Sunday, February 18, 2007


Went on two walkabouts in the ward recently; the first with officers from highways and members of Ladywell Society to discuss various issues around Ladywell Road, including uneven paving, lack of short-stay parking for visitors to shops, the dreaded railings, need for a crossing at the Ladywell Road end of Algernon Road, CPZs etc. Very useful to speak face to face with officers and show them what residents are concerned about. Officers generally agreed with our concerns that railings had a negative impact on the road, hemmed pedestrians in, were a danger to cyclists and encouraged drivers to go faster, but they can't simply remove them. First they have to find money for a safety audit to look at all highways issues on the road, then do a public consultation on its findings and find money to implement any findings after all that. So don't expect any dramatic changes in the near future, but fingers crossed, and I'll keep you posted.

The second walkabout was with officers from the council's recycling and trade waste team. The purpose was two-fold - to see if we could get any local traders to sign up to recycling and to give them information about the Business Environmental Excellence (BEE) scheme. We found that Ladywell traders, without exception were keen to recycle, but what was holding them back was the cost. In theory it costs the same for recyclables as non-recyclable waste, but in practice it costs more as traders have to get a green wheelie bin and red bags. Even taking into account the fact that they would be using less red trade waste bags, shopkeepers were still looking at a potential extra £40/quarter for a green wheelie bin, which is a lot if you are only just making ends meet, which is the case for many small shops. In addition, many shopkeepers don't have a backyard to store a wheelie bin in.
I think we need to rethink the system so that there is no financial disincentive for businesses to recycle, though I'm not sure what the solution is. Lewisham could make business recycling cheaper and raise the cost of non-recyclable waste, but it has to compete with other commercial waste collectors, such as BIFFA and may lose business if it did this. Another option would be to look into having 2 different coloured bags for recyclable and non-recyclable, and potentially the collection of recyclables from businesses could be combined with collecing the recyclables the street sweepers collect, but extra collection rounds still cost more money and it needs to be self-financing.

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