17 Feb 2009

London stinks!

Had this from Noel...not sure where he found it!


· Despite recent improvements, London continues to have the worst air pollution levels of any city in the UK and among the worst in Europe.[1]

· London’s ecological footprint is estimated at 293 times the size of London – twice the size of the entire UK.[2]

· London has the worst air pollution in the UK and amongst the worst in Europe. It is estimated that every year some 1,031 premature deaths and 1,088 hospital admissions occur due to poor air quality in London.

· 91% of new homes planned in the Thames Gateway fall within the floodplain. The ABI says over 5,000 new homes could be at ‘significant’ risk of flooding, unless extra precautions are taken. Climate change will raise sea levels in the Thames Estuary by up to 80cm.

· The cost of a major flood in London could top £30bn, and impact on 1.25m Londoners living in ‘at risk’ areas.[3]

· Before 1990 the average number of Thames barrier closures was one or two per year; in 2007 this had risen to 11 closures.[4]

· Rainwater and untreated sewage is discharged into the Thames 50-60 times per year because London’s system of drains, much of which date back to Victorian times, cannot cope with the volume of material that flows through them when it rains (even moderately) over London. This kills thousands of fish and can cause health problems.


· Londoners currently use an estimated 1.6 billion plastic and throwaway shopping bags a year, with fewer than one in 200 being recycled.[5]

· London produces over 18 million tonnes of waste every year and this is forecast to rise to 23 million tonnes in 2020. 23 million tonnes of waste is equivalent to more than 1.5 trillion empty drinks cans.

· London only recycles around 22% of its waste, and worst recycling rate in England. According to the Mayor London should be recycling 60% of everything in the bin.

· There are wide variations in recycling/composting rates amongst different boroughs, for instance

o Tower Hamlets – 12% [WORST in London]

o Barnet – 29% (In 2005 Barnet introduced compulsory recycling schemes which made it illegal to place certain recyclable waste such as paper, glass or cans in the general waste bin, with households failing to separate waste can be prosecuted.)

o Bexley – 40% [BEST in London]

· If London misses its targets for failing to divert waste away from landfill, estimates suggest that the city could face government fines of £1.7 billion between now and 2020. Local authorities currently pay £24 per tonnes of waste sent to landfill, rising to £43 per tonne in the next three years.

· Local authorities are failing to build the required waste facilities. The London Plan estimates that over 300 new waste facilities are required (200 Material Reclamation Facilites, 60 in-vessel composting, 27 anaerobic digestors, 14 gasification, 20 Mechanical biological treatment plants)

· With rising landfill taxes and lack of waste facilities, councils are likely to opt for incineration which adds to greenhouse gas emissions and environment pollution and becomes a hindrance to the development of a whole new green sector of industries for recycling and processing waste.

· Each adult receives on average 200 disposable carrier bags each year. Plastic bags can take 400 years to break down. London councils are seeking new powers to impose a bag levy or ban on plastic bags. In 2002 in Ireland a levy was introduced a tax (10p) which resulted in a 90% reduction in the use of throwaway plastic bags.

· Nearly one quarter of avoidable food waste is thrown away whole, untouched or unopened. This equates to 6.7 million tonnes of food a year, works out £420 for average UK household and £610 for household with children. (WRAP)

· Household recycling has gone up from 9% in 2000/2001 to 22.9% in 2006/07 but this is still the lowest regional percentage in the UK.[6]

· London produced 3,390,000 tonnes of household waste and 4,218,000 of municipal waste in 2006/07.[7]

[1] London Health Commission, Health in London, 2006/07 review of trends

[2] Greater London Authority, State of the Environment Report, 2003

[3] London Councils, London Bulletin – Sept/Oct 2008

[4] London Councils, London Bulletin – Sept/Oct 2008

[5] London Councils press release ‘London takes a lead on banning throw away shopping bags’ 13 November 2007

[6] London Plan annual monitoring report 2008 http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/planning/docs/monitoring_report4.pdf

[7] London Plan annual monitoring report 2008 http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/planning/docs/monitoring_report4.pdf

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