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Flagship waste project approved

Oct 29, 2008
Plans to revolutionise the way in which waste in north London is managed have been approved by the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) this week (29th Oct).

A new long term approach that prioritises waste prevention, reuse and recycling over sending waste to landfill and traditional incineration is being sought by the Authority and its constituent boroughs (Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest).

The plans are part of a drive to reduce north London's carbon footprint and achieve a more sustainable way of managing waste.  They form the basis of an outline business case which will now be submitted to DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) for consideration.

The outline business case sets out how the Authority plans to deal with north London's waste and the facilities it needs to effectively do so. If approved by DEFRA the NLWA will receive financial support to cover the cost of much needed new waste facilities for the area.

Chair of the NLWA, Cllr Clyde Loakes, said:

"The NLWA is seeking a 21st century solution to managing waste in the area - one that doesn't rely on landfill and incineration.

"We recognise that by reducing the amount of waste disposed of through reducing, reusing, recycling and composting as much as possible we can keep waste disposal costs to a minimum.

"With the right facilities and services in place we can make great strides in reducing north London's carbon footprint - in an affordable way."

In north London approximately one million tonnes of waste is produced every year, currently only 24 per cent of this is recycled, the rest is either incinerated (40 per cent) at the Edmonton incinerator in Enfield, or goes to landfill sites in the Home Counties (36 per cent).

The aim is that by 2020 north London will be meeting tough regional, national and European waste targets and will be achieving:

  • a 50 per cent recycling and composting rate (double the existing rate); and
  • a reduction in the amount of waste sent for disposal to landfill from 36 per cent to 15 per cent.

The plans for the area are estimated to save the NLWA and subsequently the 7 north London boroughs, an estimated £900million over 30 years in comparison to continuing to dispose of waste through incineration and landfill2. They include:

  • four new and refurbished household waste and recycling centres (sometimes called "civic amenity" sites);
  • two new materials recovery facilities to sort metal, plastics, glass, paper and cardboard so that they can be recycled;
  • composting and anaerobic digestion facilities; (anaerobic digestion is the process that turns  biodegradable waste into biogas which can be used to create electricity);
  • two mechanical biological treatment plants to treat waste which cannot be recycled to create fuel;
  • a combined heat and power plant that uses that recovered fuel instead of fossil fuels; and
  • a sustainable transport solution involving rail and/ or water transport.

The Authority expects to hear early in 2009 whether its outline business case has been approved and funding granted. If approved, the new facilities will be built from 2012 onwards in preparation for when the Authority's existing contract with London Waste runs out in 2014.

- Ends -

Notes to Editors

1) The NLWA will be applying for financial help through PFI (Private Finance Initiative) credits. PFI has been used to pay for new schools and hospitals and is increasingly being used for funding new waste facilities.  What it means for north London is that we can get financial help for investment in much needed facilities.

2) Between 2007/8 and 2010/11 landfill tax will double from £24 to £48 per tonne and is expected to rise further.

About the North London Waste Authority

The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) was established in 1986 and is the waste disposal authority for Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest. This means its primary function is to arrange the transport and disposal of waste collected by these boroughs.  It is the second largest waste disposal authority in the country.

The waste disposal costs are split between the seven boroughs through a levying system. The system is worked out based mostly on the amount of waste disposed (in tonnes), which means the more each borough delivers to NLWA, the more it has to pay.