For the forthcoming election Salvo requested people to ask their parliamentary candidates about their policies on reuse. We also asked dealers for their opinions on who to vote for.
Two people asked the following question of Lib Dem, Labour, Green and Conservative parliamentary candidates in the Westminster North and Canterbury constituencies:
Please tell me your views or your party's policies on encouraging the reuse of building materials. There has been much emphasis on recycling but reuse would both reduce the increasing amounts sent to landfill and help reduce global warming. Reuse of an old brick for example would mean saving the energy needed to make a new one in its place. The cost saving in monetary terms and to the environment should make it a policy priority for any future government. Every year we continue to throw away huge amounts of reusable building materials - just look in any skip! Looking forward to hearing your comments.
No Green party candidate replied.
The following replies were received from Westminster's Lib Dem, Tory and Labour parliamentary candidates, and from Canterbury's Labour and Tory candidate, which includes an interesting link to a speech about reuse given by the Tories in January 2010.
Reply from Lib Dem candidate (Westminster)
It was extremely informative to learn some of the realities of the brick trade and as someone who loves the idea of re-use and reclamation (we did our house up when we moved into Westminster a few years ago and used as many reclaimed materials as possible) I was fairly horrifed. If elected I promise to look into the situation further and do what I can do address the senseless waste.
Reply from Tory candidate (Westminster)
As you rightly point out, Britain is struggling to cope with mountains of waste. We will introduce a new approach, one which minimises waste and promotes recycling. A Conservative government will introduce a Responsibility Deal on waste which is a voluntary arrangement among producers to cut back on the production of waste and improve its disposal. We will also put a floor under landfill tax until 2020 to give businesses long term certainty to invest in new forms of waste disposal and we will encourage councils to adopt a scheme which gives incentives to families that recycle. It is hoped these two measures will mean it will make economic sense for businesses to reuse building waste. The environment is central to the modern Conservative Party's agenda and Joanne also recognises its importance.
Reply from Tory candidate (Canterbury)
Thank you for your email which was forwarded by the Conservative Association office asking about my views on recycling. As a keen recycler, and once the Parliamentary advisor to the BSMA (British Secondary Metals Association, now BMRA) I share your concern about the amount of building materials sent to landfill. Small businesses who find it difficult to pay for a waste licence tend to be better at conserving materials – or selling them on through specialist recyclers/reclamation companies. You will not find much copper, re-sellable metals or reclaimable bricks, for example, on waste sites, as the builders concerned appreciate their second hand value. Old bricks, like Kent Reds or traditional London stocks, are currently double the price of new ones, which encourages recycling. I do believe that we could do more, however, to reuse materials such as timber and modern bricks. Part of the problem with reclaiming bricks is that modern mortar clings to them so they tend to break up when removed, as the bricks are softer than the mortar. The bricks are therefore only really suitable for hardcore. My colleague, Nick Herbert, has spoken about this issue, and his speech is on the Conservative website: Nick Herbert's speech
Reply from Labour candidate (Westminster)
Re-use and recycling is a very important issue, and there is no reason, subject to basic safety considerations, why this should not include building materials. Britain is subject to a Landfill reduction tax liability if targets for cutting the use of landfill, so there are powerful incentives to cut these methods of disposal already. There is a growing network of both advice and information about recycling (The Association for Environmentally Conscious Building is one) and reclamation centres being set up. Much of the responsibility for driving this agenda lies at the level of local government, which in turn has incentives built in through something called 'Local area agreements', in which local councils agree improvements with central government in exchange for financial support. There should, for example, be a way of recycling materials left as a result of home improvements and small building projects, without this having to place too much responsibility on the individual. I hope that this is helpful.
Reply from Labour candidate (Canterbury)
This is an excellent point. When I was talking to some building companies recently they made me aware that the new standards for heat retention etc made reuse of some materials not possible but argued like you that for some carbon neutral materials it was more a matter of recycling so that the materials were available in the right places. They must also be acceptable to home buyers. This last point is in regard to new owners wanting the brick in their houses to match etc. so i guess the emphasis must be on repairs rather than new builds.
