Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Newcastle Journal, The Letters Editor

Dear Sir / Madam,

I caught a small piece in the Journal (24.08.05)...Blyth Valley Council are going to start fining people £75 for leaving their bins in the streets.

Perhaps another 'partnership' such as Sunderland City Council's with NCP, we may see the creation of Bin Wardens loitering around street corners ready to issue fines to 'law breakers.'

A feature of this "new politics" which is becoming endemic throughout all sectors of administrative bureaucracy is the brushing aside of annoying legal details in the pursuit of increasing revenue.

Most people do not have the time or the will to challenge the administrative 'Goliath' and the reluctant capitulation breeds anger and resentment.

Why let the law and the people's fundamental rights get in the way?

However, more and more people are starting to say,"Wait a minute, do you actually have the legal authority to do what you are doing?"

The Metric Martyr's Judgment handed down in 2002 stated that certain Acts of Parliament, including the Bill of Rights, are constitutional and can only be repealed with express words.

The legislation upon which Blyth Valley Council are reliant will not have repealed that act. Therefore, "all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures before conviction are illegal and void." In laymans terms, conviction means before a court, not a council official. Therefore, no court, no fine.

This "arrogance of office" is out of control and rapidly losing the respect of the law abiding public who bear the cost. It appears as though government, local and national, is no longer there to serve but to rule, and increasingly in a draconian and financially punitive fashion.

However, there is other legislation in place, and Blyth Valley council should be reminded that if they wish to pursue alleged offenders they should do so through the courts in a proper and orderly manner.

Section 137 of the Highways Act, 1980, states," a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway he is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding £50." Trouble is that Blyth Council know that their binmen would be in trouble and be 'an accessory to the fact,' as it is they who left the bins in the street in the first place!

Yours faithfully,

Neil Herron
12 Frederick Street
SR1 1NA.
0191 565 7143


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Anoneumouse said...

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wonkotsane said...

Kind of related to this ...

The first ever housing estate built in Telford (Sutton Hill) is, understandably, a bit of a layout disaster. It is full of alleyways, windy roads and paths and more than half the houses aren't even next to a road.

A few years ago, Telford & WQreking council introduced wheelie bins to Telford. They have eventually realised that the housing estates, Sutton Hill in particular, just don't mix with wheelie bins. They are nowhere near the road, the pavements are too narrow, etc.

The obvious solution would surely be to go back to proper bin collections from your garden? No. The Telford & Wrekin solution is to build wheelie bin collection compounds and force residents to drag their wheelie bins across the estate to one of the collection points.

Coming on top of a drop to fortnightly collections for rubbish bins (to allow garden rubbish bins to be collected in the intervening week) and an inflation busting rise in council tax year on year, it's a bit of a kick in the teeth. Particularly when you take into account that the estate is a slum and crime is out of control.

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