HC Deb 27 February 2002 vol 380 cc1342-4W
Mr. Cox

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much Greater London waste has been recycled in each of the last three years. [37114]

Mr. Meacher

Based on estimates from the Department's Municipal Waste Management Survey, the amounts of municipal waste collected for recycling or composting in Greater London are listed:

Year Thousand tonnes
1997–98 237,000
1998–99 273,000
1999–2000 383,000


2000–01 data are currently being collected from local authorities.

Information, including the amounts of industrial and commercial waste, for Greater London is published in Strategic Waste Management Assessment 2000: London, Environment Agency. Data are available for one year only and based on estimates from the Environment Agency's National Waste Production Survey.

Industrial and commercial waste 1998
Waste management method Thousand tonnes
Land recovery 52,000
Re-used 90,000
Recycled 2,364,000

Angela Watkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in the reduction of London's municipal waste by 3.7 million tonnes by 2020. [37719]

Mr. Meacher

The latest available figures, from the Department's municipal waste management survey, indicate that London produced approximately 4.4 million tonnes of municipal waste in 1999/2000. This figure was approximately 3.8 million tonnes in 1996/97, 4 million tonnes in 1997/98 and 4.1 million tonnes in 1998/99. 2000/01 data are currently being collated from local authorities.

It is of course up to individual waste authorities to promote waste minimisation and to develop minimisation schemes. However, I understand that the Mayor's municipal waste management strategy for London (currently in draft form) recognises this problem of growth in waste and emphasises the importance of reducing the amount of waste London produces.

The Government encourage all waste authorities to reduce the amount of waste produced and waste minimisation is at the top of the waste hierarchy, as set out in the Government's Waste Strategy 2000.

The spending review 2000 provided a ring-fenced grant of £140 million, for two years, for local authority waste management and this funding will be targeted at recycling and minimisation schemes. The Government have consulted on the method for distribution of this fund and responses to the consultation are currently being considered. I will be making an announcement on the final structure of the fund shortly.

The new opportunities fund has also set aside £49.5 million of lottery money for community sector waste minimisation, reuse and recycling programmes in the UK.

Angela Watkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what progress has been made towards greater self-sufficiency in dealing with London's waste; [37721]

(2) what plans are in place to minimise the transportation of waste in London. [37720]

Mr. Meacher

It is for individual waste authorities to determine how and where their waste is disposed of. At present, much of London's waste is transported outside London for disposal at landfill sites. However, I understand that the Mayor's Municipal Waste Management Strategy (currently in draft form) proposed to address this issue, by looking at the current waste disposal facilities in London, and assessing what new facilities are required, with the aim of greater self-sufficiency for London in relation to waste, and maximised recycling and composting.

Greater self-sufficiency and increased recycling and composting will mean that less waste needs to be transported outside London. Where waste does need to be transported, the Mayor's draft strategy proposes to encourage the use of environmentally friendly modes of transport, such as rail, river and canal.

The Government's Waste Strategy 2000 stressed the importance of waste being dealt with as close to its source as possible. All waste authorities are encouraged to take this 'proximity principle' into account and to reduce transportation of waste, wherever possible, when developing their municipal waste management strategies.

In March 2001 the then DETR issued Guidance on Municipal Waste Management Strategies to all local authorities. This advised that opportunities for using forms of transport other than road haulage be considered by authorities. This guidance also made authorities aware of the Freight Grant schemes, administered by DTLR, which aim to encourage the use of inland waterways and maritime freight, as opposed to road transport.

Mr. Sayeed

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research her Department has(a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the extent to which local recycling initiatives are affected by the expansion of the waste incineration industry. [35395]

Mr. Meacher

The department has not commissioned such research. Local authorities have a responsibility to plan waste treatment and disposal. Waste Strategy 2000 set targets for recycling and composting of household waste in England and Wales, and in March 2001 we introduced statutory performance standards for local authorities in England.

Where a local authority or company proposes a waste incineration facility, our policy is that it should be small enough that it does not act as a disincentive to increased recycling, and should not undermine the achievement of the statutory recycling targets that have been allocated.

Under the guidance we issued in September 2000 for Private Finance Initiative projects, proposals which include incineration must also demonstrate that all opportunities for recycling have been considered first, and that the arrangements proposed will not produce a barrier to the longer term development of recycling.