News from Caroline Russell: Recycling rates are rubbish as London burns more waste than ever

16 December 2016

London’s rubbish problem is a burning issue as more household waste is sent to incinerators and less and less is recycled.

The downward trend in recycling rates continues to fall and this year London’s rate dropped below 30 per cent for the first time in six years.

According to the annual data published by Defra, huge discrepancies exist between London boroughs with Bexley recycling 52 per cent and Newham just 14.7 per cent. [1]

Caroline Russell AM said:

“The Mayor has to turn around the dismal legacy left by his predecessor and bring London back on track with recycling and composting rates.

“Waste can be a resource if it is reused or recycled rather than incinerating it. The Mayor’s failure to step in and halt a new incinerator in Sutton means recycling rates are bound to fall even more. [3]

“Different boroughs have different recycling systems which is confusing for people moving around London. Standardising this across the city would help Londoners know what they’re supposed to do with their refuse.

“London needs more recycling facilities and anaerobic digestors for converting food waste into green energy and compost. The Mayor should support boroughs to make this happen.”

Defra revealed that 46 per cent of London’s household waste was sent to incinerators (energy for waste plants), the highest on record, increasing by 22 per cent since 2010/11. Over the same period recycling rates increased by just 1.3 per cent. [1]

The current London household recycling target is to exceed 45 per cent by 2015, 50 per cent by 2020 and to achieve 60 per cent by 2031. [2]

Boroughs with highest recycling rates

1. Bexley – 52%

2. Bromley – 46.3%

3. Kingston upon Thames – 45.8%

4. Hillingdon – 44.1%

Boroughs with lowest recycling rates

1. Newham – 14.7%

2. Westminster – 17.3%

3. Lewisham – 18%

4. Barking & Dagenham – 18.9%

Notes to editors

[1]Annual results for 2015/16  local authority collected waste, published, December 2016 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/env18-local-authority-collected-waste-annual-results-tables

London recycling rates, 28.3 per cent in 2010/11, 29.6 per cent in 2015/16.

[2] The London Plan, spatial development strategy for Greater London, 2011, policy 5.16  https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/the_london_plan_malp_final_for_web_0606_0.pdf

[3] Question to the Mayor’s from Caroline Russell, Wednesday 25th May 2016.

Caroline Russell
Will you consider carrying out a review of your predecessor's decision to approve the proposed Viridor incinerator planning application in Beddington?

The Mayor
The decision on this planning application was issued by Sutton Council in 2014.  I do not hold any planning powers over the scheme now that it has been approved so therefore cannot recover or review a previous Mayoral Decision or Sutton Council's decision to grant planning permission.

http://questions.london.gov.uk/QuestionSearch/searchclient/questions/question_287632