London is “starting to pull ahead” in terms of waste treatment infrastructure and its potential to provide district heating, but there is still considerable work to be done to address recycling collections in the city.
This was the message during the first session of the London Conference near Regent’s Park yesterday (16 March), which was organised by letsrecycle.com.
Liz Goodwin, the recently-appointed chair of LWARB, and Andrew Richmond, policy and programme manager at the Greater London Authority, took to the podium to outline their ambitions for recycling in the city.
Commenting on the status of waste infrastructure, Mr Richmond argued that “London is starting to pull ahead” referring to district heating available through Veolia’s SELCHP energy from waste plant in Southwark, and Viridor’s upcoming Beddington EfW plant to the south of the city.
He said that “early modelling suggest that things are not too bad for infrastructure in London”, before going on to ask the audience “Is it the right type of infrastructure?”
However, both speakers conceded there were issues to be addressed with the city’s recycling rate. The Greater London Authority aims to achieve a 65% recycling target by 2030, with latest figures suggesting that the city achieved a household waste recycling rate of close to 32% in 2015/16.
Taking to the podium, Dr Goodwin used her platform to formally announce a ‘Flats Taskforce’, which was approved in the organisation’s 2017-2020 business plan earlier this week (see letsrecycle.com story).
The launch of the taskforce coincides with a new guide issued by Resource London which identifies how London boroughs can work more effectively with tenants and landlords to improve waste management in the domestic rented sector.
Dr Goodwin spoke of the challenge posed by the development of flats in London which provide “challenging horizons”. She highlighted estimates that 88% of new builds to 2030 will be flats and that by 2030, 46% of properties in London will be flats.
Taking questions on the topic of flats, Mr Richmond said that it was an issue that the city’s deputy mayors wanted to address in terms of London policy and design.
He said: “This is something the Mayor has raised with the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Planning and they know this is an issue. It is something we will be looking at in terms of design of new build properties. So we are still cracking that nut.”
For Resource London, Beverley Simonson, local authority support manager at LWARB, said that guidelines had been developed but that more work is being done. “This will be part of the work of the flasts task force on new build flats with other cities. We want waste management considered as other utilities are although we know there is a lot of demand on space, for example for cycle racks and parking.”
Ms Goodwin went on to reveal that LWARB is working with WRAP through its partnership Resource London to launch a pilot project to reduce food waste across nine boroughs in the capital.
Bexley, Croydon, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Merton, Sutton and Tower Hamlets will take part in the EU-backed Transforming City Food Habits for Life (TRiFOCAL) project over the next two years, which is being replicated in seven other European cities.
Ms Goodwin said: “There’s a lot of confusion and apathy among householders. I strongly believe we need more harmonisation of services. But I think one of the most pressing things is we must get food waste collections and food waste recycling for all residents.”