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Urgent action needed for failing capital

Recycling in London is desperately behind the rest of the country, it was revealed this week.

During a London Assembly meeting members were told that the capital, home to one in eight of the UK's population, recycles on average just 13.2% of its household waste, compared to a national average of 17.7%.

Assembly members also heard that London was unlikely to meet the Government's national target of 25% by 2006, which was endorsed by the mayor's municipal waste management strategy.

London Assembly Environment Committee chairman Darren Johnson said: "We'd like to see a much greater commitment to meeting the 25% target set out in the Mayor's waste strategy.

"It is an important environmental benchmark and it will be very disappointing if we fail to meet it."

The capital does not have its own recycling rate because it is divided into 32 boroughs.

In 2003/4 nine London Boroughs had achieved or beaten the national target of 17% and the London Borough of Sutton had already hit next year's benchmark of 25% recycling.

However, at the same time 10 boroughs recycled or composted less than 10% of their household waste.

The mayor's environment policy director John Duffy told assembly members that delays with funding and in developing infrastructure had held back progress on recycling by up to a year.

Johnson added: "There is a great deal of public support for increased levels of recycling in the capital and we need to see more urgent action to improve collection rates and reduce the amount of waste that is being sent to landfill."

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