London Mayor eyes waste overhaul

London's Byzantine waste management system is itself so wasteful it needs a complete overhaul.

This was the message behind the launch of a report requested by Ken Livingstone that concludes the city's current system is chaotic, failing to deal with waste effectively or efficiently and completely unsustainable.

The mayor has expressed a desire to replace the 33 waste planning authorities, 33 collection authorities and 16 disposal authorities with just one body, the London Single Waste Authority.

Such an authority could, he argues, make sense of a currently shambolic system where a post code lottery rather than common sense determines waste management across the boroughs.

London as a region has a poor record on waste, being the second-worst in the UK and landfilling over two thirds of its waste, mostly in the Home Counties.

The city is falling behind on its obligations and according to the Mayor's office could face fines of up to £2.5 billion by 2020.

"A London Single Waste Authority, together with enhanced powers for waste planning, would mean that we could make strategic decisions for London, co-ordinating the disposal of London's household waste more effectively and investing in more recycling and new green technologies," said Mr Livingstone.

"Although London is now recycling more, it is not recycling enough and we are exporting far too much of our rubbish to landfill sites outside of London.

"It's time to plan properly for a more sustainable and sensible approach to managing London's waste, and with London's population predicted to grow by 800,000 by 2016, it is vital that we move towards a single waste authority now.

"The current arrangements for planning and managing waste in London aren't working.

"They aren't delivering my own policies; they aren't delivering the Government's policies; and they aren't addressing the new EU policies and penalties."

Were it to go ahead, the Single Waste Authority would cover all waste streams - domestic, industrial, construction and demolition, commercial and hazardous waste.

The arguments for and against such an authority are currently being considered by Defra.

A copy of the Mayor's report has been sent to the department, as well as to all the existing waste authorities.

By Sam Bond



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