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Call for single waste authority fails to find support from MPs

A bid to set up a single waste authority (SWA) in London has failed to gain the support of MPs.

Clauses on waste within the Greater London Authority (GLA) Bill were debated by the committee in Parliament this week, where Labour MP Karen Buck put forward the case for a SWA.

London needs strong, effective leadership on waste management. That requires not only a clear distinction, but powers and funding to deliver it. Transport for London has demonstrated the benefits of a single, properly resourced organisation under Mayoral leadership, Buck told the committee.

Her argument, supporting the Mayor of Londons bid for a SWA, comes after the London Councils and the Government called for the bid to be dropped.

Buck argued that London was lagging significantly behind other European cities in terms of recycling rates and that there are no realistic signs of their [London boroughs] being able to meet the challenge.

Quoting recycling figures from other cities such as Hamburg recycling 57% and Seattle 58%, Buck acknowledged that while London faced particular recycling challenges, they were in line with other cities which were dominated by high-rises and likely to share similar socio-economic structures.

Ultimately, it comes down to risk. The Government contend that the structural change during the move from the existing arrangements to a single waste authority would place the arrangements at risk, she said.

But her arguments failed to win over other MPs.

Minister for London Jim Fitzpatrick said the Government saw little benefit in making significant and costly changes to the way in which waste functions are delivered at local and regional levels.

While Conservative MP Michael Gove said: Im afraid that the detail behind her argument does not hold up to the same degree of scrutiny that I and others might wish it to do.

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