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No to Livingstone's single waste authority plan

London will not have the single London waste authority that Mayor Ken Livingstone proposed, but instead a London-wide waste and recycling forum and increased planning powers, in a package on new powers for London announced today.

Ken Livingstone and Ruth Kelly unveiling the Mayor of London's new powers

The forum will work in collaboration with stakeholders and London’s boroughs to improve performance in waste management and recycling, promote collaborative action and link waste with other London priorities around climate change, transport and employment.

A £25 million waste and recycling fund will be established, with £19 million coming the re-diversion of existing local authority waste funding provided by the Waste Performance and Efficiency Grant (WPEG) and £6 million from the Greater London Authority. Livingstone admitted that the figure was “a drop in the ocean” in terms of money for waste management.

The Government will establish a dedicated London Waste Infrastructure Development Programme, led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to get new waste facilities on the ground.

London waste authorities will also have to act in “general conformity” with the Mayor’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy. The Government said this would “ensure that the vision and policies set out by the Mayor are implemented locally”.

Livingstone, speaking at a press conference, said he “would have loved a single waste authority” and revealed that he had discussed the issue of a single waste authority with Environment Minister David Miliband who was confident that the threat of looming European fines was enough for London boroughs to “get their act together”.

Livingstone added: “We will be working with the forum to drive the recycling agenda forward.”

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