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Mayor Johnson

Boris gets serious about rubbish

This time last year the old mayor was grassing up London local authorities to the European Commission. This year the new mayor is announcing that he will work with them to increase recycling rates. Hooray.

The old mayor was interested in garnering power to himself and had ambitions to create a hugely expensive “Waste for London” organisation.

The new mayor seems to be more interested in working with the boroughs and achieving results. Good for him.

Livingstone was so out of order on this one it was painful. Even government minister Ben Bradshaw said in a letter:

Our analysis indicated that a Single Waste Disposal Authority could increase the overall cost of dealing with London’s waste. There would be significant set-up costs and disruption because of transferring staff, assets and contracts from the boroughs to the new body. Even after the initial set up costs, our analysis indicated that it could cost up to £5 million a year more to manage London’s waste through a Single Waste Disposal Authority because of the introduction of an extra tier of management.

2 replies on “Boris gets serious about rubbish”

I run a small business in Ealing and I am very upset to find that there are no recycling services available for businesses in Ealing. I pay a lot of business council tax and I get nothing for it. People who live in Ealing get their rubbish recycled for free. I cannot even get any rubbish collected without paying for it. It is cheaper to go to other companies to have it taken away than to pay the Ealing council.
Why do I get nothing for my payments, and why does Ealing council not recycle business waste? Perhaps Boris could do something about all this.
Abdullah Ibrahim

Mr Ibrahim,

Thanks for this. Business rates are effectively just a government tax on business. The council collects it but all of the money goes to central government.

The council has legal obligations to collect rubbish from homes but with businesses the obligation is on businesses to dispose of their waste. By law all businesses need to have a commercial waste agreement – my own small business has one. The council provides a service but it is a paid-for service and the council is effectively in competition with private sector suppliers. The council is obliged to provide a service but is free to price it as it sees fit.

Strangely the council is at a commercial disadvantage to commercial suppliers as the business waste it collects and landfills incurs penalties that are not charged to commercial suppliers.

Recycling actually costs a lot of money and no-one has worked out who would pay for business users to re-cycle. There are some commercial recycling services, for instance to remove old cooking oil, but they are not very widely used right now.

Ealing has a service called BEST which advises businesses on environmental issues. See here.

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