London Environment Directors' Network

Working together to deliver a better environment for Londoners

New Publication:

The London Directors' Environment Network (LEDNet) and the Association of Directors of Public Health London (ADPH London) have prepared a joint position statement to set out how councils and their partners should be responding to the challenges of air pollution, including six priority recommendations for action.

You can download the position here.

You can download the executive summary here. 

What is LEDNet?

The London Environment Directors' Network (LEDNet) is the membership association for London’s Environment Directors. We work together to deliver more effective and efficient environmental services, as a key component of place-shaping. The outcomes we want to see are:

  • Increased adoption of circular economy approaches, reduced residual waste and increased recycling, cleaner air, more resilient green and blue infrastructure, a more resilient energy system and a thriving natural environment;

  • Increased adoption of best practice around digital solutions and SMART working, proactive use of effective demand management and behavioural change approaches and effective financial strategy; and

  • More cost-effective outcomes for London residents.

 

What does LEDNet do?

We are working towards our outcomes by:

  • Developing research, best practice and policy on environmental and place-shaping issues of strategic importance for London;

  • Influencing development of relevant policy and legislation at a national and regional level;

  • Providing a professional support network for LEDNet members; and

  • Facilitating collaboration between directors that contributes to London’s joint working.

 

Who does LEDNet work with?

In 2018, our key focus areas are waste and circular economy, air quality and transport, digital solutions, financial strategy and peer learning. You can find out more about all of these, below.

LEDNet works with a wide range of local and national government, private and third sector stakeholders to achieve its objectives. We have permanent representatives from the Greater London Authority and Transport for London who attend our meetings, and we collaborate with the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) on common issues. 

LEDNet has permanent representatives on the following boards:

 

Recent publications

LEDNet's response to the Waste and Resources Sector Deal Consultation, October 2019

ADPH London and LEDNet's Air Quality Position, September 2019

TEC-LEDNet joint response to Defra Waste Consultations on Reforming UK Packaging Producer Responsibility System, Deposit Return Scheme and Consistency in Household and Business Recycling Collections, May 2019

TEC-LEDNet joint statement on air quality and waste, February 2019

LEDNet's response to consultation of banning distribution and sales of straw, buds and stirrers, December 2018

LEDNet commissioned Keep Britain Tidy to produce, 'Understanding and tackling fly-tipping in London', July 2018

LEDNet position paper on London's resources and waste system, June 2018

LEDNet response to the HM Treasury consultation on taxing single use plastics, May 2018

LEDNet response to the consultation on the new draft London Plan, March 2018

LEDNet developed Waste Management Planning Advice for New Flatted Properties with LWARB, published in 2017

LEDNet funded a cost of contamination toolkit, in partnership with Resource London

LEDNet commissioned Eunomia to produce a Guide to Improving Waste Management in the Domestic Rented Sector, with Resource London, published in 2016

 

Key contacts

Our Chair is Dan Jones, Divisional Director of Public Realm at LB Tower Hamlets.

Our Vice Chair is Dipti Patel, Assistant Director for Environment at LB Havering.

Kate Hand is the LEDNet Principal Policy and Projects Officer. Contact her at [email protected] or 020 7934 9898.  You can contact Kate for any inquiries about LEDNet, including requests for press interviews and statements from our Chair.

Arafat Jalal is the Assistant LEDNet Policy and Projects Officer. Contact him at [email protected] or 020 7934 9657 for inquiries regarding meeting dates and queries.

Spotlight: working with Keep Britain Tidy on fly-tipping

 

Understanding and Tackling Fly-tipping in London

 

LEDNet are working together with Keep Britain Tidy to understand fly-tipping in London, and design interventions that can effectively address it.

Fly-tipping is a huge problem in London, and one that's growing. Levels of fly-tipping increased by over 14% in just one year, from 2015/16 to 2016/17, with over 366,000 reported incidents. Just three boroughs, Newham, Haringey and Enfield, together spend around £7m clearing up fly-tipping; together, London boroughs spend over £!8m a year on fly-tipping.

Our research looked at:

  • levels of fly-tipping that councils are dealing with, what that costs are, and the measures councils are taking to tackle this issue;
  • behavioural drivers that lead to fly-tipping in London;
  • public perceptions of fly-tipping in London; and
  • co-designing interventions based on this research to effectively address the problem.

You can read our stage one report here.

