Mayor urged over capital 'dumping rubbish on county'

The county of West Sussex is protesting to London Mayor Ken Livingstone to stop using the region as a dumping ground for rubbish.

West Sussex County Councillor John de Mierre is writing a letter to the mayor complaining that the county is forced to handle about 10% of London's waste.

He said he recognizes the fact that London has "a limited ability" to manage its own waste but claimed the capital was generating rubbish at an "unsustainable rate" which was threatening the communities of his county.

He went on: "I agree that we need a step change in how waste is managed if we are to meet the environmental challenges of dealing with waste in a more sustainable way.

"This means massively increasing recycling and composting, and managing waste within London rather than relying on unsustainable and diminishing landfill in surrounding regions.

"It seems that London needs both recycling facilities, and also new treatment facilities for managing waste that cannot be recycled.

"Some of London's waste authorities are currently failing to deliver this step change and seem content to rely on long-term disposal solutions outside the boundaries of London."

Mr Livingstone said: "It is completely unacceptable to have London continuing to export its waste to surrounding regions. London currently has a failing waste management system operated by 37 different waste authorities - it is complex, fragmented, with unclear lines of responsibility.

"The capital needs to deal with as much of its own waste as it can, however I have no powers to dictate where waste goes when it leaves London.

"Landfill targets outside of London are agreed by regional planning assemblies - I would welcome them, and members of West Sussex County Council, lobbying Defra and the body who represents London's boroughs, to ask for action to ensure London stops treating the home counties as a dumping ground".