Various members of the community would be walking round in a gloom. Developers would be licking their lips and delivering planning applications by the dozen to Ashford Borough Council. And the parish council would be chasing its tail, wondering what the hell to do next – much like the government following the Brexit vote.
I wanted to write something on the blog about the village Yard Sale this weekend. Rather than just announcing the bare details – 17 September between 10 and 2 pm, everyone can take part, just set up outside your home – I decided to complicate matters by trying to discern the government’s waste strategy post-Brexit.
The cunning plan, as far as I can make out, was that the Department of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was going to publish a 25-year environment strategy this autumn. One imagines that when this was first conceived, the authors would have been working on deciding how to meet various environmental targets – as the EU, for all its sins, is very hot on the environment.
But then Brexit and the authors turned to the very different task of working out which environmental targets Britain is going to adhere to and which can be quietly ignored. And, if we’re going to set ourselves any targets, then how are the targets going to be reached and who is going to check up on us that we’ve reached them?
I feel a headache coming on. Does anyone know the answers to these questions? It seems unlikely that they were worked out in advance of the EU debate. And now, as we work out how far out into orbit we are prepared to fling ourselves, these environmental bits and bobs are probably considered ‘the least of our worries’.
So it’s no surprise that DEFRA’s 25-year environmental strategy has been delayed. Supposedly it will be published later in the autumn but one wonders, in the absence of any clear vision as to our relationship with Europe and its legislation, how this will be possible?
And how can any government minister say anything meaningful about anything without understanding the new post-EU world? Maybe that’s why Teresa May has chosen to focus on education (and grammar schools of all things), because everything else might impact on forthcoming negotiations? And it’s probably also why the government’s new waste minister, Therese Coffey has refused thus far to define any waste strategy. She has merely said that we need something with ‘long legs.’
Which perhaps suggests that she has little more than the Wye Yard Sale in mind… sales will take place in a number of locations as dispersed as the village hall, Orchard Drive, Little Chequers and Abbots Walk – see the black dots on the map below. We will, as Therese says, need long legs. And let’s hope it inspires her forthcoming waste strategy.
We do of course need more people to sell – so please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Maps will be printed on Friday and will be available from some of the vendors.