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Are you 18, love? ...
Are you 18, love?

Edith Heslop, an 83-year-old great grandmother, has dressed as what I understand is called a 'chav' to become the public face of Tameside MBC's campaign against underage drinking.

The council found that over 40% of calls about youth anti-social behaviour concerned alcohol, and the posters urge shopkeepers to check purchasers' ages.

Most are aware of the problem, I find. As readers will recall from LGC's anniversary celebrations last year, I am over 150 years old, yet am continually asked to prove this in off licences.

Rude recycling

Brighton City Council has been given permission by the Advertising Standards Authority to roll with its advertisement for recycling. The ad, which features a man sitting on a toilet holding a strategically placed toilet roll tube, was nearly flushed down the pan following complaints it was offensive. The council argued that the advert was an attempt to boost the city's recycling rates, which is why the man was featured with the caption: 'It's not hard to recycle card'. The watchdog ruled it was unlikely the ad would cause widespread offence.

Campaign for real nappies

Forget cappuccinos and get yourself a 'nappuccino'. At the end of the month is Real Nappy Week, which is a chance for nappy fashion to hit the catwalk. No longer are real nappies just a worthy eco-option, councils are launching campaigns to show off the latest nappy style. At many councils, parents will have the chance to enjoy a nappuccino coffee while getting the low down on the benefits of reusable baby gear.

Who is that Tarzan fellow?

The return of veteran Conservative Lord Heseltine to the local government fray (see this week's front page) brings to mind the occasion when the then environment secretary was pushing the concept of directly elected mayors.

He broached the idea with Birmingham City Council's legendary leader Dick Knowles, suggesting that more people would recognise an elected mayor than a mere leader. Dick retorted: 'If we went for a walk down New Street now people would be asking 'who's that bloke with Dick Knowles?'.'

Bloomin' marvellous

They might be facing a hose ban, but Thanet DC have had a flood of ideas on how to cope.

To add some colour to its seaside areas, they are planning on filling hanging baskets with silk and plastic flowers. In flowerbeds drought-resistant real flowers will be planted. Genius!

Frosty reception

Some council staff work in buildings that look close to collapse, but few surely work in buildings that might melt.

Volunteers in Arlberg, Austria, have helped sculptor Christoph Strolz to carve a replica of its town hall out of snow and ice on the side of a mountain.

It measures 46ft high and 65ft long and will stay until it melts in the spring thaw.

The only service this town hall provides is a wine cellar for passing skiers.

I wonder if Austria is looking to rival the Audit Commission's system of performance indicators?

Seedy sensation

In a plot worthy of Dick Dastardly and Muttley, it would seem the mayor of London's success in banning the feeding of pigeons in Trafalgar Square has been foiled by animal activists who are using a legal loophole. The Pigeon Action Group uncovered the detail of the 2003 by-law to find that it only applied to land within the Greater London Authority's boundaries. Therefore, the north terrace of the Square, which comes under Westminster City Council's control, is perfect feeding ground. Let's just hope avian flu doesn't come south.

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