Councillor Champion, Executive Member Environment and Regeneration was present for discussion of this item. Keith Townsend, Director of Environment and Regeneration was also present
During consideration of the report the following main points were made –
· Members were informed that changes had been made to the format of the report and she would welcome Members comments in this regard
· It was stated that there had been an improvement in recycling figures form 27.1% in quarter 3 to 31.8% in quarter 4, giving a yearly total of 29.6%
· Residual waste was 353kg which is one of the lowest figures ever
· In response to a question, the recycling targets were 33% by 2020, and 36% by 2025, and the recycling rate was still one of the highest in London, however Islington did not have the benefit of organic waste recycling, which some outer London Boroughs had. Contamination of waste is also an issue and work is being undertaken on this
· Reference was made to the need to target food waste and that work is also taking place on a low plastic zone, in order to expand this with businesses
· In response to a question on recycling and challenges in tower blocks and difficulty of elderly people to use communal recycling areas, as these were usually situated at the bottom of the block, hence the use of refuse chutes, meeting was informed that work is taking place with tenants to get them to use recycling facilities and assist elderly neighbours in this area by encouraging caretakers and concierge to take a proactive role. The Corporate Director acknowledged that a lot of work is required on individual estates and importantly changing the behaviour of its residents. It was noted that in the past tenants had been encouraged to use refuse chutes, however behaviour change is required in general about recycling. Members were reminded that there are both physical and financial challenges especially with retrofitting some estate blocks.
· Approximately 50% of estates had a food waste service, and this is being rolled out to other estates, however it is an expensive service and is not well used at present
· In response to a question about the increase in fly tipping it was stated that it was unclear whether this was a trend, however COVID would no doubt lead to an increase
· A Member referred to the number of deaths/injuries to residents on roads, and if there were any more up to date figures available. It was stated that the figures were for 2018, however measures introduced would hopefully have the effect of reducing these numbers
· In response to a question on carbon emissions it was stated that following the electric refuse vehicle trial a vehicle had been purchased and is due for delivery later in the year
· It was noted that the Council has plans to reduce emissions from its Council fleet, however this is expensive process and at present modelling is taking place to move away from its diesel fleet in the next 10 years
· Members were informed that GLA funding had been agreed for £1.5m which will assist in the infrastructure for its fleet, which the Council is match funding.
· In response to a question it was stated that the Council’s fleet is a small part of the Council’s net carbon strategy, and further work needed to take place
The Chair thanked Councillor Champion and Keith Townsend for attending