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Tories slam mayor's waste stance

The London Assembly Conservatives have attacked Ken Livingstone for preventing West London Waste Authority (WLWA) implement its waste strategy.

In November 2004 the London Mayor claimed WLWA's strategy was not "in the interest of London or its neighbours" and particularly criticised the level of incinerator use proposed.

Conservative Planning spokesman and Leader of Richmond-upon-Thames Council (a WLWA borough) Tony Arbour said: "If he [Livingstone] were really interested in helping the WLWA it would have been sensible and courteous to work with them. Instead he issued a dictatorial edict. The result: he has slipped up and now faces the possibility of a judicial review."

The Mayor had told WLWA, which represents six boroughs in west London, to carry out a Best Practicable Environmental Option assessment.

However, the power Livingstone used for this command also required him to consult with the authority concerned.

He failed to do this and in February the WLWA won permission to apply for a Judicial Review.

In the meantime, the WLWA met with Greater London Authority staff to discuss its strategy, offering changes to avoid court proceedings.

However, in a letter dated Mar 21 2005, to WLWA general manager Mike Nicholls, the Mayor said he was "not satisfied" and that the direction he issued in November "must remain in place".

But Ken Livingstone told MRW : "I issued a direction to the West London Waste Authority (WLWA) to secure the best environmental option for London - not as a bid for extra power. I requested a meeting with them following the announcement of a judicial review. However they could not satisfy me that their action would not be detrimental to my waste strategy and I am concerned that their tender process is being driven by the timetable laid down by the incinerator planned by Grundon at Colnbrook near Slough.

"This situation has arisen because WLWA do not have a waste strategy and have not considered the views of their residents or the environment. I am determined to use my powers under the Greater London Authority Act to ensure that the West London Waste Authority considers the public's views and the environment when they arrange their waste management contracts."

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