Merton Council seeks public opinion on managing borough’s rubbish

Merton Council is to seek views from residents, businesses and others on where Merton will manage its rubbish in future.

In partnership with neighbouring councils Kingston, Croydon and Sutton, Merton Council is preparing a joint planning document, known as the South London Waste Plan.

A public consultation about the final content of the plan will run from 19 September to 31 October. Although there will be other opportunities to get involved over the next two and a half years, Merton Council is keen for residents to participate from an early stage to help shape the waste plan.

Following feedback from residents and businesses, the South London Waste Plan will identify potentially suitable locations for waste management facilities across the four boroughs. It will also set out a range of policies on how to manage waste in the most environmentally-friendly way possible.

Around 365,000 tonnes of waste is collected from households across the four boroughs each year with over 70% buried in landfill. Businesses and industry in the four boroughs produce approximately 640,000 tonnes of waste each year; around 60% of which is sent to landfill. This is no longer sustainable and wastes materials which could potentially be recycled. Rotting rubbish also releases the greenhouse gas Methane, which contributes to climate change. Most rubbish can be re-used, recycled or composted in state-of-the art waste management facilities and the remainder can be used to produce heat or energy. Modern facilities are needed to deal with our rubbish in this way and reduce the quantity sent to landfill.

The South London Waste Plan is being developed in response to demands from regional and central government and the European Union for local authorities to deal with their own waste and reduce the amount they send to landfill or, from 2009, face being fined.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment Councillor David Simpson said: “We want to hear the views and any concerns residents, businesses and others may have about where we should manage the rubbish we all produce. Merton households produce over 75,000 tonnes of waste annually – almost one tonne per year for each household. Local businesses, construction sites and services produce even more. Altogether, that’s a lot of rubbish to deal with, and landfill space is rapidly running out. Plus, the waste buried in landfill releases greenhouse gases. Having new, modern facilities could both reduce climate change gas emissions and reduce Merton’s reliance on landfill.”