Attitudes to waste disposal (LGC, 10 August) show a depressing approach: if problems are difficult to tackle either practically or politically, gloss over them and address their outcomes instead.
The majority of the waste in my household is not generated by my lifestyle, but by the way retailers choose to market their products. If a policy of charging separately for domestic waste becomes a reality, we are going to see some interesting squabbles at checkouts as customers jettison unwanted packaging.
Tackle the causes
Your leader (LGC, 10 August) on waste costs is alarming. It seems that despite the recognition of what appears to be insurmountable costs associated with waste disposal and treatment, the emphasis is yet again on dealing with the symptoms not the cause. To suggest increasing revenues to deal with waste disposal is akin to suggesting that if you loosen your belt you have somehow magically dealt with obesity.
We ought to avoid skewing the waste debate to one of simply identifying funding solutions. Obviously, even with current levels of waste production, there is a recognised funding gap. The Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) would support a dialogue about how we can ensure the funding burden is better met, such as actively considering an annual household residual waste allowance.
Chief executive, APSE
Clearing the smoke
David Buckle (LGC letters, 27 July) raises important concerns about the draft regulations recently published by the Department of Health, which appear to give enforcement powers for the smoke-free legislation to counties and not district councils.
Following representations from the Local Government Association and other organisations, the DH have now published a clarification. It says that enforcement authorities should include districts and that in two-tier areas it will generally be the district that does most of the enforcement.
David Rogers OBE (Lib Dem)
Chair, LGA community well-being board
David Curry (LGC, 3 August) ably sets out some of the issues social care continues to grapple with as a result of the policy failure around the payment by results regime in the NHS.
But that is not the whole story. If a council has failed to secure a legal agreement with its strategic health authority on continuing care, that properly sets out when a client should have a service free at the point of delivery from the NHS and when social care should provide services, then it will find itself in deep waters.
If a council provides the former and charges for them, then there is at best a questionable legal basis for the provision of the service and there are certainly grave doubts about their ability to levy a charge.
We must find a way through this, which is why the Our health, our care, our say white paper must be backed up with coherent policies and realistic funding.
Mike Colston (Con)
Cabinet member, adult socialcare, Buckinghamshire CC
Roadshow no sham
On the same day your magazine was published (LGC, 3 August), Chelmsford BC was hosting, with colleagues from Essex CC, one of the nine Lyons Inquiry events that are touring the country.
It was a very interesting day for us and we heard a range of views from the attendees on the role of local government, their thoughts on Chelmsford and issues around council tax. I was therefore disappointed to read the quote from the TaxPayers Alliance about the events being a 'sham'.
The suggestion that attendees have been pre-selected was nonsense. We simply set our communications team the task of advertising the event and seeking volunteers. We invited all those that replied, with just two exceptions, one member of staff and councillor, who it was considered could inadvertently influence the proceedings.
Roy Whitehead (Con)
Leader, Chelmsford BC
John Jowers (Con)
Cabinet member for localism, Essex CC
Local arm of the law
Sussex Police Authority opposed the previous home secretary's merger proposals and we are delighted with John Reid's decision to abandon the idea (LGC, 10 August).
We will now work with our neighbours to build capacity to deal with the most serious forms of crime while retaining links with our local communities.
Dr John Godfrey
Clerk, Sussex Police Authority
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