It was widely reported on 1st January in the national press that in a recent survey not one Council was planning to apply for a pilot scheme. To quote the Daily Mail “But a survey of 100 local authorities found that not a single one even wanted to take part in an initial trial run.”.
However, having looked into this a little further it is apparent that the figures are not quite as clear cut as that. The survey asked 160 councils about their intentions. Only 100 replied, all of them saying that they would not take part in the trials
Put another way, 63% of the Councils surveyed have said they will not take part. We don’t know about the other 37%. It is reasonable to assume that any Councils which are interested in running a trial (and presumably are preparing a bid now) would be very wary of the likely response from local and national media. As a result they are likely to carefully control the way they present this to their residents and therefore hold their counsel until their application is finalised. Likewise, those taking the undoubtedly more popular ‘no’ stance are more likely to advertise the fact early and at every opportunity.
DEFRA are seeking to run only 5 pilots (not hundreds as implied by some newspaper articles). The results of this survey would appear to be far more encouraging for DEFRA than the national press would like to think.