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Opinion: Flytipping, buses, and an Oscar nomination too





Fly-tipping – it’s a blight on our countryside and is utterly unnecessary.

Frankly, I have never understood how someone can take the time and trouble to load an old mattress onto the back of a vehicle to then dump it somewhere in a ditch.

The hard work has surely been done, the loading it up ready to be taken away – so why not go that extra mile to the tip with it?

Flytipping is a blight on our countryside but without a rethink on waste disposal, it is like to remain that way. Picture: iStock
Flytipping is a blight on our countryside but without a rethink on waste disposal, it is like to remain that way. Picture: iStock

The unsightly and environmentally unfriendly act of flytipping has once again been in the news thanks to three Fenland people finding themselves being landed with a fine for using unscrupulous people to dispose of their rubbish.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. It’s only right that people who blight our countryside face some kind of penalty.

But personally, I think there needs to be a rethink in the way our waste recycling sites – or as we all call them tips – are operated.

Ryan Gosling as Ken and Margot Robbie as Barbie in Barbie – he has been nominated for an Oscar. Picture: Warner Bros Pictures
Ryan Gosling as Ken and Margot Robbie as Barbie in Barbie – he has been nominated for an Oscar. Picture: Warner Bros Pictures

Those poor people fined because their rubbish ended up dumped in a ditch rather than at the tip tried to do the right thing.

They paid someone to take their rubbish away. Those operators then let them down by just tipping it out down the nearest quiet lane.

Why? Probably because of the costs of having to get a licence to take stuff to the tip added to the hoops that the process requires people to jump through to become legitimate.

Surely it would be far simpler for the tips to be open to accept all unwanted household rubbish no matter who brings it to the site.

It has got to be cheaper than trying to police the countryside, spending valuable man-hours trying to track down the flytipping culprits, and taking legal action.

I know we should all be trying to cut our waste and to think more about the environment, but if there is a lot of red tape making that harder for people then maybe it is time for a shake-up?

There can’t be too much profit in waste disposal for those who offer the service, licences and charges cut the margin still further.

If we want our countryside to remain free from flytipping then make it easier for people to do the right thing, not harder – I bet when the cost of issuing those three people with fixed penalty notices was worked out there was little leftover – so the fines are not actually that worthwhile from the council’s point of view either...

An evening of ironing was once a chore that faced every household at least once a week.

I know I used to hate the thought of spending Sunday evening with an iron in my hand and a pile of clean clothes waiting to be pressed.

I do still iron – but honestly it is nowhere near as frequently as once a week. I tend to do it now as and when it’s needed.

And more and more of my clothes are folded straight from the line and into a drawer or hung up.

Why am I disclosing my ironing habits? Simple new consumer research shows that a third of 18 to 34-year-olds not only don’t iron their clothes, they don’t even own the appliance to do it.

By contrast the vast majority of those of us aged over 45 not only still own an iron we are also wielding it regularly.

The decline in the ironing ritual is partly due to more non-iron fabrics being used in our clothing, and partly thanks to the pandemic, which has led to people working from home more often in jogging bottoms – and no one wants to iron those.

So it would appear the demise of the iron and its accompanying ironing board is firmly on the horizon – and quite frankly it’s not a moment too soon – now if only all household chores could become obsolete that would be bliss.

Bus firms in our area have joined forces with the aim of providing more joined-up services for rural areas in particular.

Fabulous, this is something I have been saying for ages. It’s all very well cutting fares in a bid to get more people to let the bus take the strain.

But without a reliable, regular service it is never going to work.

The bus companies involved have pledged to do their bit – provide a bus and a driver at the time they say they will and ensure buses run on time as far as they can.

However, they have pointed out that with the best will in the world if there are road works causing traffic jams, or an accident blocking the road that is not always as simple as it sounds.

Our roads are far from great, Fenland only has one small stretch of dual carriageway which means there is often congestion. So while the road network is archaic and suitable for an age when only the privileged owned a car, the chances of buses being wholly reliable have got to be slim.

They want to see more investment in our roads and a more joined-up approach to roadworks – I mean how often do we see roads closed in all directions making travel difficult at best?

Having said that having our bus operators working together to provide services that better connect has got to be a brilliant first step towards buses that deliver what passengers need – an easy, safe, inexpensive and efficient way of travelling…

Finally, the Oscar nominations have been announced and it is wonderful to see Ryan Gosling being named among them for his portrayal of Ken in the Barbie movie – he was quite frankly a revelation.

But there is an irony that he has been chosen for glory ahead of his co-star Margot Robbie – Barbie herself – and the film’s director Greta Gerwig.

If you have not seen Barbie – and I recommend you do – then it cleverly outlines the prejudice and obstacles that women face every day of their lives living in a patriarchal society.

The film is littered with fantastic performances from a glittering cast of women, including Margot Robbie, but the Film Academy chooses to recognise the leading man – it kind of highlights the point the film was making don’t you think?...



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