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« Tail wind | Main | Shale fights back? »

Greens blighting communities

There was an interesting report on the Sky website yesterday about recycling firms who are going out of business, leaving piles of festering waste for others to clear up.

More than 60 rotting waste piles are blighting communities in areas including Wiltshire, Kent, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Fife.

The Environment Agency said in 2014-2015 it was dealing with 50 abandoned sites in England, 10 of which contain more than 5,000 tons.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency said it was handling the clearance of another 14 sites of varying sizes.

All follow the same pattern of recycling firms starting-up business on private land then going into liquidation and leaving the waste mounds for landowners or the authorities to clean up at a cost millions of pounds.

Insolvency on that scale looks more like design than accident. When you set this against what we already know about recycling plants - the daily fires and the stories of fraud that already blight the "industry", the sheer scale of the corruption that environmental policy is supporting becomes clear.

It's hard to credit the idea that anyone would think that mandatory recycling was a good idea. But the gentlemen pictured above apparently do.



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Reader Comments (51)

Simple: Green = Fraud.

Every time I hear or see the words "green", "renewable", sustainable", "environmentally friendly" etc. I automatically think "scam".

Feb 10, 2016 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

"It's hard to credit the idea that anyone would think that mandatory recycling was a good idea. But the gentlemen pictured above apparently do. Why?"

It's because they are greenies, who live in a green fantasy bubble and are incapable of thinking things through. They have never heard of the law of unintended consequences. You only have to see what the effect of the landfill tax has had on illegal dumping of waste in the countryside to know they haven't a clue what their policies will lead to. Think of biodiesel, burning of wood chips in coal-fired power stations, the growing of maize to put in anaerobic digesters - the list of mad green policies which lead to the opposite of what was intended is seemingly endless.

Feb 10, 2016 at 9:35 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

It's worse than that. In many cases these companies charge fat fees to local authorities for taking the waste, on the understanding that it will be recycled, but with no intention of actually doing any recycling. They then let it pile up until it conveniently catches fire.
After they have extracted the maximum profit, and before the Environment Agency can finish its procedures to close them down, they take the cash out and disappear into the night. The Greens want so desperately to believe that they allow themselves and us to be fleeced by these criminals over and over again.

Feb 10, 2016 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Looking at the issue dispassionately, there doesn't need to be widespread corruption for widespread business failures to occur.

The point of Green initiatives is that they are Green. They are nice. They are a "Good Thing".
The point of businesses it to generate revenue that can be invested ion the core business or used to buy other goods and services.

It is inevitable that Green initiatives will be challenged when judged against the criteria of normal businesses. And that's what happens to commercial Green initiatives.

Green initiatives should be expected to be managed worse than normal businesses. They aren't there primarily because people think they are a good investment.
They are there because people think they are a Good Thing.

Feb 10, 2016 at 9:54 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Not sure who they are. Are they proprietors of 'recycling' depots?

In which case it is 'good'
They start business.
Get praised by greenies, politicians etc.
Lots of money comes in.
Complaints can't be heard from their new no-extradition residence.

Feb 10, 2016 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Isn't anybody going to stop the gas getting out of the wells around Shetland? We won't be able to burn gas for heating and cooking in homes if domestic fires and cookers are to be banned...will we?

Feb 10, 2016 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Because they are egotists who despise our society, and get a thrill, and an income, out of preaching salvation to the benighted masses? Collateral damage doth not distract them; from starvation due to bio-fuels through to defaced countryside and increased costs due to wind farms, nothing seems to give them pause.

Feb 10, 2016 at 10:04 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I saw first hand in 2001 that the environmental and renewables' industries were a front for our Mafia. It's an extension of property crime; get government to mandate recycling and subsidies when you have established control. The same West Midlands' group who got PFI were involved in renewables.

Here is an article describing German corruption in wind farms:

Feb 10, 2016 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Seems arse about face really. If you actually want to cut back on rubbish why not hit it at its source? Force businesses, especially supermarkets, to slash their packaging! That simple act would remove tons of crap from our environment!

But that's not really the point if recycling is it?!?!?