The comments below were from people in the architectural salvage trade.
Comment from a dealer (The Cotswold constituency)
I fear writing anything without considerable editing for fear of slander, libel, blairphemy (denigration of TB and his wife, Jaws - I wouldn't mind a butchers at their expenses, don't suppose they're available under the f.o.i. act?). As for another dose of Brown. No way. He got us into this mess as chancellor with the expansion of credit and lack of bank regulation. Go ahead lads, lend as much as you like to whoever you like. Can only be good for the country 'cos the more they spend the more they pay in taxes and while we're at it, sell 'em more insurance, I'll tax 'em 5% on that as well. Then with all this extra tax revenue I'll spend more on employing civl servants and quangos and keep unemployment low 'cos everyone I employ will have to pay tax and so I'll get even more tax to waste er sorry spend until one day we all disappear up our own a********. Oh damn, too late, it looks as though we have done. If the worst happens and Gordon gets back in (no, no it's not possible, surely?) then you can bet that brown noser, twice disgraced Mandelson will be the unelected PM of this country within the year. At that point I leave. Not that I'm a great Thatcher lover either. Her vision of everyone enjoying more leisure and full employment being in the financial and
service sector was idiotic.OK she walloped the unions but that was about it. A country has to have manufacturing. You have to add real value. Take a bit of metal for 1p, bash it into a widget and flog it for 5p. That's the way forward. Thatcher did for manufacturing and look at us now. All those small businesses gone. Everything made in China. Financial services are based on fresh air well actually foul air. Banks talk about their products. Their products!!! A product is a widget not an effing insurance policy you don't need. Ted Heath was a traitor. Nuff said. And how did Callaghan get all those farms and Neil Kinnock and family all those unelected jobs in the EU. Jobs for the boys. Behind every failed politician is a nagging greedy spouse/partner what have you. And ploliticians look after their own. There's some recent story about a former civil servant chief responsible
for helicopter procurement now being ceo of an overseas helicopter mfr who has just got the contract for our new machines. Funny? Is that a bad smell in the State of Denmark (read Westminster). They're all at it - pigs with snouts in troughs. Looking after their own. And as for local councils paying their chief execs, thousands a week. What do they know about anything. It's easy spending the dosh, it's making it that's difficult. A council doesn't have to work hard to make any money.It is given it and still the tossers make a balls of spending it, always asking for more. Live within your means, I say. Wish I could, I also say! When they talk of cuts, they always slash the sharp end - the road diggers, the nurses, the firemen it's never the chiefs or the office wallahs. Oh no. One glimmer of hope is that they've taxed evryone so much know that any further attempts will result in declining revenues. A couple of garage mates are already reporting lower sales of fuel. But that won't put 'em off. They are so thick and stupid they won't notice that all the tax payers have left until it's too late. We pay more and we get less.
P.S. I actually think we need people like the The Taxpayer's Alliance to open our eyes to the theft that is going on.
Comment from a dealer (Stratford-on-Avon constituency)
I do not have time to think about all this, but I agree with much of what the dealer above (The Cotswolds) wrote. Grocer Heath was guilty of High Treason and should have been hanged but chose burial at sea when he died naturally; am sure this was to frustrate people like me who wished to dance on the wretch's grave. So much control and sovereignty has been given to the anti-democratic E.U. that the U.K. Independence Party offers the only hope: get out of it before their police state takes over completely! If UKIP continues to make progress, the other parties will have to offer a genuine referendum at some point. God speed that day!
Comment from a dealer (Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency)
Nick Griffin reuses reclaimed bricks. Vote BNP
How should I vote? - a decision tree to help you decide. Surprisingly this worked for two people I know!
Daily Telegraph : How Should I Vote?