Mayor and Enfield go head to head over closure of recycling site
London Mayor Ken Livingstone has stepped up the war of words against Enfield Council, formally requesting the local authority replace recycling facilities lost when it sold a public amenity site to land developers.The mayor has issued an official direction to Enfield - the closest he can come to giving the authority an order - demanding it provide a replacement site.
The legal status of the direction, only the second issued by the mayor since coming to power in 2000, is uncertain and Enfield intends to resist it.
"We don't believe he has the right to do this and we will be challenging this in the courts," a spokesman for the council told edie.
"Our lawyers are on the case and we reject this direction."
The clash between City Hall and the North London borough began when the council sold one of its reuse and recycling centres at Carterhatch Lane to a housing developer, against the wishes of the mayor, whose London Plan requires waste sites to be protected unless alternative facilities are to be provided.
The spat has involved political heavyweight Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who ordered a public inquiry into the use of the land last summer.
The public hearing is taking place this week after months of consultation.
The mayor says London needs all the waste facilities it can get while Enfield argues the site was surplus to requirement, pointing to its recycling rates which are among the highest in the capital.
In a statement Ken Livingstone said: "I have decided to issue a direction to Enfield Council in order that they fully consider the importance of providing adequate recycling facilities in the borough.
"This is not a step that I have taken lightly and follows many months of extensive dialogue with the council.
"I am extremely disappointed that Enfield continues in its refusal to deal responsibly with its waste by replacing the recycling facility at Carterhatch Lane.
"London needs more recycling facilities if we are to become self-sufficient in the management of our waste so boroughs cannot afford to be complacent about the need to recycle more.
"Councils must ensure that residents are able to dispose of their waste in a sustainable and convenient way. "
He said that Enfield's cutting back on waste facilities highlighted the need for a central waste authority managing the city as a whole.
"Enfield's short sighted decision to sell a recycling site and fail to replace it, demonstrates the need for a single waste authority in London, and the need for me to be given enhanced waste planning powers," said the mayor.
"This would enable the proper provision of waste management facilities across the whole of the city."
Councillor Terry Neville, Enfield's cabinet member with responsibility for waste, said: "Why Ken has decided to issue this direction at this time is puzzling. The fact is we don't need Carterhatch.
"He wants us to provide convenient recycling facilities for residents, and we already do. We have the most comprehensive door-to-door collection service in London and a free collection of household furniture.
"We also have one of the best recycling rates in the capital. All of this means it is very difficult to justify the need to spend up to a million pounds of residents' hard earned money on a new facility to satisfy Ken Livingstone's ludicrous demand."
"The Mayor says that the action by Enfield Council justifies the need to give him more powers over waste - nothing could be further from the truth," claimed the councillor.
"It's simply an outrageous attack on a local council's right to make decisions on behalf of their electorate."
by Sam Bond