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Waste Management Planning Advice for New Flatted Properties – April 2015


In 2014, the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and London Environment Directors Network (LEDNET) commissioned a consultancy partnership formed by SOENECS Ltd  BPP Consulting LLP​ (SOENECS & BPP) to develop planning advice covering waste management in flatted properties. The requirement included preparation of template planning policy or policies, for inclusion in Borough Local Plans, setting out how waste and recyclate should be stored and collected in new build flatted properties. Full details of the project and the outputs have been published on the LWARB website here.



The European Commission has issued a communication proposing municipal waste re-use and recycling targets of 70 per cent by 2030. England has a current target to recycle and compost 50% of household waste by 2020. This target is reflected in the Mayor of London's Municipal Waste Management Strategy[1] and the London Plan[2].  The recently adopted Further Alterations to the London Plan (FALP)[3] project that population growth will rise beyond that predicted in the 2011 London Plan. The FALP projects that there will be an additional 1,000,000 households in London by 2036. It is likely that a large number of the required new homes will be medium to high density developments. A well-designed waste management system will need to be a fundamental consideration in the design and planning process because 80% of all environmental costs are predetermined during the conception and design phase of a project[4]. Methods and infrastructure associated with managing waste need to be considered comprehensively at this stage as there is limited scope to introduce better management systems once a building has been constructed. 


A working group comprising members of LEDNET, LWARB and London local authority waste officers identified a needed for guidance for local authority planning officers and developers setting out how to effectively plan and design suitable storage and collection systems for waste and recyclate in flatted properties.

The Project

In order to establish current best practice, initial work involved literature reviews; assessment of existing planning policy; workshops with a diverse range of stakeholders; a survey of London Borough planning authorities and development of London, UK and international case studies. The conclusions of this work are set out in section 8 of the Project Report and key conclusions are provided below:



  • All developers need to consider recycling and waste management systems at the early stage of design and planning;
  • Planning Policy officers need to liaise with Development Management officers to help ensure policies can be implemented effectively and are likely to have the desired outcomes; and
  • Borough planning officers need to liaise closely with waste management officers (and operators/collectors) when preparing plans and/or guidance and when dealing with applications from the pre-application stage through to determination.


Policy and guidance

  • Clear planning policy is needed that provides certainty over waste management requirements for consideration by developers and 'has teeth' when applications are determined;
  • Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) that include more detail on the requirements of planning policies have weight but need clear policy on which to be based and can take time and resources to prepare – various alternative options exist that may be more appropriate to different authorities.



  • Even basic consideration of storage and collection systems in design will be helpful e.g. the environment in which containers are placed, internal storage, ease of access,participation etc.;
  • moving towards an 'ideal' development, where high rates of material separation (to contribute to 50-70% recycling) is the ultimate goal; and
  • Developers, architects, managing agents, planners and waste managers need plan development holistically and consider waste as a fourth utility.


Project Outputs

The findings lead to five distinct outputs that are considered will assist in improving the management of waste in new flatted developments as follows:

These  documents have been written as stand-alone items for adoption, use and sharing by the waste and resources management,  planning and development communities. "Road-testing" of the template planning policy and waste management strategy has been undertaken through consultation with Association of London Borough Planning Officers (ALBPO), the Catapult for Future Cities, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) resources panel and architect practices. The project outputs were launched to London Boroughs at meetings of Borough planning officers and waste officers in March 2015.





[4] Sophie Thomas RSA Great Recovery – speech at RWM 2014​