Will London's Mayor make waste a priority?

We are now entering the final straight in the race for London Mayor and both of the leading contenders ‚¬" Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone have made electoral pledges to crack down on crime, improve transport and reducing living costs.

With the Olympics literally around the corner, the eyes of the world will soon be on London. No pressure then! 

Clearly, there's no doubt that all of these issues are really important to Londoners. However, Barry Munday, chair of the Housing Forum and former chairman of PRP Architects, believes that one issue has been overlooked - London's handling of waste.

In a letter being circulated to the press this week, Munday claims that the capital's waste problem remains the "elephant in the room" - a serious issue that is not even considered an issue by the Mayoral candidates.

He may have a point. As much as local authorities will tell you that the street scene hasn't deteriorated since the spending cuts came in, I have to question that viewpoint. Personally, I feel that my own high street looks shabbier now and is noticeably dirtier.

Munday argues that you only have to walk around London's public spaces to witness "the sprawling mass of bin bags and litter carelessly left in the streets".

As an architect, he has travelled extensively throughout Europe to see how other cities have successfully created environmentally friendly, clean and accessible places to live.

While London boasts some of the best designs in the world and has certainly made great strides in improving air quality, its cleanliness still leaves much to be desired.

Whoever wins the Mayoral election on 3 May will have a huge challenge ahead to ensure that London lives up to its status as a world-class city. Yes, tackling crime, making transport more efficient and reducing travel costs not to mention easing the financial burden on families are all vitally important.

But so is waste and how we manage it. However, I am not confident that waste will be a priority for the next London Mayor.

Nick Warburton

Topics: edie
Tags: air quality | crime | cuts | litter | transport
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