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Comment: decisions, decisions

The past few weeks have said a lot about living with the choices we make in life. How those choices will affect us right now and whether or not they will come back to haunt us in the future. This may all seem very profound but a bit more consideration on the part of the future King a few years ago, and he probably wouldn't be facing a register office wedding followed by a finger buffet right now.

The Prince of Wales and the decisions he has made over his wives may be dominating the media, but a glance to the sidelines reveals the reams of choices about the environment that are being made every day. Battles won and lost, targets being met or waste mounting up.

Over the course of the week, this point has been illustrated perfectly by my local news. In Kent the battle continues over plans to site Europe's biggest incinerator in Belevedere. Bexley Council's main grounds for opposing the application is the impact such a massive incinerator, which would burn waste from a wide area of London, would have on the area and its image at a time when local, regional and national policy is seeking to regenerate the Thames Gateway.

Despite the progress that has been made in recycling infrastructure, the capital is suffering from a serious waste problem, which of course no one wants burned in their back yard. But as London struggles to cope with the sheer volume of waste already amassed and being created on a daily basis, a decision on Belvedere will have to be made, which the residents will have to live with for the foreseeable future.

Back in central London, the congestion charge consultation will end on Monday, with the Mayor proposing a rise from £5 to £8. Adding to the debate are those who say that drivers of urban 4x4s should be paying more than everyone else.

But stop any owner of the much derided, gas guzzling 'Chelsea Tractors' and ask them what they think of this and, puce in the face, they will tell you that it is their right to chose to buy these cars and they are damn well going to drive them.

Left to their own devices a hefty proportion of the public have not made the best decisions when it comes to their waste and the environment in general and sometimes gentle encouragement and nudging people in the right direction just isn't enough. There will always be those people who will demand their carrots wrapped in cellophane, insist on the biggest car to drive their one child to school in and who can't be bothered to recycle the gargantuan amounts of waste they create each week.

Forcing people to recycle and pay for their impact on the environment would never be an easy task but facing up to tough decisions from the outset will save us from having to sort out a huge mess later on. I know a man who will definitely agree with me on that one.

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