LONDON TO EXPORT ITS WASTE TO SOUTH-EAST
GREEN EURO-MP CONDEMNS SOUTH-EAST RUBBISH PLAN
GREEN Party Euro-MP Caroline Lucas has condemned plans for councils in the
South East to accommodate some 1.25 million tonnes of waste from London
every year until 2025.
Under the arrangement, which is included in the draft South East Plan, a
regional planning blueprint for the next 20 years, councils across the
region will be forced to take waste from London – without receiving a penny
The lion’s share of the waste – a total of 4.4 million tonnes each – will be
landfilled in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Kent (including the Medway
Towns area) has been asked to landfill 3.2 million tonnes, whilst Milton
Keynes alone has been asked to accommodate 2.7 million tonnes. Unitary
authorities formerly in the administrative county of Berkshire will have to
take a total of 2.2 million tonnes – as will each of Surrey, East Sussex and
Dr Lucas said: “This is absolute madness – the South-East hasn’t got the
facilities to deal with its own waste – let alone London’s.
“We must adopt a zero-waste strategy – as has been done successfully in
parts of Australia and Canada – by improving re-use, composting and
recycling and cutting packaging.
“Landfill sites are increasingly scarce, expensive and toxic. Incinerators
discourage recycling (as they constantly need to be fed), consume millions
of gallons of increasingly scarce water and produce highly toxic discharges.
“The only way we can avoid drowning in a sea of waste is if Government takes
steps to stop us producing so much of it.”
The ‘waste importation apportionments’ are described in the South-East Plan,
a far-ranging document which will guide planning decisions on where to build
housing, shops, offices and factories in the region over the next two
decades. It contains proposals for 578,000 new homes to be constructed over
the next 20 years, many on open and protected or environmentally-vulnerable
sites. The Green Party has responded to the public consultation over the
plan, and Caroline has objected to the proposals, calling instead for an
increase in the provision of social housing through an effective strategy
for bringing empty homes back into use, more mixed-use developments with a
higher proportion of affordable housing, and a re-assessment of the region's
targets for economic growth.
The South-East plan is open for consultation until 23 June 2006 – after
which it will be adopted by Government and effectively become binding on all
local authority planning decisions.