Boris Johnson yesterday set out his plans to reduce the capital’s carbon emissions and tackle the city’s “rubbish mountain”. The proposals, which include a recycling target of 45 per cent by 2015, are set out in the Mayor’s draft municipal waste strategy ‘London’s Wasted Resource’.
The document sets out measures to boost the capital’s recycling rate, making more money from waste and ensuring “streets are cleaner ahead of 2012”. City Hall says up to £90m could be saved each year by recycling and extracing energy from waste rather than sending it to landfill.
Mayor Johnson, said: “Some of London’s boroughs are taking pioneering strides forward to boost their recycling rates, however overall in London we are really lagging behind. It is not only detrimental to our environment, but economically a backwards step to be sending our rubbish to landfill and I am writing to all the borough leaders to urge them to pull out the stops to boost our recycling efforts.”
The strategy is currently open to consultation with London Assembly members and bodies within the Greater London Authority, the public will be able to express their views on it later this year.
Responding to strategy’s poublication, Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson Mike Tuffrey said it contained “some interesting ideas” but cautioned the Mayor would be judged by his actions.
Tuffrey added: “One immediate test of this strategy will come within days when we finally see the details of the contract the Mayor has signed for the free morning newspaper that is distributed across the whole of London’s transport network.”
“Each and every day well in excess of a million free newspapers are handed out to Londoners which too often end up as litter at stations and on London’s streets, before finally ending up as landfill. At present almost nothing is done by Transport for London to help people recycle these newspapers, or indeed the many other materials that people dispose of when travelling around London. If the Mayor really is serious about improving London’s recycling record he must ensure that it is as easy to recycle a free newspaper as it is to pick one up.”
Meanwhile there was muted support from Green Party AM Darren Johnson who commented: “Whilst the strategy has many good points, the key question is whether the Mayor can start taking real action after 18 wasted months of talking and virtually no improvement. Londoners want to recycle and the Mayor’s job is to make sure that sufficient new environmentally friendly waste facilities are built to deal with the waste that is no longer sent to landfill. If not, more of London’s waste will just be incinerated.”