A composite of several images of NLWA operations, such as reuse and recycling centres and the Edmonton Ecopark
Published date: 13 June 2023

Independent review praises North London Waste Authority

 An independent peer review by the Local Government Association (LGA) of North London Waste Authority (NLWA) has found its staff and Members to be dedicated to the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ cause.

The LGA peer review team were impressed by innovations such as the recycling of mattresses: since June 2021, NLWA has recycled almost 145,000. 

The team commended NLWA’s diligence in delivering essential public services to dispose of north Londoners’ residual waste as well as the ongoing redevelopment of Edmonton EcoPark. NLWA’s work on carbon capture and storage for the new Energy Recovery Facility at Edmonton EcoPark was considered “impressive and ambitious” and that the technology could “bring great benefit locally”.

The LGA peer review was conducted over four days in January and included a visit to new facilities under construction at Edmonton EcoPark, as well as more than 35 meetings and 52 interviews. The seven LGA-appointed members of the team all have considerable senior local government experience in a range of fields including finance and governance. 

The team found significant strengths within NLWA and that it “works collaboratively and with purpose” with the seven north London boroughs it serves, “to deliver day-to-day waste processing and minimisation services, while successfully managing a major redevelopment of the Edmonton EcoPark site to provide innovative new facilities to enable constituent boroughs and residents to meet their waste and recycling ambitions”.

Notably, the LGA peer review team observed among staff and Members “a passion for the work they do to reduce waste and inform, educate, and influence recycling and reuse behaviours”.

The team also found NLWA is strong on political leadership, that finances are well managed, and that the relationship between NLWA and its boroughs is collegial and robust particularly with the boroughs’ Directors of Environment and Directors of Finance. 

NLWA was commended for its ambitious job creation strategy in the redevelopment of Edmonton EcoPark, which includes 100 skilled apprenticeships and 225 on-site skills training placements. The peer review team highlighted NLWA’s work to reduce waste at the grassroots via its significant grant funding of £250,000 to community groups to run waste reduction initiatives.

NLWA Chair, Cllr Clyde Loakes, sincerely thanked the LGA and the peer review team members for their time, insights, and recommendations, and said: “It is very reassuring that independent experts, who understand the myriad of complex issues associated with the work we are involved in, appointed by the highly respected LGA, have given NLWA such a positive assessment. They observed how dedicated my colleagues are in working to reduce the consequences of unsustainable levels of consumption.

We greatly value the intellect and time that has gone into the peer review team’s recommendations to help us improve and excel further. We’ve already begun to act and plan on all ten of the peer review’s recommendations. 

“For instance, one of the recommendations is that we provide even more co-ordination and leadership on waste reduction and recycling. Following on from our success in recycling tricky-to-recycle items such as mattresses and polystyrene and pulling out DIY materials for reuse, we’re now tackling hard plastics such as broken garden furniture and toys.

“NLWA will keep planning and acting to reduce waste wherever possible while building world-class infrastructure to maintain the long-term stability of services.”