Feb 10, 2016 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

[Removed at request of author]

Feb 10, 2016 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterNW

Its not green policy.
Its European policy
The county or city council faces bankruptcy given the monetary malice of current extreme usury policies.
It must outsource its duties to private waste collection firms.

The jobs replaced typically pay less.
Less money is spent in the local economy .
You typically observe multiple trucks from different companies rather then the one council truck running the route.
This doubles transport inputs (increasing one of the primary costs)

Typically these guys bankrupt the community before they bankrupt themselves.

Feb 10, 2016 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

You have organisations like WRAP (Waste Resources Action Program) who get £40 million a year (reduced from £65 million) from government to hand out in grants for waste recycling.

Then there are other funds, handing out grants and cheap loans, such as:

Green Investment Bank
Waste Prevention Loan Fund
Mixed Plastics Loan Fund
Anaerobic Digestive Loan Fund
Carbon Trust Venture Capital
Environmental Technologies Fund
The Foresight Group
The Virgin Green Fund
The Bridges Ventures Funds

and many more.

Feb 10, 2016 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Packaging reduction is just another inconvenience to be placed on the public by the greens, like the carrier bag ban, to show how powerful they are. There was never a problem with landfill in the UK, there are plenty of former opencast and quarry sites to be filled up. They didn't used to smell much either, until they stopped putting the cardboard etc. in them.
If raw material prices ever did rise due to scarcity it would become economical to "mine" old landfills for them. As it is forced recycling is an additional cost to society.

On a related subject, has anyone other than Greenpeace and the like produced actual evidence that the supposed "plastic slicks" in the oceans actually exist? I find it suspicious that they are apparently located only in remote parts of the world where nobody goes.

Feb 10, 2016 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterNW

They then let it pile up until it conveniently catches fire.
David S
Did you miss out the quote marks round "catches fire " by any chance?

Feb 10, 2016 at 11:03 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

The move away from landfill was an EU initiative at the behest of (someone correct me if I'm wrong) Denmark and the Netherlands because they were running out of space. The UK isn't and no more is Germany, France, Spain, etc., etc. but being the EU it would have been unfair for us to carry on cheaply filling our holes in the ground while they had to burn the stuff or find some other way of disposing of it.
Enter the Greens who saw an ideal opportunity and never liked the idea of incineration anyway ("all that nasty dioxin!"*). If you suggest that in some instances landfill is the most environmentally friendly means of recycling (the raw materials are damn all use for anything else and you are bringing otherwise useless land back into productive use) they stick their fingers in their ears and start chanting.

* And if you point out that more dioxins are released by the Hogmanay fireworks in Edinburgh than all the incineration plants in Europe in a year they just look at you as if you were mad.

Feb 10, 2016 at 11:19 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Radio 5 show Sep 2013 about waste center fires is still downloadable and has 1m clip Recycling plant fire took over seven weeks to extinguish, toxic smoke Pile was 100m long 30m high

Meanwhile on R4 there was a prog about 15 months ago about how the EA had lost control of policing unlicenced waste dumps. Mafia just ran them , and moved on, before they could be prosecuted.
I can't find it right now ..I think they used a trendy word rather than "waste or recycling or landfill.

Ah ssome prosecutions 'McMafia' crime gangs targeted over illegal waste disposal 12 August 2014
Harra news 2012

Feb 10, 2016 at 11:21 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Jonathan Porrit, Richard Dixon (who he?) Tony Juniper

Feb 10, 2016 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Ah found it Dirty Secrets R4 Sun 16 Nov 2014

The UK generates nearly 300 million tonnes of waste every year. That's rich pickings for criminals who illegally dump what we don't want, damaging the environment and threatening our health. The black market in rubbish is said to be worth a billion pounds. With such huge sums at stake there's concern that organised crime is increasing its grip on the sector. ...

Feb 10, 2016 at 11:39 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Someone Invent burnable plastics PLEASE
.....Here in Indonesia there is is heaps of recycling NOT
No with a super crowded population you find that most rubbish which is thrown in the bins rather than directly into the roadside or river is simply taken round the back and burnt.

...Saw it all time even during the 2 months of haze when schools were often closed.

