At its second meeting, the board agreed to focus its efforts in three main areas to reduce the capital’s waste problem – increasing recycling of priority materials such as plastic, extracting energy from the capital’s food waste, and generating energy from waste wood.

The capital currently spends about £12bn on energy, including heating, but sends 500,000 tonnes of wood and one million tonnes of food waste to landfill.

At its next meeting in February, the board will discuss proposals for investment to target these priority areas.

Peter Calliafas, chairman of the board’s policy sub-committee, said: “In the current economic climate, we believe that people will be receptive to a reuse agenda.”

He also recommended partnerships with private businesses and waste firms to ensure there was a “common purpose” to create better waste facilities.

Chairman of the board Boris Johnson said: “There’s a very important economic case to be made for what we want to do. There’s an enormous economic advantage.

“I think we have got to make the pitch to the public, and the boroughs most of all, about the way we want to take that forward.”

But some members of the board raised concerns about the pace of work to draw up a comprehensive action plan.

Councillor Daniel Moylan, chairman of the London Councils transport and environment committee, called for GLA officers to ensure a priority plan was drawn up quickly despite the upcoming holidays.

“They should be put on a strict deadline to have a draft ready a fortnight before we are due to meet,” he said, joking that Christmas should be “cancelled” for the officers working on the plan.

The board agreed to begin talks with the recycling industry ahead of agreeing its plans in February.

Kate Martin

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