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Archive for August, 2014

Dealing with Waste Wood

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wood wasteHandling the waste left behind when a tree has to be cut down can be one of the most difficult rubbish removals tasks, simply because of the large amount of material that needs to be broken down and moved. Commercial forestry and wood processing businesses have to cope with even larger amounts of waste material, which all needs to go somewhere.

A new wood-burning power plant will soon be providing a new destination for this wood waste in Bedfordshire. The Twinwoods plant in Thurleigh should be up and running in 2015, after several years of delays since the initial plans to open in 2011 fell through. The plant will take in about 40,000 tonnes of wood waste every year, helping to reduce the amount of waste that has to be sent to landfill.

The need for facilities like this to handle waste wood will be clear to anyone who has had to deal with the remains of a felled or fallen tree in their own garden. Even relatively small trees can produce a lot of waste that needs to be removed. You might be able to keep leaves and smaller cuttings to compost at home, or even save a section of the tree to set up as a habitat for invertebrates if you are creating a nature garden. If you have a wood burning stove or fireplace, you might want to dry out some of the logs and keep them for your fire, but you will probably still have some material left over for the council garden waste collection or rubbish removals team. Getting rid of a whole trees-worth of wood and branches is a big job, so you are probably going to need some professional help. You might need to hire a gardener or tree surgeon to help cut down any stumps or branches that are still standing, and to break up the fallen remains of the tree. You can also use a rubbish removals service to get rid of the tree waste, rather than having to load it into a skip or take it to the local tip for yourself.


The Future of House Prices

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House Price RiseHouse prices seem high enough today to anyone who is in the middle of applying for mortgages or planning removals, but if the current rising trend continues, future generations of property buyers could be paying millions for their first homes.

The value of the average home has increased annual by 8.6% over the last 60 years. Anyone who has lived through this rise will have seen homeownership become increasingly hard to afford for their children and grandchildren. Some of those who made their first removals into their own homes decades ago may even have had to help out some of their younger family members by contributing to their deposits. Many young first time buyers today depend on financial assistance from their parents in order to get onto the property ladder.

A similar pattern could play out over the coming decades, if house prices continue to rise in the same way. According to the internet estate agency eMoov, future generations of first time buyers are likely to be paying millions for their first homes. It is therefore likely that young buyers in the future are likely to continue needing support from their families before they can start planning removals into their own homes for the first time.

If prices continue rising at a similar rate, a child who is born today could be expected to pay over £3.3 million for their first home. This is the price that the average family home, currently worth about £200,000, will have reached by the time that a baby born in 2014 will be planning to buy at age 35. Older children, who might be buying a little sooner, will also be facing much higher property prices than their parents. A ten year old might need to come up with £1.6 million for their first property purchase.

Looking at property price changes over the course of decades, rather than months or years, shows how much more each generation of buyers has to pay for their homes than their parents and grandparents. In just a few decades, if house prices continue to rise as they have done in the past, young buyers could be trying to find deposits that are higher than the total cost of their childhood homes.


More Homes on the Market

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Homes on the marketMore people could be planning removals in the second half of the year as the number of properties on the market appears to be rising. With more properties up for sale, there will be less competition between buyers, making it much easier for families to find their new homes. Many people who have endured long searches could soon be arranging removals rather than scrolling through the property listings yet again.

The number of properties that were on the market rose by about 7% in July, creating plenty of new opportunities for buyers. The rise is likely to be at least in part due to homeowners whose properties have now risen in value deciding that now is a good time to sell. The effect was particularly strong in the capital, but other regions have also experienced a strong increase in the number of properties on the market.

The impact of this growth in the number of houses on the market will be particularly beneficial for buyers because it has coincided with a decline in the number of people looking for properties to buy. At the same time as the number of available properties was rising, the number of people registered with estate agents as potential buyers dropped by 3%. With more opportunities to buy and less competition for these properties, buyers could be enjoying an easier time in the next few months.

The current situation is a complete reversal of the first part of the year, when the market was strongly favouring sellers over buyers. The demand for property was increasing much more quickly than the supply of new properties onto the market, creating tough competition for those houses that were for sale. Many buyers found it difficult to get their offers accepted as prices were driven up by the competition. Since demand is now dropping at the same time as more houses are being put onto the market, completing a purchase could become easier for buyers. However, competition for properties remains strong in many parts of the country, so some buyers will still find it a struggle to overcome the competition and finally be able to arrange their removals.


Bags, Boxes and Bins: Where Do You Put Your Waste?

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pink-sackThe saga of the pink sacks over recent months in Milton Keynes has led to long newspaper columns and serious council debates, as people travelled miles to grab as many bags as they could from the free distribution points that supplement regular delivery of the pink recycling bags to homes in the area. The apparent shortage has been resolved, but even when the rubbish removals system is functioning perfectly, working out what to do with our waste can still be problematic. Different councils have different systems for recycling and rubbish removals, and sorting waste according to these systems can be a lot of hard work.