Feb 10, 2016 at 11:49 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@NW I can explain the islands on plastics .. They do exist but not in the way you think
but I've not got an easy link right now.
The guy who first mentioned it got carried away and talked about being able to walk across them, but you never see any proper photos.
A newspaper article might con you by starting off with a photo of a heap of plastic trapped in a bay.
The actual "islands" (wrong word) are mostly made up of plastic broken down to grains floating below the surface, but in such a low density you can't photo them

Feb 10, 2016 at 11:56 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


Try this one. Has exactly what you describe; photos of heaps of plastic piled on shorelines, and a photo of the real "ocean of plastic" in the Pacific.

Feb 10, 2016 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R

The waste re-cycling business eh?

All these facilities - every last one of them - is controlled and regulated by the bloated and dysfunctional Environment Agency.

Most folk here would subscribe to "correlation is not causation" - but - given that even self employed plumbers have to have a waste transport licence - the morass of restrictive and in many cases purely arbitrary rules applied by too many vindictive and malevolent officials who can remove a waste license (i.e. destroy a livlihood) on a personal whim must surely have played a part in all this.

Anecdotally - the officials seem to resent profitable businesses and heaven help the re-cycling business owner with a new 4x4 (esp Range Rover) - some officials will pile in with the clipboards and apply rules that destroy the viability of the business - there are simply so many and they are regularly deliberately applied in a fashion that directly results in the accumulation of kerrapp.

It would be very interesting indeed to survey the erstwhile owners of all these piles and ask them about the impact of The Environment Agency on the failure of the enterprise.

I'm biased - but - I suspect for every pile of kerrapp one will find another pile of regulatory over-reach, arbitrary inflexilbility, license and permit torture and other less than endearing features of the role of incompetent and many times utterly toxic bureaucracy.

The now sadly defunct insidetheenvironment agency site detailed some of the antics - in 6 years of challenging the EA I have been made aware of many multi-million pound fiascos that have resulted in unclaimed piles of rubbish which have been in large part cleaned up with taxpayer's money - the EA unequivocally drove most of those situations and the operators into crisis.

Steptoe & Son needs a makeover.

Feb 10, 2016 at 12:22 PM | Registered Commentertomo

'...and leaving the waste mounds for landowners or the authorities to clean up...'

How: recycling? How?

Economist's take on recycling.

Feb 10, 2016 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

@Phil R cheers mate that's a link that backs up what I said with photos.

Feb 10, 2016 at 12:41 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I'm told it's Sir Jonathon Porritt, Bt, if you please, but he's a tad bashful about the title; it doesn't fit well with the image, I guess.

Feb 10, 2016 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

So the Great Ocean Garbage Patch is a myth. Wonder who's promulgating that myth? Of course it would be quite easy to take photos of some of those shoreline accumulations in such a way as to exclude the shoreline and make it look at least to the casual observer as if it was mid ocean, and I'm sure I have seen such photos.

The only thing the quoted article misses is that it treats "plastic" as some sort of immutable alien substance rather than something ultimately made from naturally occurring elements which might well be expected to find its way back there by various processes of degradation as indeed seems to be happening.

Feb 10, 2016 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

Also ... if anyone seriously thinks wind companies will waste their money removing those blights on the landscape when that scam comes to an end then they are gullible=green.

Feb 10, 2016 at 1:49 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Mike Jackson: "The move away from landfill was an EU initiative at the behest ..."

Thanks Mike. I've long suspected (known?) that was the case. And it gets worse when we look at Scotland. Because in Scotland because of various mining and quarrying activities, we have huge numbers of holes in the ground - and because of our high rainfall and low population density, we have very few problem with river pollution.

So, the rules against landfill are completely utterly insane in Scotland. It would be a bit like forcing all schoolkids to wear suncream because Italian Kids need it (kids in Scotland suffer rickets from lack of sun).

PS. This same "one shoe fits all" is the reason the Roman empire never got past the Rhine. And it's crazy to think the EU can make one rule fit everyone when the Romans couldn't.

