Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Great Xmas Tree Flytipping Debate

My favourite Top Tory and I have been having a bit of a January ding-dong today about the issue I’ve seen a lot of you complaining about, namely the mass dumping of Christmas trees in the streets which seems to have affected almost everywhere in the Bush for around a week or more.

One reader, who drives the 148 bus for a living, even remarked that he’d had to stop the bus repeatedly to drag trees out of the way on the Goldhawk Road. Apart from causing traffic hazards as they roll into the roads from my point of view it’s just people being pretty lazy.

But Cllr Greg Smith, who is a contender for the leadershipof H&F Council in the wake of Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh’sresignation, took umbrage – and in fairness to him he has a perfectly valid point of view as well. Which is that the Council’s own Xmas tree pick-up service, which is presumably why so many trees are left in the streets, is a welcome service that is appreciated by local people.

To be honest, in the league of major issues, this is QPR-like near the bottom of the table, but I thought it was worth playing Devil’s Advocate for a bit and you can see the exchanges above left. At one point, Cllr Smith, got a bit snappy and said he’d remember my “feedback” next year as he implied darkly that the service may be withdrawn as a result. Two things to say about that – 1) I’m just some bloke with a blog so I hardly think that would be fair on everyone else and 2) I really do think that if people can’t take a bit of responsibility and dispose of their trees themselves is it really something that local taxpayers should be funding – instead of, say, other services for children?

Open question – and one to mull over as you finish off those mince pies. Happy New Year!

courtesy of Jonathan Werran
Monday UPDATE - Meanwhile, reader Jonathan Werran has sent in this image of a bunch of trees left out on Milson Road- it's a forest out there!


  1. I think that there are two very important, yet very different, aspects to this discussion.

    The first is the need for the Christmas Tree collection service. If you don't have a car (like most in the borough probably do not) then there's no way you can dispose of the tree "yourself". You might argue that if people can get a tree home then they can get it to the nearest waste disposal facility, however there are a lot more local places to buy trees (florists, markets, green grocers, etc) than there are to get rid of them. I do think it's an important service, and if you're going to start suggesting that taxpayers shouldn't be funding it then you may as well suggest that they shouldn't be funding the collection of easter egg wrappers either - after all, they're much, much smaller and can be recycled at many local recycling points.

    The second argument, the one I agree with, is with regards to those who have put their trees out for collection early. The council advises of a date for collection. I've seen so many people trumpeting the dismantling of their tree on boxing day, and find it quite absurd. Take it down on the 4th or 5th (when you're supposed to take it down) and then get rid of it... Simples.

  2. I've just thought of one additional point:

    I'd rather that council resources were used catching actual, large-scale, thoroughly malicious fly-tippers than do what the jobsworths at Westminster Council do which is to send someone around the streets to stick stickers on bin-bags informing their long-gone depositors that they've been "Left out on the wrong day".

  3. "But Cllr Greg Hands, who is a contender for the leadershipof H&F Council in the wake of Council Leader"

    Cllr Greg Hands? sounds like you are the one recycling!

  4. Looks like the trees in your Monday update have been gathered together by a binman on-foot ready for convenient collection. Sensible... means less stopping and holding up traffic. They used to send someone around to do that a lot where I live (back in the days of black bags - in fact, I think it was done by the bin man who would deliver your weekly share of free binbags).

  5. The council service I was most disappointed to lose was the garden waste collection. All the stuff from my (tiny) garden now gets put in black bags, presumably heading for landfill. What a waste.

  6. Bottom line is I am unable to get rid of a tree "myself" due to lack of car vs very heavy Christmas tree. Failure to provide this service in a densely populated area such as this will inevitably lead to mass fly tipping. So the question is, should the council be proactive to this very predictable mass dumpage or do we all want to find ourselves in streets lined with an interesting assortment of dead Christmas trees. I know which option I would go for.

  7. ...or you could be really wild and use a plastic one that gets packed away and recycled every year. That's the option I go for. Crazy, I know.

  8. Guess it's all a question of taste, or not?