Recycling truck tipping out recyclable material
Published date: 9 February 2024

NLWA budget for 2024-25 agreed

With the future of north London’s recycling and waste services now secured, thanks to strategic investment in advanced infrastructure to transform Edmonton EcoPark, the members of North London Waste Authority (NLWA) have agreed to the £93.9m budget for 2024-25.  

The budget will be funded by £8.8m in cash balances, £12.2m for commercial waste collections delivered by north London boroughs, and a levy of £72.9m for managing the household recycling and bin-bag waste thrown away by two million north London residents. 

NLWA is the statutory waste authority that serves seven north London boroughs including Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, and Waltham Forest. Two councillors from each borough sit as NLWA members to represent residents.  

Publicly owned, world-class recycling infrastructure is opening later this year at Edmonton EcoPark while the UK’s most advanced energy recovery facility is currently under construction. This new facility will replace the current energy-from-waste plant, preventing rubbish from going to landfill and using it instead to generate heat and power for local homes.  

NLWA works closely on financial planning with the boroughs and their financial directors to ensure both short- and long-term economic resilience. Together they work to ensure that council taxpayers consistently receive the best value-for-money.  

 NLWA Chair, Cllr Clyde Loakes, said: “Through long-term planning and futureproofing, we’ve been able to ensure that north London has reliable, effective, and sustainable recycling and waste services.  

“The fact too that the facilities at the EcoPark are publicly owned in perpetuity means that our boroughs will never have to scramble for private contractor services or pay them vast profit-driven sums. While any income received – whether through the sale of recycling or the generation of energy from bin-bag waste – will always be used to help to reduce costs for all north Londoners.”  

In its 2024-25 budget, NLWA has minimised inflationary pressures by using cash balances of £8.8m.  

This follows NLWA giving the boroughs an extraordinary £15m across 2022-24, which significantly reduced the cost of recycling and waste services for council taxpayers. This was because of unexpected extra income received by the publicly owned energy-from-waste facility at the EcoPark due to the global rise in energy prices. Commodity prices for recycling also skyrocketed.   

The Government has since imposed a windfall tax on all energy-from-waste facilities, including publicly owned facilities. At the same time, commodity prices for recycled materials have normalised.  

Cllr Loakes noted that the Government’s new electricity generator tax “would negatively impact residents because approximately £20m in 2024, which NLWA would have given to the boroughs to massively reduce their levies again, is instead being taken as tax by the Government.”  

Likewise, Cllr Loakes pointed out that waste authorities like NLWA were due to receive zero funding from the Government to assist with the purchase of capital assets to enable the compulsory collection of food waste from all households from 2026. While there is food waste recycling across north London, there are challenges specific to the urban environment such as access for flats-above-shops and on estates. Cllr Loakes urged the Government to rethink their funding approach to ensure the long-term success of food waste recycling.  

This coming financial year, NLWA is also incurring new planned costs as a result of investments which will significantly improve services for residents. These include costs associated with the brand-new recycling facilities at Edmonton EcoPark such as insurance and business rates. The advanced Resource Recovery Facility will begin fully operating this Spring and will process up to 135,000 tonnes of recyclable materials each year for the circular economy. The new facilities also include a public Recycling and Reuse Centre, and EcoPark House, a community and visitor centre, which will open in due course. 

NLWA’s budget also includes £250,000 in grants for community groups to run waste prevention activities, and £6.5m to run the network of seven Reuse and Recycling Centres for residents across north London.  

Cllr Loakes said: “Despite high levels of inflation, NLWA has been able to greatly minimise costs for council taxpayers whilst at the same time bring on board new and advanced infrastructure, which will ensure north London has world-class services for many decades to come.

The budget for 2024-25 was agreed yesterday, 8 February, at the public Authority meeting