London Recycling Board unveils £4.6m efficiencies programme
The London Waste & Recycling Board (LWARB) has unveiled a £4.6m efficiencies programme for London's waste authorities.
Announcing the programme at a board meeting in City Hall yesterday (December 14), LWARB said it was set up in response to the increasing pressure on boroughs to make savings where possible, with waste management listed as the third highest spend area for most.
As part of the programme, waste authorities will be offered support to help them deliver time and cost savings in waste management. Spilt into seven 'workstreams' the programme offers joint procurement of recycling materials contracts and waste equipment, efficiency reviews, development of service sharing, best practice tools and creation of model service specifications.
In addition, a £3m recycling and reuse centre (RRC) fund has been set up, which will see LWARB work in partnership with WRAP, to assist boroughs in the implementation of business waste services. This will provide small businesses operating within the boroughs with the opportunity to use RRCs for the first time.
Support for the programme will also be offered by Defra, Improvement & Efficiency South East (iESE), Local Partnerships and London Councils.
Commenting on the initiative, LWARB chair James Cleverly, said: "Through the joint procurement of waste equipment in the flats recycling programme LWARB saved in the region of £200,000, significant amounts of money that we expect to replicate through the efficiencies programme. At a time when boroughs are having to tighten their belts, this programme will not only help to realise savings, but expand waste services and improve ways of working too."
However, in the meeting concerns were raised over the success of the 'Recycle for London' public awareness campaign, which previously received £5m funding from LWARB. Launched in 2009, the campaign is designed to increase awareness of the importance of recycling and reuse across London's boroughs.
Speaking out, councillor Daniel Moylan criticised the campaign for having "little impact on the ground", adding that in the current financial climate funding could be better spent on projects which will have a greater impact.
He added that while "boroughs have challenging targets to meet" it was not necessary to spend money on winning "the hearts and minds of them" through expensive publicity campaigns.
However, other LWARB members disagreed that the campaign had no impact, with Cleverly arguing "Mr and Mrs Average London are tuning into this", adding it is "a noticeable, recognisable campaign. It supports the things that are important to do to get the people in the boroughs to change their attitudes towards waste.
"I think there us a value in getting consistent messages out across London".
However, Cleverly added that he would be happy to periodically assess that funding is being effectively used, with the board in agreement that there was a need to "regularly assess the impact our expenditures are having".
Working in conjunction with the mayor of London and London Councils, LWARB has a funding pot of £26.3m to improve waste management in the capital over the next four years.