Conservative candidate for mayor of London, Zac Goldsmith, has pledged a “common set of collection standards” within the capital if elected on 5 May.
Goldsmith’s announcement follows a London Assembly report which calls on the next mayor to back ”a route map to standardised municipal waste collections by all London boroughs”.
Research for a national scheme for harmonised collections is currently being undertaken by resource minister Rory Stewart and WRAP.
Stewart told Parliament this week that London councils could save £19m-£20m a year by moving to harmonised collections, according to this initial research.
Now Goldsmith has released his ‘living environment manifesto’, which proposes that fly-tipping and litter would be tackled within 24 hours were he elected.
London is aiming to recycle 50% of all household waste by 2020 but currently achieves only 33%.
Goldsmith’s manifesto says: “A major obstacle is that London’s population is often on the move, meaning people have to get to grips with one of at least 33 different recycling schemes each time they move borough.
“So I will work with the boroughs and with Resource London (see box below) to move towards a ‘London Guarantee’: a common set of London-wide collection standards.”
He said a key part of this would be catering for the 50% of Londoners who live in flats and for whom kerbside recycling is more difficult.
Goldsmith also pledged to publish a Zero Waste Route Map for London within his first year of taking office.
“I will set out how five priority sectors become waste free. These will be food, electronics, textiles, the built environment and packaging,” he said.
He promised get the city on track to recycling 65% of its waste by 2030, “including seeing waste as an opportunity to create jobs in reuse, repair, remanufacturing and materials innovation”.
Resource London, a partnership between the London Waste and Recycling Board and WRAP, recently undertook a survey of boroughs to get a clearer picture of the impact of contamination both on recycling performance and on finances. It says it needs to analyse the responses further and consider what support could be offered to boroughs to improve contamination. Initial results from 16 authorities that responded show contamination rates in 2014-15 ranged from 4% to 20% and this year from 6% to 24%. Some authorities reported lower levels of contamination, some higher. The impact on the recycling rate last year was between 1% and 4.7% while this year it is estimated between 0.5% and 4.5%.