I can understand the need for people to want to stay put in their house and refurbish or extend as that is a lot cheaper than moving and giving a huge sum to the tax man in the form of Stamp Duty, but something has to be done about the proliferation of skips when this is being done in four or five houses in one street.
Where I live, in a nice suburb of North London, many people who are looking to move would be paying the top rate of stamp duty moving from, say, a three bed house to a four bed house in the same borough so by adding a loft extension or a ground floor/side extension for virtually the same amount of money makes good sense.
My problem with skips comes from six main areas;
- Why, early on a Saturday morning, do skip drivers believe that they need to come and change the skip and blast the neighbourhood with the sound of one empty skip being dropped along with all the chain rattling that ensues, the piercing sound of the reversing warning siren, then the struggle to lift on a full skip and finally shove the new empty skip into place with all the scraping that accompanies that!
- The way that the bracing legs for the skip lorries are mounted on the pavement slabs and crack them as they lift their heavy loads as they can’t be bothered to pack them with wooden blocks to spread the load. This then requires the council to come out and make repairs and you can bet the house owner who hired the skip and the owner of the skip lorry are not made to pay or even contribute!
- The way they think they have a god given right to attempt three/five/seven/nine point turns in a narrow street rather than drive around the block holding up traffic in both directions
- The amount of waste they drop and fail to clear up from skips filled well past the designated fill level leaving the street littered with pieces of brick, lumps of London clay and odd pieces of wood, usually with upstanding nails.
- If someone has a skip that is only partly filled when they go to bed, they are usually surprised when they find the load has surprisingly grown overnight with the addition of the odd living room chair, a mattress or two and some really funky room lights (well I had to get rid of them somewhere, possibly!)
- And the social vultures who descend on any part filled skip at any time, day or night, and pull the whole thing apart noisily in the hope of finding unwanted gold bars or broken lawn mowers for scrap.
So what can we do about each of these moans? “Simples!” to quote my old friend Alexander the Meerkat!
- Set the earliest and latest times that skips can be delivered and collected and let people know the rules so that they can report the driver to the local council!
- Charge houses with obviously broken paving stones the price for replacing them. Even instruct the local traffic wardens who enforce the local parking restrictions to make a note of skips and the damage caused.
- Enforce sensible driving rules and get the police to respond to complaints quicker!
- As in point 2, make the house owner pay for any clearing up and then let him recharge the skip company.
- This is a matter for the skip renter to ensure that his skip does not become the local dumping ground, but fitting a tarpaulin would stop anyone apart from the most persistent dumper!
- Make the whole scavenging industry illegal as it is, in my area, Eastern Europeans in untaxed vans trawling the street and going onto private land or rummaging through skips to grab anything they think might give them some cash!
Anyway rant over for today and I’d like to hear your opinions on skips and maybe builders as they also seem unable to get more than 80% of the waste they generate into the skips!