Feb 10, 2016 at 1:57 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Isn't landfill the job of the mafia anyway?
"Two organized-crime families are so worried about running out of landfill space for their waste-hauling companies in the New York area that they are seeking to gain control of valuable dump sites in Pennsylvania, law-enforcement officials say"
"Authorities near Naples have uncovered Europe's biggest known illegal dumpsite in history, spanning the length of 30 soccer fields, with tons of industrial trash feared to be toxic and adding to the region's alarming cancer rate......the dump bears the fingerprints of the Casalesi gang, the most notorious clan of the Camorra mafia.....Details of the Casalesi clan's involvement in the waste racket emerged in 1997, when Camorra turncoat Carmine Schiavone outlined their methods to police, claiming the lucrative practice dated back to at least the 1980s."

Feb 10, 2016 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I investigated the city's recycling (green box, blue box) schemes back when they started and over the years. There has NEVER been a full or consistent "recycling" portion to the programme. The demand for the product - free! - never developed. Periodically all the sorted, bound and stored paper and plastic goes to landfills - outside the city, of course.

The recycling scam is an optic like biomass and electric power is for CO2 reduction. The savings in one spot comes at the loss plus X% somewhere else. But each householder can proudly say he is doing his bit for the planet. And, through his taxes, provide paychecks to other people.

The green industries real success is in revenue redistribution. To the regulators and overseers the programmes require and the operators and grunts the programme employs. They are the First World equivalents of providing full employment in Cuba by having one old guy look after five goats in return for a salary. Socially, not economically, justified. But then we know the left doesn't believe that money or economic activity in general represent energy redistribution, and that there is only a fixed amount of energy available. Debt financing and printing money while everyone looks the other way seem to be part of their "special" physics.

Feb 10, 2016 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Procttor

You've put your finger on one of the main reasons why the EU is dysfunctional when compared with the US, for example?
The idea that what is needed in Scotland is the same as what is needed in Italy or Germany is ludicrous but that is what happens when you have a union that has been artificially created by bureaucrats rather than one that has developed from the bottom up.
No-one believes for one minute that what is suitable, or even practicable, in New Hampshire is identical to what is right for Atlanta or rural Missouri. Which is why you have "states' rights" and an even more amorphous mass of humanity manages to get along a lot better than the Europeans do!.
I'm digressing (apologies) but it's one reason why the EU saddens me rather than annoying me. I think it's a great idea but not as a totalitarian state which is what it's rulers are determined to make it!
If Cameron could negotiate some meaningful attempt at subsidiarity most of the peoples of Europe would canonise him on the spot! And, I suspect, not a few of the politicians as well, if they were honest.

Feb 10, 2016 at 3:12 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

These people would be harmless if elected idiots didn't listen to them. We have only ourselves to blame.

Stop electing idiots.

Feb 10, 2016 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

"Don't vote; it only encourages them!" (Old anarchist proverb)

Feb 10, 2016 at 4:21 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"All follow the same pattern of recycling firms starting-up business on private land then going into liquidation and leaving the waste mounds for landowners or the authorities to clean up at a cost millions of pounds."

By "authorities", they of course mean, "the taxpayer", aka "muggins" aka "The Government ATM".

Feb 10, 2016 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Unfortunately, it's not just the blob that's to blame for this. What with national, devolved and regional recycling targets, the whole damn thing has become a local government willy-waving contest, with councils trying to out-do each other in reaching or exceeding their targets, and no doubt rewarding their recycling managers with ample bonuses for doing so.

In our part of Powys, up until two years ago all rubbish went into black bags and was collected weekly by one man in a pick-up truck. Now we have four different recycling bins that are emptied weekly and a wheely bin that is only emptied every three weeks. BUT, because of their size, the standard recycling and wheely bin lorries can only pick up stuff from properties on the main roads and the Council had to buy special smaller versions to collect from the smaller roads and lanes. All these vehicles have crews of at least two, and the whole exercise is spread over two days, instead one one.

Feb 10, 2016 at 4:32 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Like most here I view recycling with a jaundiced eye. As others have said, the list of greeny delusional ideas forced on us by their ignorant and arrogant hectoring of government grows all the time. BUT it worse than that of course because the UN and EU driven Agenda 21 program means that the "nutters" are actually embedded in the decision making elite.

In all fairness - the main reason that many recycling operations are closing is due to the low price of oil. They just can't sell the stuff for raw material at $30 a barrel.

Feb 10, 2016 at 4:49 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Crooks in the garbage-hauling game? No!

