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13th August 2002:

Londoners running up massive debt on Earth's resources

 

6th September 2002:

After the Earth Summit: Can London be sustainable?

Press Release 13th August 2002

LONDONERS RUNNING UP MASSIVE DEBT ON EARTH'S RESOURCES

Note: The full City Limits Report will be launched on 10 September by the Deputy Mayor of London, Nicky Gavron.

Londoners consume more than three times their fair share of the earth's resources, according to a new report due to be published next month.

The City Limits Report reveals each Londoner has an ecological footprint of 6.63 global hectares (gha). That is, each person in London would require an area roughly equivalent to eight football pitches to provide for their current levels of consumption and absorb their wastes. The current calculation for a sustainable footprint is 2.18 global hectares.

London is the first major city to measure its resource consumption and footprint in such detail. The City Limits report sets out all the consumption and waste patterns of Londoners which contribute to their footprint and suggests possible scenarios for reducing impact in the future. The report is due to be launched on 10 September just after the Johannesburg Summit.

Oswald Dodds, chairman of the City Limits Steering Group said:

"Londoners are running up an environmental debt that will have to be paid for by increased spending on clearing up waste and restoring the environment. Managing the debt is the responsibility of the City's leaders and we are now presenting them with the data to make the necessary decisions. We need to get serious about managing our environment in just the same way as we manage our economy."

The biggest contributors to Londoners' ecological footprints are materials and waste, and food. Energy, transport and water are relatively low contributors. The diagram below makes this even clearer.

City Limits 

Paper and plastics are the biggest hitters in the material and wastes footprint. Paper's large contribution is accounted for partly by the large quantities Londoners use, 2,908,000 tonnes. Plastic is also a very heavy contributor. Londoners consume less plastic than paper - 691,000 tonnes - but because it is derived from fossil fuel and very little is currently re-cycled, plastic makes up a large part of the average Londoner's footprint. For example Londoners consume 94 million litres of mineral water every year. This alone gives rise to 2,260 tonnes of plastic.

The waste from homes, industry, commerce and construction companies in London is 26 million tonnes, enough to fill the Albert Hall 265 times. However construction and demolition materials leave a smaller footprint because 72% of materials are re-used and recycled and they are not as resource intensive. 

Forty one per cent of the Ecological Footprint (2.80 gha) is accounted for by the food Londoners eat (2.80 gha). The average Londoner consumes approximately 10 times their own body weight in food each year. In total London consumes 6.9 million tonnes of food, more than three quarters of which is imported. London throws away 560,000 tonnes of food as waste.

Meat is the biggest contributor to the food component followed by pet food and milk - 28%, 15% and 12% respectively. The production of meat involves the consumption of many resources, for example feeds for livestock and fuel for transport.

Londoners' use of transport creates a smaller footprint, 0.34 gha compared to the UK average of 0.97 gha. Londoners use more public transport: for example each London bus has on average 28 occupants compared with a 12 person average in the rest of the UK.

London's total energy use is 154,407 GigaWatt hours. Water consumption is 866,000 megalitres of which 28% is due to leakage. However water accounts for a relatively low part of the ecological footprint.

The report sets out scenarios for the future. If we continue current trends, household waste will grow at 3% each year and by 2020 generate 5,672,000 tonnes compared to the 3,400,000 tonnes currently. However if we recycled at the target rate proposed by the GLA, we would still have to dispose of 3,628,000 tonnes - more than was landfilled in 2000. Even if higher recycling rates were feasible, the findings suggest more waste reduction has to be another policy target. Food transport, electricity and passenger transport are also examined in future scenarios.

The City Limits Report will be launched on 10 September by the Deputy Mayor of London, Nicky Gavron.

ENDS

For further information and to arrange briefings and interviews contact:

  • Laura Noble or Ron Finlay 020 7839 4321 or firstname.lastname@fishburn-hedges.co.uk

Notes to Editors

·       City Limits is the name of the research project conducted by leading environmental consultancy Best Foot Forward, commissioned by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management Environmental Body, and funded by the Biffaward Programme, Greater London Authority, and Institution of Civil Engineers.

·       The Report is part of the Biffaward Programme on Sustainable Resource Use. The aim of the programme is to provide accessible, well researched information about flows of different resources through the UK economy to provide for cost effective management. The data and information will be gathered together in a common format to facilitate policy making at corporate, regional and national levels.

