Recycling in London is a “disgrace”, according to London Mayor Ken Livingstone.
The Mayor wants to create a single waste authority for the capital that would control the recycling and waste management that is currently done by London boroughs. This is because he believes that most local authorities in London have not done enough to boost recycling rates.
He has asked the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to have this function transferred to him under a Government review of the powers of the Greater London Authority.
“We have [in London] the second worst recycling rates in the UK and are heading towards being the worst. And the UK is the worst recycler in Europe.
“Some boroughs have only recovered 6% of their waste for recycling and across London it is generally a disaster with only a couple of local authorities doing a good job.”
He said that obstacles needed to be removed to allow more recycling facilities to be built in the capital to help it meet its recycling targets.
“The boroughs don’t want to lose planning powers, but all councils are affected by nimby-ism. Increasingly, local ward members are getting a veto over schemes and someone in London needs to take a London-wide view.”
However, he also re-enforced his opinion that energy from waste should be a last resort and that he backs the nimbys in this.
“If we improve recycling, do we need another incinerator? We already have a high proportion of incineration compared to the rest of the country.
“When somebody says they would like an incinerator at the bottom of the garden, then I will be convinced of the argument.”
Officials of the Mayor have privately stated that they expect a decision on the transfer of these powers from the Government soon and that if they prove successful in implementing them that the Government would consider using this model in other regions across the country.