hear the suggestion by Mr Singer MLC, and others, that this issue should not be tackled because we are within a year of a General Election. MHKs are elected for a five year term of office and should be taking decisions for the long term good of the Island throughout the full five years. We are not elected for four years with an extra year of doing nothing. Sometimes tough decisions need to be made and, if they are justified, we should not shirk from our responsibilities. It is too easy for certain politicians to make populist comments in order to curry favour with the public rather than adopt the more responsible line of tackling the real challenges facing the Island.
    Tynwald has accepted the policy of the ‘user pays principle’ on many occasions. The proposed changes to the waste charges are simply seeking to implement that policy in a more balanced and meaningful way. It has always been made crystal clear that the waste producer would have to pay at least some of the cost of disposing of their rubbish and Members of Tynwald, like Mr Speaker and Mr Singer MLC, voted for the incinerator with that knowledge. This was also fully explained to the Local Authorities.
    The policy to adopt the ‘user (polluter) pays’ principle was first introduced into Tynwald in February 1994 by the Hon. A J Brown SHK when he was the Minister of Local Government and the Environment, a matter of public record in Hansard. This policy has remained for Waste Management for all the years he was a Member of the Council of Ministers and the policy has been accepted by Tynwald. It is now disingenuous for Mr Speaker to try and distance himself from the policy he originally introduced and has supported for so many years as a Minister.
    Neither Mr Speaker nor Mr Singer MLC has acknowledged the key proposal to introduce Island wide kerbside collection of waste in their comments. Kerbside collection will be great news environmentally. It is also necessary for the good management of the waste stream and to safeguard the taxpayers investment in the EfW. Kerbside collection and the proposed waste charges are directly linked. Until households and their local authorities accept more financial responsibility for the waste they produce, the expansion of recycling will be frustrated.”

    The closing date for the receipt of written representations by the Department on the Waste Consultation Document is 31st October 2005.

    7th October 2005

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