Ken Livingstone has described mayor of London Boris Johnson’s London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) as an “expensive joke”.
In a letter to members of the Labour environment group SERA, former mayor Livingstone wrote: “The mayor’s pan-London waste council is an expensive joke. The mayor needs to have control of strategic decisions about how waste is recycled and converted into energy, while the boroughs retain responsibility for waste collection.
“Nothing reflects on a city’s environmental credentials so much as how it deals with waste. Unfortunately, London lags way behind the best cities in the world, not least because responsibility for waste management is dissipated through too many organisations.”
The LWARB was established by the GLA Act 2007 and awarded responsibility for awarding £84m of grants to waste disposal projects in Greater London.
Livingstone’s letter uses the example of the North London Waste Authority’s procurement policy, which he claimed “may end up sending its waste to north Europe for treatment”.
Instead, he called for the capital to see waste “as a resource” and encouraged a greater uptake of anaerobic digestion (AD) technology.
Livingstone’s letter claimed: “Using modern technologies like AD, which uses bacteria to convert food waste into gas, we could provide renewable power to 164,000 homes – ie. all the houses in a borough the size of Barking and Dagenham – just by using 80% of the food that British households throw out each year.”