You can make life easier for yourself by coming up with a good system for handling rubbish removals in your home. Sorting the waste as you throw it out makes life much easier than organizing it all the night before collection. You can sort it directly into the bins or boxes provided by the council, but it can be easier to have a set of small tubs, containers or bins in the house so you don’t have to go outside every time you throw something out. When your interior containers are full, or the collection is expected, you can transfer the waste to the official box, bag or bin. Many furniture stores provide storage solutions such as boxes and plastic drawers that can be particularly need for storing your waste, but any box will do. If you have restricted space, you could use plastic bags instead. Just hang them up on a series of pegs in a convenient corner or cupboard.

Keep your containers colour coded to make sorting easier, and add labels if you need an extra reminder of what can be recycled in each. Include examples such as “milk bottles” or “brown envelopes” if “plastic” or “paper” is too ambiguous. You can check exactly what is recycled in your area on your council website. It will take a little effort to set this up, but once it’s done, sorting your waste will be much easier.

The trouble involved in sorting your everyday waste only highlights the problems involved with house clearances and other large projects. If you have a big pile of waste that needs to be disposed of, the thought of sorting it all out into different piles to be disposed of in different ways can be enough to put you off altogether. Good organization and plenty of motivation can help you to overcome this hurdle, but sometimes it is better to call in the professionals and get a rubbish removals service to sort your waste for you.


Hertfordshire Waste Consultation Sparks Opposition

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recycling centreThe consultation that is currently taking place to determine how savings will be made on future waste disposal and rubbish removals services in Hertfordshire has generated some strident opposition among local residents.

The council has been asking for comments on its plans to reduce the opening hours of many waste disposal sites across the county, and to close the recycling centre in Elstree completely. The changes have been proposed in order to reduce the amount that is being spent on waste disposal in the county. A new company, AmeyCespa will be taking on the council’s rubbish removals operations at local disposal sites in October, and the changes are planned to take place under the new management.

The main opposition to the proposed changes comes from those who feel that it would be a make to close down the disposal site at Elstree. Nearly 1300 people have so far signed a petition against the closure of the site. The petition was set up by two local councillors, Morris Bright and Harvey Cohen, who believe that other options need to be considered. Closing the site could save the council about £160,000 a year, but it might still be possible to make significant savings by cutting the opening hours for the site, as has been suggested for other disposal centres in the county. Keeping the site open might help to encourage people who would be put off by the longer travelling times to reach other centres to continue recycling rather than simply giving up and adding their recyclable waste to their bins.

Concerns have also been raised about the impact that the closure and reduced opening hours could have on flytipping in the county. Ensuring that people have easy access to the right rubbish removals and recycling services is essential if we are going to protect the environment. Rubbish removals services that pick up waste can help people to cope with long distances or shorter opening hours, but we still need to make disposal sites accessible to people.

According to local Councillor Terry Douris, the council’s waste management team are open to hearing what local people have to say about the proposed changed. The Councillor assured the Watford Observer that the council was very aware of the opposition to the proposed closure of Elstree recycling centre, and that no decisions had been made yet. Refinements could be made to the proposed plans once the consultation period has been completed.


Not Just Watching the Grass Grow

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Garden ClippingsThe work that we put into our gardens throughout the year really pays off when we get a summer that gives us long, warm evenings and sunny weekends on which to enjoy the spaces we have created, but anyone who enjoys gardening will know that there are still plenty of jobs to do at this time of year.

One of the main tasks that we need to keep on top of if we want to keep our gardens tidy is looking after the lawn. It often seems that the grass is in constant need of cutting at this time of year since it is growing so fast. Some gardeners mow once of twice a week to keep their grass short and tidy, but if you prefer a longer lawn, you can leave it for a few weeks. Run the mower across the grass in slightly overlapping lines, aiming to cut off no more than a third of the height of the grass, before mowing around the edges again and tidying them with an edge cutter if necessary.

If you have very short clippings from a lawn that is cut frequently or from a mower with a mulching function, you can leave them in place during dry weather as they will break down quickly and nourish the roots, but longer grass cuttings or clumps of wet grass should be removed. You should also get rid of the mown grass if you have seen signs of any pests, weeds or diseases, as the cuttings might help them to spread.

Many councils provide green waste collection services, but you can also hire rubbish removals vans to come and pick up your grass cuttings and other garden waste, or compost your clippings at home. If you are using a rubbish removals service, it will also provide a good way to get rid of other cuttings and rubbish from the garden. This is often the time of year when it is most pleasant to be outdoors, so we find beds that need weeding, unwanted plants to pull out, or come up with big plans for new planting schemes or garden features that we want to implement immediately, creating armfuls of extra garden waste to send away with the rubbish removals team.


