Can we build a circular economy by 2050? Waste experts discuss how London can prepare for the future of resource management

The final lecture of the Engineering the Future: London 2050 series saw leading industry figures discuss how London can improve how it deals with waste

From left to right: Jim Brennan, West London Waste Authority and ICE London and South East Waste Panel Chair, Rainer Zimmann, Arup, Peter Gerstrom Cory Environmental and Andrew Richmond, GLA
From left to right: Jim Brennan, West London Waste Authority and ICE London and South East Waste Panel Chair, Rainer Zimmann, Arup, Peter Gerstrom Cory Environmental and Andrew Richmond, GLA

The final lecture of the Engineering the Future: London 2050 series, entitled "Waste, sustainable solutions" was held on Monday 16th November in association with Cory Environmental.

The event began with an overview of the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 by Andrew Richmond, Senior Manager for Sustainable Energy at the Greater London Authority. Andrew set out what the GLA is doing to improve resource management within the city, particularly to lower the amount of waste going to landfills. More than 65% of London's municipal waste is sent to a landfill or incinerator each year costing London's boroughs £250 million in gate fees alone, a figure the GLA are seeking to reduce.

After Andrew's presentation, a panel discussion was held with senior members of the industry. Peter Gerstrom, CEO of Cory Environmental and Rainer Zimmann, UKMEA Waste Business Leader at Arup joined Andrew for the discussion which was chaired by Jim Brennan, Director of the West London Waste Authority and ICE London and South East Waste Panel Chair.

The panel of experts discussed various issues surrounding resource management in London
The panel of experts discussed various issues surrounding resource management in London

Peter Gerstrom outlined how the Capital could put its waste to better use, especially in regards to heat generation. He said that the construction sector was one particular area where all waste could be reused.

Rainer Zimmann set out how London could become a circular economy, highlighting the work of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the need for policy makers to show that a circular economy is not at the expense of economic success, but instead can actually boost economic growth.

The Engineering the Future: London 2050 series examined the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 which was launched after a three month consultation by the Mayor of London and was the first attempt to set out the full range of infrastructure requirements for the capital over the next 35 years, during which time the population of London is forecast to increase by 37 per cent to more than 11 million people.

ICE London would like to thank Cory Environmental for sponsoring the event, to Andy Richmond, Peter Gerstrom and Rainer Zimmann for speaking and to Jim Brennan for chairing.

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