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Published date: 19 January 2024

North London Waste Authority reveals residents’ top environmental priorities

Public engagement run by the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) and seven north London boroughs has revealed what residents want to see to make north London more sustainable.

NLWA Chair Councillor Clyde Loakes said: “When we asked residents how to make north London a greener place, top of their list was reducing carbon emissions and using the earth’s resources wisely.

“North Londoners are committed to improving our city’s sustainability, and they have clear ambitions for how to make it happen.”

Community views were collected as part of a recent ‘listening exercise’ conducted by NLWA and seven north London boroughs. The exercise was designed to help residents contribute to the new Joint Waste Strategy, which will set out the overarching vision that will guide NLWA’s work over the coming years and help it continue delivering high-quality services to residents.

Over 2,100 people participated in the listening exercise, responding through an online survey, pop-up events and focus groups. Councillor Loakes explained: “By getting such a strong response from the public, we can be sure NLWA’s future approach is driven by what north Londoners want to see in their local community.”

The listening exercise explored how residents would like to see waste reduction and sustainability achieved in north London. Reducing carbon emissions was a top priority for many, with nearly half of all participants choosing this as a key way to improve north London’s environmental outcomes.

North Londoners once again showed that they want to make positive environmental choices and want public services that help them do so. More than three quarters of respondents said an important action for local authorities was providing accessible and easy-to-use recycling services, demonstrating residents’ eagerness to do the right thing when it comes to making sure their waste is disposed of properly.

There was a strong consensus among residents about the choices retailers and manufacturers could make to be more sustainable. More than 80% of participants agreed that manufacturers could support better environmental outcomes by minimising the packaging they use on their products.

North Londoners were clear on what central government needs to do to take responsibility for driving change. A majority of respondents pointed to legislative action that would increase sustainability, such as banning non-recyclable items and making manufacturers responsible for disposal of their products.

Councillor Loakes reflected on the role of government, saying: “NLWA understands the importance of building a circular economy, but we can’t do it alone. The actions our residents want to see require commitment from manufacturers and from government.

“We’ll continue to put pressure on central government to make sure north Londoners’ environmental priorities are at the top of the national agenda.”

NLWA is clear about central government’s responsibility to improve waste management and promote a circular economy in the UK. NLWA has repeatedly called on government to prioritise waste management and circular economy reforms, and advocated for specific actions central government could take to improve the UK’s sustainability. What central government can do outlines some of these actions, and explains why they are so critically needed.

A formal public consultation will begin in 2024 as NLWA develops the Joint Waste Strategy. Residents will have the opportunity to comment on a draft version of the strategy, expected to be released mid-2024.