The recommendations are:

  1. Treat the fly-tipping of black bags/cardboard waste separately from bulky waste, as their behavioural drivers are different
  2. Use relevant images when communicating about fly-tipping
  3. Use plainer and more specific language when communicating about fly-tipping
  4. Extend communications about how waste services work and consider use of valuesbased communications to strengthen personal responsibility for waste
  5. Reduce the hassle factor and make bulky waste simpler and easier to dispose of
  6. Ensure that current policies and services do not unintentionally drive fly-tipping
  7. Encourage residents to maximise their bin capacity and avoid generating waste to help reduce excess waste and related fly-tipping
  8. Increase the perceived threat of enforcement with residents, landlords and businesses

 

Stage Two of the research has begun and is piloting six of the interventions that have been developed through Stage One: 

  1. Values-based Messaging - Suggesting the wider social impacts and opportunity costs of fly-tipping by replacing fly-tips with messages showing the social costs.
  2. CSI Tape - Wrapping fly-tips in crime scene tape to demonstrate the importance of tackling fly-tipping.
  3. Doorstepping - Face-to-face engagement with residents and/or businesses on their doorstep to raise awareness of the issues of fly-tipping.
  4. Beautification - Working with residents to beautify eight fly-tipping hotspots within a borough. Residents will compete to reduce fly-tipping at their chosen site and the winner will receive a beautification prize for their local area.
  5. Welcome Packs - Developing and piloting welcome packs for residents and/or businesses. The welcome packs will describe ways to effectively manage waste and their responsibilities regarding waste.
  6. Commercial Waste - Proactive engagement with local businesses to encourage them to sign up to the commercial waste collection provided by the council.

 

If you'd like to find out more about this research, please contact:

Arafat Jalal, Assistant Policy and Project Officer - LEDNet | [email protected] | 020 7934 9657

Rose Tehan, Research and Innovation Development Manager | [email protected] | 020 7420 4432

Waste and the circular economy

The draft London Environment Strategy has set out the following targets for London’s waste system:

  • by 2026, zero biodegradable or recyclable waste to landfill
  • by 2025, 50% local authority collected waste recycled
  • by 2030, 65% municipal waste recycled
  • by 2041, zero waste
  • by 2050, zero carbon

To support this, the Mayor expects that waste authorities will deliver:

  • a minimum collection of the six main dry recycling materials for all kerbside serviced properties
  • a separate weekly food waste collection for all properties with kerbside recycling collections, extended to flats where viable

LEDNet supports the ambition for London to be a zero waste city. However, it will be incredibly challenging. There needs to be clear, shared understanding between boroughs and the GLA on how recycling targets can be reached in the current financial climate.

One important element of this is Extended Producer Responsibility, which can provide real additional funding to support increased recycling. Currently, producers only fund around 10% of the costs of collecting the material they produce, and we don’t think this constitutes fair application of the polluter pays principle.

Flats will continue to present a real challenge to effective recycling and waste disposal. The planning system has a key role to play here, both through the London Plan and the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

We believe there should be far greater emphasis on waste minimisation, through the right combination of incentives and penalties for producers (also part of Extended Producer Responsibility), with coordinated national communication campaigns to address behavioural change, supported by local authorities.

A number of organisations have already begun to address coffee cups in London and we feel these should be supported by the Mayor with an aim to expanding to other organisations and sectors, with perhaps an increased focus on tackling plastic bottles.

Linking to air quality, we would like to see more emphasis in London on route optimisation for waste vehicles. Continuing to review routes and also the use of new technologies where appropriate, like smart bins, can reduce the number of vehicles on the road and make collections more efficient.

Incineration tax is proposed to discourage waste disposal authorities from using energy from waste (EfW) facilities by making it more expensive and therefore incentivise authorities to secure more recyclate from the waste they collect. As an alternative to introducing a tax on EfW, HM Treasury should work with Defra to strengthen the requirements for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and measures to deliver the Single Use Plastics Directive.   

On May 209, LEDNet have released a joint statement with the Transport and Environment Committee (TEC) on consultations proposed by Defra on reforming UK packaging producer responsibility, deposit return scheme and consistency in household and business recycling collections.

 

Recent LEDNet publications relating to waste and the circular economy

 

Air quality and transport

Air pollution poses a major public health and environmental threat to Londoners, and it is a key focus area for LEDNet members. Boroughs are taking action across London on air pollution, finding innovative ways to tackle this issue.

LEDNet supports the Mayor of London’s call for a new national Clean Air Act that fully recognises the magnitude of the air quality crisis that London, and the UK as a whole, faces. On exiting the European Union, the UK will need to at least maintain current pollution limits, and provide local authorities with more resources to improve air quality.

At a London level, transport is the major source of air pollution emissions; LEDNet wants to see the development of a clean and efficient London-wide transport network, including less traffic and cleaner vehicles. LEDNet is represented on the Go Ultra Low City Scheme, which is working to deliver electric charging infrastructure across London.

