Policy 5.16 Waste net self-sufficiency



A  The Mayor will work with London boroughs and waste authorities, the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWaRB), the Environment Agency, the private sector, voluntary and community sector groups, and neighbouring regions and authorities to:

a  manage as much of London’s waste within London as practicable, working towards managing the equivalent of 100% of London’s waste within London by 2026

b  create positive environmental and economic impacts from waste processing

c  work towards zero biodegradable or recyclable waste to landfill by 2026.

B  This will be achieved by:

a  minimising waste

b  encouraging the reuse of and reduction in the use of materials

c  exceeding recycling/composting levels in local authority collected waste (LACW) of 45 per cent by 2015, 50 per cent by 2020 and aspiring to achieve 60 per cent by 2031

d  exceeding recycling/composting levels in commercial and industrial waste of 70 per cent by 2020

e  exceeding recycling and reuse levels in construction, excavation and demolition (CE&D) waste of 95 per cent by 2020

f  improving London’s net self-sufficiency through reducing the proportion of waste exported from the capital over time

g  working with neighbouring regional and district authorities to co-ordinate strategic waste management across the greater south east of England. 

Supporting text

5.68  London produced about 15 million tonnes of waste in 2012. There are three major types of waste produced in London:

  • household waste collected by or on behalf of local authorities, amounting to approximately 3m tonnes (20 per cent of all waste)[1]
  • commercial & industrial waste (C&I) is waste generated by businesses and industry in London, collected by the private sector and local authorities, amounting to approximately 4.7m tonnes (32 per cent of all waste)[2]
  • construction, excavation and demolition waste (CE&D) is the waste generated by development activity in London (for example, old buildings being demolished, new ones being constructed), primarily dealt with by the private sector and amounting to approximately 7.2m tonnes (48 per cent of all waste)[3].

5.69  The Mayor wants to see a step change in London’s reuse and recycling performance. Although there have been considerable improvements in local authority waste recycling rates (up from 8 per cent in 2001 to 30 per cent in 2012)[4], the Mayor wishes to see an increase to 45 per cent by 2015 and then 50 per cent by 2020. There is also considerable variation in local authority recycling performance across London, ranging in 2012 from 13 per cent to 48 per cent, demonstrating that better performance is achievable. Overall, London reuses or recycles 60 per cent of all waste[5]. Around 30 per cent of waste goes into landfill sites that are located largely outside London[6]. It is estimated that London currently manages 46 per cent (or 7 million tonnes) of its own waste, and imports a further 2.6 million tonnes of waste each year.

5.70  Although this step change poses a big challenge, the proposed municipal waste recycling targets match those set by the South London Waste Partnership, West London Waste Authority, North London Waste Authority and the East London Waste Authority, which together represent two-thirds of London’s municipal waste authorities. The targets also recognise household waste recycling targets that were set by two-thirds of London boroughs under local area agreements to achieve, on average, 36 per cent recycling by 2011. Furthermore, DEFRA requires boroughs to commit to 50 per cent household waste recycling performance as a requirement for receiving Private Finance Initiative (PFI) credits for waste procurement. The Mayor’s aspiration is for London to achieve 60 per cent recycling of municipal waste by 2031. This performance level is supported by research undertaken by WRAP showing that 85 per cent of household waste is recyclable (including composting)[7].

5.71  This Plan sets out the spatial policies to support the Mayor’s Waste Municipal and Business Waste Strategies and includes its targets for recycling and reduction of waste to landfill. Performance should improve for all forms of waste in London in terms of greater efficiency of use, a reduction in amounts generated and an increase in recycling. The greatest need and opportunity for improved performance is local authority collected waste (LACW) from households and small businesses. The Mayor believes that recycling and composting targets for commercial and industrial waste are challenging but achievable, and reflects the current relatively high level of commercial and industrial recycling, which in 2009 was estimated to be 52 per cent.  Recycling targets are carried forward from the 2011 version of the London Plan. The Mayor is committed to working towards zero biodegradable or recyclable waste to landfill by 2026.

5.72  The reduction of waste and the recycling targets included in this Plan and in the Mayor’s Waste Strategies have a direct impact on London’s waste self-sufficiency.

5.73  The key objectives in terms of the spatial distribution of waste facilities within London, as set out in PPS10: Planning for Sustainable Waste Management, are that communities should take more responsibility for the management of their own waste (self-sufficiency), and that waste should be disposed of in one of the nearest appropriate installations (proximity). This means that waste planning authorities should achieve the maximum degree of self-sufficiency possible commensurate with their obligations for managing waste, while recognising that in some instances the nearest appropriate installation might lie outside the Greater London boundary. The Mayor, when determining local authority waste management contracts, will adopt a flexible approach to self-sufficiency. In line with the objective of proximity, preference may be given to facilities outside the Greater London boundary if they are closest to the point of where the waste is produced. More detail on municipal waste management contracts and self-sufficiency is set out in the Mayor’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy.

5.74  The Mayor, through the London Waste Planning Forum[8] continues to work with London’s neighbours, in particular in the South East and East of England, where most of London’s landfilled waste is exported to, to co-ordinate strategic waste management across the regions to reduce the capital’s dependence on landfill disposal outside London. He will adopt a flexible approach to how self-sufficiency is achieved, so that the carbon outcome of any treatment method and transportation are given greater consideration in assessing proposals for waste facilities.

[1] DEFRA Local Authority Waste Management Statistics 2012.  See glossary for definition of ‘household waste’ (definition taken from Mayor’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy, Mayor of London, November 2011)

[2] GLA 2014

[3] Ibid

[4] DEFRA Local Authority  Waste Management Statistics 2012

[5] GLA 2014

[6] ibid

[7] Dr Julian Parfitt, Analysis of Household Waste Composition and Factors Driving Waste Increases WRAP 2002

[8] Formerly known as the London Regional Technical Advisory Board (RTAB)

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