Primary Source Research – ‘West Lancs Garden Tax’


I interviewed the West Lancashire customer services team via email. I asked the questions that I had previously planned.

email 1

Email sent from myself to council representative.

I received a detailed reply the next day.

email 2

Email from Graham Concannon to myself.

Graham’s response is very helpful and I will be able to quote him as a primary source in my article.

For an immediate response I rang the customer service contact number of Richmondshire council to speak to a council representative for a telephone interview.

Phone interview with James, Richmondshire Council

I was redirected to a representative that could answer my questions.

Interviewer: Hi I’m a Journalism student writing an article about charges on green waste disposal. I have a few questions I’d like to ask you if that’s okay?
Interviewee: Yeah sure. That’s fine.

Interviewer: How have the charges on waste disposal affected the area
Interviewee:It hasn’t made a massive difference really. Residents were a bit reluctant at first but the biggest impact has been to the council’s funding.

Interviewer: Have people’s attitudes towards recycling changed?
No I don’t think they have. Most people have chosen to pay for the service because they have recognised it is a necessity that the council have been good enough to previously provide for free. The service still runs in the same way so not much has changed.

Interviewer: Do you feel it has had a positive or negative response?
Interviewee: At first residents were of course not happy with the new charges. However the reasons were explained thoroughly and they were given plenty of notice. Overall, it has massively improved the council’s funding and finances as we are now  able to afford to provide these service to the public.

Interviewer: That’s great, thanks for all your help!
I did Vox Pop interviews with residents in the area that would be affected by the new charges.

Mrs Arendsen, Scarisbrick Street, Ormskirk

Interviewer: Hi, I’m a journalism student writing an article on recycling in your area. Do you have a few minutes to answer some questions?

Interviewee: Yes of course.

Interviewer: Are you aware of the introduction of charges on green waste disposal in your area?
Interviewee: Yes, I have heard it is being discussed by the council. I’ve read some things in the local paper and a few people have mentioned it in conversation.

Interviewer: How do you feel about the introduction of charges on waste disposal?
Interviewee: I suppose they feel it is necessary. The council must be struggling and this is a way of claiming back. Along with all the other charges I’m not keen on paying for something else but I suppose it can’t be avoided.

Interviewer: Would you recycle less if there was a cost?
Interviewee: Well I have a gardener at the moment as I can’t get out much myself and he has mentioned that the charges may affect his business if people are reluctant to pay. Everyone needs to recycle their green waste but I can imagine it will put people off going over the top.

Interviewer: Thanks for the chat, you’ve been very helpful.

Online Survey

I created an online survey using to gather primary research for my article. I kept it simple and only asked two multiple choice questions.

‘How often do you garden?’
This will show me how relevant the article is to readers and how many people will be interested in the topic.

‘Would charges on green waste put you off recycling?’
This will give me statistics to use in my article for how the charges will influence residents’ recycling.

This shows the results from my survey in graph format.

graph 1

Results from survey question 1.

graph 2.png

Results from survey question 2.

I can therefore use the results in my article as primary source research.


Pitch Two – Research

Secondary Research

With my article being in a curated format, I will be using secondary sources to incorporate and analyse.

News Content

I am going to use news content from both online and hard-copy newspaper as a source for my article.

Social Media

I will use social media as a way of gathering opinions and data from the public related the the topic. I will then be able to present this in my article. I will use my professional accounts as opposed to my personal account as this will be more appropriate and help to receive feedback from professionals.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook


I will use two opposing blogs with different views to use as sources in my article. This will help me form a balanced article.

Primary Sources

Even though I will be using secondary sources for this article, I feel this may be useful information in case I need it.

Northern Ireland Government:
Castle Buildings, Upper Newtownards Rd,
Belfast BT4 3PP

Pitch One – Research

Primary sources

Primary contacts:

West Lancashire council


Richmondshire council – 01748829100

Friends of the earth
0113 242 8150

Interview questions:

(West Lancashire Borough Council representative)

  1. Why do you think more boroughs in the south introducing charges
  2. How will introducing charges affect the environment and land fill?
  3. Do you think the charges will change residents’ opinion of recycling?
  4. Why do you think charges are being introduced now an haven’t before?
  5. Why do charges vary on different councils?

(Richmondshire council representative)

  1. How have the charges on waste disposal affected the area?
  2. Have people’s attitudes towards recycling changed?
  3. Do you feel it has had a possitive or negative response?

(Residents of the West Lancashire area)

  1. How do you feel about the introduction of charges on waste disposal?
  2. Would you recycle less if there was a cost?

(‘Friends of the earth’ representative)

  1. What impact will imposing these charges have on the environment?
  2. How will the charges have an impact on landfill?
  3. Why do you believe the charges are being imposed?

Online survey

I will construct an online survey as a way of gathering statistics to use in my article. I will use as this is an easy and reliable website. To keep it short and easy for the public, I will only include two questions.
1. How often do you garden?
2. Would charges on green waste put you off recycling?

The results will be presented in a graph that I can use in my article.

Secondary sources

Comparison of other charges
(Taken from online)

Kingston upon Thames: £69
Sheffield: £57.60
Gateshead: £20
Richmondshire: £17
Birmingham: £35
Scarborough: £38 (from next year)