Looking at non-transport sources, we believe that boroughs need more powers to control emissions from Non-Road Mobile Machinery and construction practices, recognising the cumulative effect that development is having across the city. Large generators (particularly diesel generators) also represent a significant source of emissions that must be addressed, including through suitable retrofit solutions. LEDNet would welcome more of a focus on combustion-free energy sources, such as solar and fuel cells. We support the proposal for a London Combined Heat and Power (CHP) register to improve coordination of installations, given the potential issues of too much gas and biomass being installed. We would welcome further borough control over on-site CHP in areas that exceed air quality limits.

The London Plan has a key role to play in bringing London’s air pollution under control, and to do so it must recognise the cumulative impacts of development, and the significant air pollution hotspots represented by TfL and Highways Agency controlled roads. It should clarify that any exposure over legal limits is unacceptable, and introduce a robust ‘air quality positive’ policy.

We welcome the Mayor of London’s commitment to work with boroughs who are keen to develop local zero emission zones, but feel that there should be flexibility on the approach to implementation.

LEDNet have submitted a joint air quality position statement with ADPH London on 22 September 2019.

 

Recent LEDNet publications relating to air quality and transport

 

Digital solutions

LEDNet members are keenly interested in how digital solutions can help to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of services for residents. Many are already operating or trialling digital or ‘smart’ solutions. For example, ‘big belly’ bins in Newham and Waltham Forest let operators know when they’re full, reducing the need for collection runs; Islington Council have introduced an app that tells people where they can find parking spaces in the borough.

LEDNet are advancing their understanding of new digital opportunities through engagement with the Sharing Cities project. This EU funded project is seeking to develop affordable, integrated commercial-scale smart city solutions. For example, smart lamp posts that integrate lighting with electric vehicle charging, traffic monitoring and WiFi. In London, the Royal Borough of Greenwich is implementing Sharing Cities, testing technologies including smart lamp posts.

To date, we have contributed to Sharing Cities research that seeks to understand more about current and planned deployment of smart measures, as well the level of strategic ambition in this area, and openness to collaboration. Going forward, we’ll be discussing with Sharing Cities which technological solutions might be of interest to other London boroughs.

LEDNet are also engaging with London Ventures to identify where new ventures could be developed to address pressing issues facing environment directors. London Ventures is a Capital Ambition-funded programme, led by London Councils and EY, which assesses ventures to ensure that they're suitable for public sector implementation, and identifies opportunities for local authorities to use these solutions to achieve savings, increase investment and deliver better outcomes for Londoners.

LEDNet are collaborating with EY on "project sparrow" - an innovation project designed to address the issues of air quality, waste and energy. EY have conducted research into these issues and derived problem statements using data and anecdotal evidence. These statements have been prioritised based on the data and where LEDNet can work collaboratively to address these issues. There is due to be a workshop on project sparrow, where the statements would then be revised based on feedback and further refined following conversations with experts and release the finalised data prospectus and problem statements. 

LEDNet have held a discussion group, hosted at Google, where suggestions of LEDNet supporting a suite of themed events were made to understand the role of technology and data for tackling practical issues facing environmental services. The following themes were identified:

  1. Understanding the possibilities - real practical examples of technology and data being used innovatively across the world. 
  2. Environment - health and well-being of citizens by exploring Cleantech/Greentech products and services. 
  3. Transport - exploration of Traveltech products and services for services within transport such as parking, logistics and transport planning. 
  4. Safety - exploration of Safetech products and services for personal and community safety including crimes, policing and community empowerment. 
  5. Development - exploration of Proptech products and services for innovative building methods and new strategies to tackling planning. 
  6. Data Leadership and Skills - exploration of the role of leaders in data literacy and ensuring interoperability. 

LEDNet will be working to take these themes forward. 

Financial strategy

The significant financial pressures on local government have been well-reported, and are a core area of work across London Councils.

Within LEDNet, we are considering how savings can be made most effectively, but also examining options for innovation and new tools for income generation. Commercialisation of services is an area that many councils are considering, as they seek to modernise whilst addressing financial pressures.

Peer learning

We are developing our work in this area, building on the experience of other officer networks hosted by London Councils.

LEDNet are looking to establish a peer learning schemes which would allow London's Boroughs to learn and improve from one another as well as work together to achieve the targets set to improve London's environment. The schemes are peer mentoring, peer review, discussion groups and site visits. 

LEDNet are developing a peer mentoring scheme and holding discussion groups on transport technology, household and commercial waste and recycling technology as well as the roles of local authorities on meeting the Paris agreement 1.5-degree target.

LEDNet are also looking to increase members' understanding of best practice and innovation. This would be accomplished by hosting site visits to some of London's exemplar projects. 

LEDNet have established a peer review scheme and have completed peer reviews in five areas: markets, enforcement, cleansing, parking and parks and open spaces.