Where should we deal with our waste?

The South London Waste Partnership councils (Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton) have started a conversation with their residents, to explore where waste should be managed in the future.

Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton councils are together preparing a joint planning document, known as the South London Waste Plan. Up until the 31 October the four councils will be inviting residents to get involved in the very first stage of the consultation process and put forward their views about the way the Plan should be developed. This is when everyone has the opportunity to contribute to shaping the policy that will affect them in the future.

Following feedback from residents and businesses, the South London Waste Plan will identify suitable locations for potential 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.

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.

The four boroughs generate half a million tonnes of rubbish every year. Recycling rates are improving, but over 70% currently goes to landfill. Waste in landfill releases the greenhouse gas, methane. In addition to this, businesses, building sites, hospitals and other facilities generate about 650,000 tonnes of waste, 60% of which ends up in landfill. This is no longer sustainable and wastes materials which could potentially be recycled. 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.

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 limit climate change gas emissions and reduce Merton’s reliance on landfill.’