Over at the Blackburn Citizen, yet another depressing story about the overbearing health and safety state.
A hairdresser called Jeff Stone has taken home the cut hair from his salon for 40 years, to use on his compost heap. The council has now said that this is against the law, because it is “trade waste”. He and other shop-keepers have been forced to pay the council £100 for trade waste sacks to be collected from his shop to comply with recycling guidelines, with the bags going into landfill rather than being used in the sensibly and environmentally useful disposal he has used for so long.
A Blackburn council spokesman said Mr Stone had been acting illegally because businesses had a legal duty to ensure their waste was not harming the environment:
“They cannot simply take it home, no matter what it is.”
Well, it's clearly not hurting the environment, but this is a Council determined not to let common sense get in the way. Moreover, listen to the sense of self-importance in that statement. Listen to the smug security of someone totally sure of his "right" to tell other people how to live, notwithstanding longstanding and entirely harmless precedent, notwithstanding quite how ridiculous the Council's demands. How did we let ourselves get into this kind of situation, in which people like this unnamed council spokesman not only think that their Council has this sort of power, whatever the (non)sense of the Council's position in a given situation, but in which said highhanded Council actually does have it?
In summary, in stopping this chap from taking the hair home and instead forcing him to pay to have it go into landfill, the council are forcing a change from something streamlined, free and useful to something bureaucratic, costly and useless. This is a typical jobsworthy absurdity, with the bureaucrats intruding where there's absolutely no need for them, and a typical bit of council revenue-raising via cod-environmentalism which actually harms the environment.
Whilst having to confess that I'm surprised that this works as compost, I think the council ought to leave this poor chap alone. It's not as if "trade waste" is a magic term with an absolute meaning. It's not spent nuclear fuel rods, it's hair, for the love of Pete…!
By Alex Deane