Havering Recycling: a 1990s Time Warp

Havering is part of the East London Waste Authority (ELWA), along with three other boroughs. Their recycling policy is our policy. Their policy is more-or-less unchanged since the early 1990s. ELWA isn’t innovative. They shift tonnage as effectively as possible, making a good living out of it.1

They note, in a tone of regret, that their target tonnage was missed by 25,000 tonnes.2 ELWA seem oblivious to Climate Change and David Attenborough. Their cutting edge recycling policy is the bottle bank.

Havering isn’t a hapless victim in all of this. Havering Council endorses the moribund policies of ELWA. Osman Dervish is the chair of ELWA and Robert Benham is a prominent member. Havering’s politicians are movers and shakers in the ELWA set-up.

Havering has an Environment Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee. They don’t appear to realise what scrutiny means. None of their agendas have challenged the abysmal performance of ELWA in relation to recycling.3,4 Indeed the 20th February, 2019 meeting offers only vague aspirational tweaks to the current set-up. There’s nothing on investment or new, meaningful initiatives.

ELWA had an operating surplus of £7.2M5 and so there are funds available for capital investment in recycling and/or PR initiatives. I’d like to propose that Havering’s contract with ELWA is terminated because of poor performance, unless there is a sharp improvement in the next year.

1 http://eastlondonwaste.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/ELWA-Annual-Financial-Statements-2017-18-Audited-Final.pdf

2 ibid p4 para 3:1

3 Committee agendas helpfully tell councillors what they should be doing, see addendum. This sub-committee studiously ignores these prompts.

4 ibid p5 para 3:4

The committee received the ELWA report at their 4th December 2018 meeting, which was a jog-trot through their activities. See democracy.havering.gov.uk/documents/b8374/SUPPLEMENTARY%20AGENDA%2004th-Dec-2018%2019.00%20Environment%20Overview%20Scrutiny%20Sub-Committee.pdf?T=9 pp14-5

5 loc cit para 4:1


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