EVENT REVIEW: Waste Planning – 24 February 2015

Hosted by Camden Council, the first event in the Planning for Infrastructure series focused on Waste Planning. A panel of speakers took to the podium to address the ostensibly unglamorous topic of how we effectively deal with the capital’s waste.

Peter Heath  – GLA

Waste is a resource that we need to exploit for energy and employment purposes, All boroughs are waste authorities and collection authorities. Some dispose of their own waste whilst other join force with other boroughs to create a joint waste authority. Waste is assessed through the London Plan by setting a figure of waste arisings (tonnes generated) and waste apportionment (the level to plan for). This measure is considered fair and appropriate. Boroughs in central London may have higher arisings whilst those in outer areas may have higher apportionments.

15 million tonnes of waste was generated in 2013 (46% of this being construction and demolition waste), this is forecast to grow to 16.5 million by 2031. A target of 20% of waste heading to landfill by 2031 has been set. By 2026, London has committed to be net self-sufficient in waste. The Mayor (who isn’t a waste authority) is keen to work with the boroughs to make this happen.

David Sergeant – Managing Director of London Waste.

London Waste is a waste management company in North London formed in 1994 and now wholly owned by the North London Waste Authority.   At the North London Waste Park in Edmonton, a Development Consent Order (DCO) is being prepared to modernise the facility. This is due to be implemented by 2026. The authority currently deals with 872,000 tonnes of waste per year, across 9 sites, with 80% of this coming from households, A third of the waste is currently reused, recycled or composted. In order to increase this proportion, modern facilities are needed at Edmonton.

Archie Onslow – Programme Manager – North London Waste Plan:

Currently under preparation, the North London Waste Plan covers 7 boroughs and sets out the management of waste up to 2031. The plan (which failed the duty-to-cooperate test last time around) is being prepared with Reg 18 consultation over the summer. The North London Waste Plan area sends waste to 121 waste planning authorities, and, as part of the Duty to Cooperate, 42 of these wish to continue dialogue as part of the emerging plan process. The aims is to reduce the proportion heading to landfill and make North London net -sufficient. This will reduce the amount exported from the capital. A memorandum of understanding is being developed with the many surrounding waste authorities to understand how they deal with their waste and a Duty to Cooperate protocol has been published. The ,once implemented, will play a significant part in how North London deals with its waste. The plan must be in place to avoid future EU fines which the Government delegated to waste authorities through the Localism Plan.

Maureen Darrie -Director of CgMS

Maureen provided a very useful masterclass in how LA’s can effectively plan for new waste facilities. There are a number of key steps to considered. Maureen highlighted the importance of the new National Planning Policy for Waste (DCLG, October 2014) which states that “spurious precision should be avoided”.

1) Assessing the spatial distribution of waste collected, the logistics and the optimum location for a plant.

2) The type of facility required, working with local people to assist the delivery of the site. The location of the plant is always going to be controversial, with land at a premium, there are greenbelt challenges through the Planning Practice Guidance.

3) Once a site is selected issues such as logistics, construction impact, ecology and biodiversity issues are important to consider. The key route for delivery as noted above is via a DCO.

4) LAs should allow a significant amount of contingency time to mitigate any delays in the programme as these projects are controversial. Early engagement with communities is crucial.

It was suggested that the above tips can help drive forward the delivery of new facilities. London is going to generate a significant amount of additional waste as the population grows. It is crucial therefore that we continue to effectively plan for waste collection and disposal.

Andrew Dorrian

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