So Eric Pickles says that paying £250m to have weekly rubbish collections in England is ‘better on grounds of the environment’ (radio news this morning). He supposes that mealy-mouthed ‘incentives’ to recycle will work, while people will have the chance to revert to throwing out more waste again.
Then, we hear, the government is considering raising the speed limit on the motorways to 80 mph, and the only concern raised is that of safety. What about fuel consumption and exhaust emissions? The argument ought to be about lowering the speed limit to 65 mph or even 60.
The most effective way to change people’s habits is through their pockets. Higher fuel prices certainly made me look hard at my car journeys, and restricting council budgets so that they have fortnightly bin collections made me look harder at recycling and waste.
But the Welsh seem to have got it right, if they do go ahead and charge 5p for all plastic supermarket bags. Perhaps the Celtic Fringe Countries can lead the way, and every car crossing from Scotland to England deliberately slow down to 60 mph on the motorways, while displaying a prominent national badge or banner.