·       Best Foot Forward Limited (BFF) is a sustainability consultancy based in Oxford.  BFF have developed the EcoIndex(tm) methodology, based on ecological footprinting <http://www.bestfootforward.com/footprinting2.htm>, which is used to calculate the environmental impact and sustainability of a product, organisation, process or activity.  BFF's ecological footprint of the Isle of Wight was voted Overall Winner at the Biffaward Awards 2001.    www.bestfootforward.com

·       In 1997 Biffa Waste Services agreed to donate landfill tax credits to the Royal Society for Nature Conservation (RSNC) to administer under the fund name Biffaward.  To date, Biffaward has distributed Ł39,786,170 to more than 500 projects throughout the UK.  www.biffaward.org

·       The Mayor and the London Assembly constitute a strategic citywide government for London, and is the statutory authority for the Greater London region.  Responsibilities include the police, transport, fire and emergency planning, regeneration, planning, sustainability and environmental issues, cultural affairs and health concerns.  www.london.gov.uk

·       The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is the pre-eminent engineering institution in the world.  It has 78,000 members and provides a voice for civil engineering, professional development and promoting best practice in the industry.  In 2000, ICE and CIWM agreed to instigate and co-ordinate a programme of activities funded by landfill tax credits, of which City Limits forms part.  www.ice.org.uk

·       IWM (EB), Chartered Institution of Wastes Management Environmental Body, is a registered environmental body that sponsors original research, development, education and information dissemination projects to further professional and sustainable waste management practices. 

·       The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) is the pre-eminent body in the UK engaged in waste management.  It has over 5,000 members, and aims to protect and enhance the environment through developing scientific, technical and management standards.  City Limits is a natural follow-on to CIWM's interest in improving the quality of data available for the management of London's wastes.

**************************************************
Laura Noble
Fishburn Hedges, 77 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6SR
Tel: 020 7839 4321, Fax: 020 7242 4202
http://www.fishburn-hedges.com
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After the Earth Summit: Can London be sustainable?

 Friday, 6th September 2002

Following the Earth Summit, a new study has found that tough action is needed if London is to become a sustainable city. 

 

City Limits, a substantial new study and the first to comprehensively measure London’s use of natural resources is being launched on September 10th at The Institution of Civil Engineers, London.  Prepared by sustainability experts, Best Foot Forward, the project was commissioned by the IWM (EB), the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management Environmental Body, with funding from Biffaward, the Greater London Authority and The Institution of Civil Engineers.  

 

Backed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, the study has been documented in an accessible 60 page report and is supported by a website where further data and an interactive personal ‘footprint’ calculator can be found. 

 

The project undertook two key analyses, for the year 2000, looking at both the resource consumption and ecological footprint of Londoners. 

It was found that, overall, Londoners consume approximately 3 times their ‘fair share’ of the world’s resources.  In other words, if everyone in the world consumed the same as the average Londoner we would need at least 2 extra planets. 

 

City Limits calculated that in 2000 the average Londoner:

  • Consumed 13 MWh of gas and electricity (less than 1% of which was from renewable sources),

·         Consumed almost 5 tonnes of materials,

·         Travelled over 8,400 km (two thirds of which was by car),

·         Ate their way through more that 680 kg of food (81% was imported from outside the UK),

·         Produced half a tonne of household waste (less than 10% of which was recycled)  and

·         Used 58,000 litres of water.

 

Looking into the future, the report sets out scenarios for achieving a sustainable London by 2050.  It is calculated that a 35% reduction in consumption is needed by 2020 to achieve sustainability by 2050.  The interim 2020 targets could only be met, claims the report, if a more revolutionary approach to resource management were adopted, for example:

·         Electricity: Targets for CO2 reduction could be met if 10% of London’s electricity demand could be sourced from local (off-grid) renewable energy schemes (such as solar roofs) and 38% of grid electricity is produced by renewable schemes (such as wind power), and

·         Waste: even if all recyclable households waste materials were recycled this would, in itself, be insufficient to achieve the necessary resource savings. Efforts need to focus on waste minimisation.

The City Limits study forms part of the larger Biffaward Programme on Sustainable Resource Use. 

 

Further information and contact details:

Nicola Jenkin, Best Foot Forward, The Future Centre, 115 Magdalen Road, Oxford, OX4 1RQ.  Tel:  01865 250818  E-mail:  nicola@bestfootforward.com

 

Project website:

To download free copies of the report, access data sheets and use the interactive scenario model visit the project website www.citylimitslondon.com

 

Editor notes:

City Limits report launch:  10 September 2002, The Institution of Civil Engineers, One Great George Street, London.  Further details, contact:  Sarah Croom-Johnson, Fishburn & Hedges, Tel: 020 7839 4321  E-mail:  mailto:sarah.croom-johnson@fishburn-hedges.co.uk

 

Best Foot Forward   www.bestfootforward.com

Best Foot Forward Ltd is a sustainability consultancy based in Oxford.  BFF’s ecological footprint of the Isle of Wight was voted Overall Winner at the Biffaward Awards 2001.

 

IWM (EB), the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management Environmental Body

A registered environmental body that sponsors research, development, education and information dissemination projects.

 

The Institution of Civil Engineers   www.ice.org.uk

Is the pre-eminent engineering institution in the world.

 

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management   www.ciwm.co.uk

Is the pre-eminent body in the UK engaged in waste management issues.

Greater London Authority   www.london.gov.uk

The Mayor and the London Assembly constitute a strategic citywide government for London, and is the statutory authority for the Greater London region.