Thursday, 11 September 2014

Bury Petition! What Petition?

LAST night's Bury MBC full Council meeting turned out to be a bit of a damp squib when Daniel Barkness from Radcliffe, who was supposed to present an on-line petition of more than 2,500 signatures opposing the local authorities decision to reduce grey bin collections from every fortnight to every three weeks, failed to turn up.  Staff at Bury Town Hall were slightly upset at the non-appearance of anyone to present or argue the case for the petition, as the authorities had brought in extra security support to police the event.
Had Mr. Barkness or anyone else supporting the petition put in an appearance, the Leader of the Council would have been forced to respond, and that would have opened up a debate amongst councillors as to the wisdom of the Labour administration's proposed change.  While it was certain, given the Labour Party majority on Bury Council, that the measure would have been voted through by not showing up the campaigners against the change to three weekly collections of non-recyclable waste in grey bins let the Council bosses off the hook.
Had the case against the three weekly collections been put the Council members would have had the following options:
i)     To recommend to Cabinet that the request made in the petition be agreed to;
ii)    To not to agree to the request made in the petition;
iii)   To refer the matter to the Cabinet for further consideration;
iv)   To commission further investigation into the matter by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

What must strike readers here is the impressive way in which an on-line petition can accumulate names in the thousands against a proposal like Bury Council's absurd 'zero waste' policy, but if this virtual world of electronic media can't turn up in person to finish the job the whole project becomes a damp squib.  Nobody expected a repeat of the Arab Spring at last night's full council meeting in Bury, but we did anticipate some reasoned arguments and debate on the issues.

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