Feb 10, 2016 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

".....Here in Indonesia there is is heaps of recycling NOT
No with a super crowded population you find that most rubbish which is thrown in the bins rather than directly into the roadside or river is simply taken round the back and burnt."

I choked on the smoke a couple of months ago in KL, or was that from another sort burning in Indonesia?

Feb 10, 2016 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

It does seem that some 'Officials' involved in approving these Green Tips, and approving the working methods and grants, ought to be the subject of investigations into the their competency, and if appropriate, their honesty too.

Feb 10, 2016 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

As the great Thomas Sowell pointed out:

"Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good."

Feb 10, 2016 at 7:42 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

It should be easy to bring in a law which states that a waste company should always have a cash reserve large enough to cover the ultimate safe disposal of all waste in their possession.

Penalties for breaking this simple law: 10 years.....

Feb 10, 2016 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Richards

Steve Richards:

"It should be easy to bring in a law which states that a waste company should always have a cash reserve large enough to cover the ultimate safe disposal of all waste in their possession."

Sorry, but you are being naive, it could only work if you scrapped the whole concept of limited liability. The reason that these shysters get to walk away is they are registered as limited liability companies. If they declare themselves insolvent, it is a matter for HMRC and Companies House.

There's nothing that the EA can do to recoup the cleanup costs, except go after the landowner who leased the site to the waste company, and if he/she had any sense, or a good solicitor, they would have registered the land to a limited liability company and thus avoid getting stung either.

Feb 10, 2016 at 9:56 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Mike Jackson 11.03
There was a police investigation of the M1 fire and they concluded that it appeared to be accidental. The way these materials are piled up the risk of spontaneous combustion is so high the proprietors just have to wait - they don't need to risk getting caught for arson.

Feb 10, 2016 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

@Mailman, Feb 10, 2016 at 10:21 AM

Seems arse about face really. If you actually want to cut back on rubbish why not hit it at its source? Force businesses, especially supermarkets, to slash their packaging! That simple act would remove tons of crap from our environment!

But that's not really the point if recycling is it?!?!?

You are wrong in that statement/assumption which is a myth promoted by you know who - the green blob and Phil C

Businesses (inc supermarkets) rarely over package as it increases costs and reduces profits.

Businesses (inc supermarkets) want maximum profits, minimum waste and thus lowest costs to allow lowest prices to consumers to beat their competitors. Excess packaging is an extra cost in purchasing it, transporting it (weight and volume) and storing & displaying it on shelves (item volume). Packaging is designed to be as small and light as possible whilst still protecting the contents (the product) from damage, decay and shrinkage.

Excess packaging does occur in some products as one moves up the "luxury" scale, but that is due to the consumers' demand for the emotional pleasure derived from how it is presented and unwrapped. Christmas presents one gives and receives demonstrate that.

Feb 10, 2016 at 11:02 PM | Registered CommenterPcar

Pcar, 11.02;

Well said, the 'bag tax' has been in force in Wales for several years now. Most supermarkets and retail outlets here keep stacks of boxes that their stock arrived in by the checkouts, and offer you the choice using them instead of paying for a bag.

Feb 10, 2016 at 11:42 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

No wrong @NW about "So the Great Ocean Garbage Patch is a myth."
There are geuinely large concentrated patches of tiny plastic granules in the ocean which MAY interfere with normal marine life in a way that ingesting granules of sand etc. don't
..but it's just it's a more complex picture than the media paint.

Feb 11, 2016 at 4:21 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@Steve Richards, @Salopian "Restoration Bonds" you mean
UK Law requires mine owners to have them
This law in the past has sometimes been badly managed/implemented but seems mostly OK now.

@jamesp yes good Sowell quote ..more

Feb 11, 2016 at 6:04 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Land fill tax at current rate is £82.60 per tonne. Plenty of margin to make a few pounds on running a dumping scam.

Feb 11, 2016 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert


in Wiltshire - much of that landfill tax religious indulgence is handed over to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust - a "charity" directly funded from public funds... who have links to the local millenarian eco loon "great & good" - what's not to like?

Feb 11, 2016 at 2:08 PM | Registered Commentertomo

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