Property Prices Rise Again, At Lowest Rate Since 2013

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Property prices increased Property prices increased by just 0.1% over the course of the last month, indicating that the property market as a whole may be stabilising. The average price of a property in the UK now stands at just under £189,000. Although it was the fifteenth successive month in which property prices were growing, this small increase in July marked the lowest rise in the market since April 2013.

According to the Nationwide Building Society, this slowdown in the rate of increase was not unexpected. Analysts have seen many signs over the last few months that the property market has been beginning to slow its pace of growth. The July rates fit into a larger pattern, with the slower rate of growth helping to bring down the annual rise in property prices for this year. In June, it was calculated at 11.8%, but given July’s slower rate of increase, the annual rate has declined to 10.6%.

The slowdown comes after the number of people being approved for new mortgages dropped dramatically during the first half of the year, thanks to the tougher criteria imposed on borrowers during April by the Mortgage Market Review. The number of people who were approved dropped by almost 20% between the months of January and May, and fewer people were contacting estate agents or considering removals.

The market now appears to be recovering from this change in lending practises, and as the rise in property prices slows, there may be more interest in buying and removals. The number of mortgages approved in June rebounded from the lower levels during May, and lenders are expecting the property market to do well in the coming months. They expect mortgage rates to remain low, while the labour market continues to strengthen, creating more confidence among potential buyers. However, there may be problems for those planning purchases and removals in the longer term if the supply of new housing does not manage to keep up with this increasing demand. New properties are being built, but the rate may not be fast enough to fulfil the need for more housing.


How Do People Afford to Become Homeowners?

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Financial planningIf you are in the process of planning removals or applying for a mortgage to buy a new home, then you will probably have put a great deal of thought into the financial implications of buying property. It doesn’t matter whether you are a current homeowner looking for a new place, or a tenant hoping to buy for the first time, working out how to afford your new home will be an important part of the process.

A new survey conducted with renters who were registered users of the Your Move or Reeds Rains websites has revealed just how common these financial worries are, particularly for first time buyers. According to the study, 93% of respondents, who were currently living in rented accommodation, would like to become homeowners at some point in the future, but many felt that their finances would stand in the way. Only 17% of the tenants believed that they would be able to buy a home in the next year, while 14% believed that they would never be able to buy property.

Among those of us who do make it onto the property ladder, there are a variety of different sources of financial support that can help us to make the switch from tenants to homeowners. The Your Move survey found that 45% of first time buyers managed to finance their purchase entirely by themselves. Government schemes such as Help to Buy were used by other, but only 4% of those surveyed received this form of support. The rest turned to family, with 39% using money from their parents or other family members to help with the purchase, and 7% using money from an inheritance.

Although the cost of the property itself is the major cause of these financial worries, the other costs associated with removals can also cause problems, particularly if we fail to include them in our moving budgets. Support from friends and family members can also help to reduce some of these costs, by helping with redecorating and DIY tasks, or providing childcare during removals, which can also help to keep our stress levels down.


Bucks Recycling Plant Approved While Herts Loses Planned Incinerator

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Incinerator PlantBuckinghamshire County Council has just given planning permission for the establishment of a permanent recycling centre in Westcott, but plans to increase the options for rubbish removals and disposal in Hertfordshire by creating a new waste incinerator have fallen through following a decision made by the Secretary of State.

Bucks Recycling has been hoping to expand for some time, and after several years of negotiating the planning system, it has now received permission to set up permanently on its site at Westcott Venture Park. Businesses that deal with rubbish removals and recycling are often required to navigate additional regulations and planning requirements, so this is an important achievement for the company. It has been a long journey, started in 2011 when the company first moved to Westcott, and requiring careful consideration of the impact on local residents. The firm has taken measures such as building acoustic shielding to protect the village from the sound of the recycling plant machinery in order to ensure that the jobs and rubbish removals services that it provides are not causing problems for the neighbours.

As well as giving the Westcott recycling plant a permanent base, this planning support could provide Bucks Recycling with a chance to expand its services in the county, providing additional rubbish removals and recycling services. These types of services are needed in order to cope with the increasing amounts of waste that are being produced, not just in Buckinghamshire, but in the wider region, and nationwide.

However, over in Hertfordshire, plans for a new waste incinerator that would have turned rubbish into electricity, were recently turned down by the Secretary of State. It was hoped that the proposed plant, which would have been situated in Hatfield, would help the council to find a cost-effective way of getting rid of some of the 275,000 tonnes of unrecycled waste that is currently being produced in the county. While 49.1% of household waste in Hertfordshire is already being recycled, the council needs to find new ways of disposing of the remainder, particularly if plans to close down the recycling plant at Elstree go ahead. Hertfordshire Council will now need to consider alternative options for dealing with its waste.

 
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