The leader of Barnet Council has said London mayor Sadiq Khan will not be able to use executive powers to force the authority to carry on with separate food waste collections.
Barnet wants to scrap such collections as one of several measures towards its £1m savings target for its street scene services in 2018/19.
This is at odds with the Greater London Assembly (GLA), which wants all boroughs to offer food waste collections – including from flats – by 2025. Khan told Barnet he would consider using his powers under the GLA Act to prevent the council from stopping collections.
But council leader Richard Cornelius said the mayor would not have the authority to use the powers because they can only be used when compliance by the authority did not lead to “excessive additional cost”.
Cornelius added: “We believe that the mayor’s desire for Barnet to keep a separate food waste service would result in an excessive additional cost of £296,766 a year.
“Our recycling performance is already making a meaningful contribution to the London Environment Strategy (LES) target of 50% recycling by 2025, as Barnet is within the top third recycling London authorities.
“We have paused the cessation of the food waste service for six weeks, following a request from the mayor. We will be discussing the issues, and how those services he wishes London boroughs to deliver will be sustainably funded.”
Under Barnet’s proposal, food waste will go for incineration. The authority said the LES made it clear that incineration is “equivalent to anaerobic digestion” in terms of recovery.