Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hidden Europe

Count the ways in which your local newspaper is inadequate, and you might sadly conclude that the local media was deservedly a dying industry. And no more so is the breed inadequate than in its abject failure to identify the huge burden imposed upon us by the European Union.

A classic example of this comes with my local rag, the Bradford Telegraph and Argus, which uncritically announces the approval of a hugely expensive waste treatment plant, without the slightest reference to the fact that this colossal expenditure, estimated at £400 million (but bound to rise) is entirely necessary because of the EU waste framework directive.

This is part of the £8 billion or so infrastructure costs attributable entirely to this insane and entirely counter-productive legislation – as evidence increasingly accumulates to show that attempts at recyling end up consuming more energy than they save.

In this case, the intellectually challenged Bradford councillors, aided and abetted by the over-paid and under-skilled strategic director for environment and sport, Ian Bairstow, is opting for an energy from waste facility.

Unfortunately, owing to the highly variable nature of municipal waste, and a relatively low calorific value, these plants never work effectively. In particular, we tend to see – as a matter of course – higher than budgeted repair and maintenance costs, and considerable down time, with much lower productivity than expected.

As a result, not one of the plants so far in operation actually meet their budget targets, invariably costing far more than they should, not least as the owners have to find alternative disposal facilities for when their plant is not operating.

In this case, even the basic costs are eye-watering, amounting to roughly £1,000 for every household in the district, or equivalent to one year's council tax for every taxpayer.

One might have thought such insanity might actually earn a critical note from the local media, but that is not what they are in business for. Largely acting as cheerleaders for the brain-dead, the role of the local press, it seems, is to hoover up local advertising revenue from the council – at our expense – as its reward.