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Diary

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A round up of funny or bizzarre going-ons in the world of local government.

Wasted effort

Britain is swamped by a rising tide of rubbish and only councils can save the country from eco disaster.

But you do sometimes wonder if the powers that be favour catastrophe. The right-wing press has savaged pay-as-you-throw bin taxes while prime minister Gordon Brown has dithered over whether councils’ pilots should go ahead.

So when Copeland BC seized the initiative by fining resident Gareth Corkhill from Whitehaven who filled his bin so much the lid didn’t shut, it could probably predict the reaction.

While it might have anticipated the media whipping, it probably hadn’t reckoned on Shropshire company Wastepact presenting the ‘bin martyr’ with a domestic waste compactor so he can cram even more in his bin.

It is unfortunate landfill tax is based on tonnage of waste rather than volume.

Honour among police

The Metropolitan police’s director of human resources gave an inspiring talk to the annual gathering of the Public Sector People Managers’ Association in Brighton earlier this month.

But given the line of work of his employers, Martin Tiplady could probably have been wiser in his choice of words on the topic of where thousands of extra officers would be found to help police the 2012 games.

“We can’t afford to permanently expand to the level the Olympics will require we need to beg, borrow or steal,” he explained.

The last time we looked, theft was still an arrestable offence

Ron’s return

He’s back. Ex-Cabinet minister Ron Davies’s career appeared to be over five years ago after he quit the Welsh Assembly following a ‘badger spotting excursion’ to a South Wales beauty spot.

But the Western Mail reports that Tony Blair’s first Welsh secretary is back in the cabinet, Caerphilly CBC’s cabinet that is, following his election as an independent councillor a fortnight ago.

Perhaps Caerphilly could tap Cllr Davies’s long-standing interest in outdoor recreation by giving him oversight of parks and gardens.

Spelling it out

Planners at Mendip DC have found themselves on the receiving end of some decidedly chippy language from a local architect.

In fact, John Jessop has become something of a cult hero for his withering answers on a design access statement he was required to fill in to build a storage shed on a small farm.

“The use is compatible with a farm because it is a farm building,” was just one of the sarcastic remarks. Mr Jessop’s reply to the ‘access’ section reads: “There is an airport at Bristol which can be accessed by driving your tractor along the road.”

A Mendip spokesman said Mr Jessop’s application had been approved as it “covered all the relevant criteria”.

Charged pieces of silver

More sterling work from planners, this time in Surrey where a fireman is facing prosecution for flying a skull-and-crossbones flag outside his home.

David Waterman, 41, put up the flag for his daughter’s pirate-themed birthday party. But any flag hoisted outside a residential property other than a national flag requires planning permission.

Mr Waterman is paying£95 to apply for permission to keep flying the£5 flag.

A spokesman for Mole Valley DC said: “We received a complaint and are duty-bound to investigate.”

Stafford BC caused a media storm last year by banning the hanging of the Jolly Roger at a six-year-old’s birthday bash.

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