PLASTIC BAGS BEING RECYCLED IN SOUTHWARK / FORMER COUNCIL OFFICER JAILED /
LEWISHAM CONSULTING ON £10 BLUE BADGE CHARGE
PLASTIC BAGS BEING RECYCLED IN SOUTHWARK
The lifecycle of a bag in Southwark is changing: all plastic bags brought to the Reuse and Recycling Centre (RRC) will now be recycled back into new bags to distribute to Southwark residents.
This new scheme called Bag2Bag is part of a collection service run by Veolia, Southwark council’s waste management provider.
Eight billion plastic bags are disposed of in England every year which poses an environmental challenge. By reusing the plastic material to make new plastic sacks Veolia is closing the loop on precious resources that can be saved.
How it works: Shopping bags are collected at a new recycling point at Southwark’s RRC. Once enough have been collected, they are reprocessed by CeDo, a leading plastics manufacturer, using innovative technology. Here, they are washed and shredded into pellets, which are then blown into bubbles of plastic film to form new bags.
Over the next three months, Southwark residents on the service will start to receive the first set of recycled refuse sacks that have been generated from plastic bags from the borough.
Southwark’s cabinet member for recycling and environment Cllr Darren Merrill said: “Plastic bags are rarely collected by other local authorities so I’m glad to be working with our waste partners, Veolia, to deliver on our commitment to send fewer materials to landfill.”
Fabrice Bouchon, general manager for Veolia in Southwark said: “Plastic bags should be reused as much as possible, although once bags have come to the end of their usefulness, if they are brought to the RRC, they can be recycled to be distributed out to the 9,300 properties on Southwark housing estates that receive refuse sacks due to a lack of space for bins.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
FORMER COUNCIL OFFICER JAILED
A FRAUD PROBE into a Bromley council officer who claimed to be a woman called Stephanie Dole was unmasked after French authorities sent a photo of her showing she was a white Caucasian woman – while the council officer using her name was a black African woman.
The 43-year-old woman was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for housing tax benefit fraud and theft by deception when she appeared at Croydon crown court.
The woman pleaded guilty to theft by deception, namely obtaining a pecuniary advantage between April 2005 and February 2015, when she was employed by Bromley council using a false identity and was paid £178,686.
She also pleaded guilty to four counts of housing benefit fraud against Bromley council totalling £11,432 over various periods between February 2000 and August 2006.
The fraud was identified when officers in Bromley council’s human resources department referred a matter to the fraud department following concerns during a routine check.
The concerns related to an employee’s identity who in 2004 had successfully applied for a job as Stephanie Dole born in Paris and provided a French National identity card and a UK driving licence to support her job application form and her right to work in the UK.
A renewal check was performed in 2014 and the same employee provided a UK passport in the name of another, stating she was born in Nigeria. After failing to provide her birth certificate and full UK driving licence to prove her true identity the employee resigned.
The French Consulate provided a photograph of the real Stephanie Dole, born in Paris that showed she was a white Caucasian female and not the black African employed by Bromley Council. (Source: Bromley council press release)
LEWISHAM CONSULTING ON £10 BLUE BADGE CHARGE
Lewisham council are consulting on a proposal to charge a £10 fee for the issue, renewal and replacement of a Blue Badge.
The disabled person’s Blue Badge scheme allows people with severe walking difficulties, who travel either as drivers or passengers, to park for free in sign-posted on-street parking bays.
It also applies to registered blind people, and drivers with very severe upper limb disabilities who cannot operate parking meters.
Currently there are 6,500 Blue Badges on issue in Lewisham and no fee is charged to applicants for badges.
“Councils are allowed to charge an administration fee of up to £10 for each Blue Badge, but to date, we have not done so” said a Lewisham council spokesperson. “We are charged £4.60 for each badge we issue.
“Blue Badges are not means tested i.e. you do not have to be on a low income to qualify and they are issued for up to three years and reviewed at expiry. “If appropriate, on review, a new badge is issued.
“Since 2010 we have cut more than £100 million from our budget and we need to find further savings of £85m in the next three years. “For this reason we have been undertaking a review of all of our expenditure.
“Consideration was given to maintaining the current scheme, which is free to badge holders. “Unfortunately, this option wasn’t considered to be feasible due to the extensive cuts already taking place within the authority.
“We also thought about introducing an admin fee of £4.60 so that we could at least cover the cost of badge production. “But, over time, this option would not allow us to sustain the service in its current form.
“We now propose to charge a one-off £10 fee for the period for which a Blue Badge is valid, which is usually three years. “Over the three years, this is equivalent to a charge of 0.9p per day.
The charge would be payable for Blue Badges issued to: new applicants; applicants who need to renew (at the end of the three years); and applicants applying for a replacement badge (if a badge is lost or damaged). There would be no charge for unsuccessful applications. (Source: Lewisham council press release.)