By Jennifer Sprinks
The cost to London councils of meeting their waste targets is expected to soar by 50% over the next 15 years, according to a report.
Doing nothing will be even more expensive, adds the report, launched by Cranfield University's Integrated Waste Management Centre and consultants Mouchel Parkman.
A failure to invest in new infrastructure could lead to at least a quarter of waste disposal costs being squandered on landfill tax, which could top£2.1bn, it adds.
Director of waste at Mouchel Parkman, Robert Ryan, said: 'The clock is ticking with the first landfill directive target hitting in four years.'
However, tight expenditure from the Treasury on waste management issues means councils do not have the funds to apply methods to meet government targets.
Speaking at the report's launch, Institution of Highways & Transportation president and Mouchel Parkman consultant, David Hutchinson, said funding is failing to match councils' increasing costs.
'The funding is not there to do what the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs wants [councils] to do and it is not even keeping in pace with inflation.
'So this is an opportunity for the Greater London Authority and Association of London Government to go to government with some objective data to explain what the funding is for and how much councils need.'
The research stems from a two-year Waste Modelling for London project managed by the GLA, the ALG and London Remade to help councils develop waste strategies.
The report was met with caution by London councils, who argue the findings are based on inconsistent data and unrealistic assumptions.
One waste officer asked: 'If we are going to use the model to consider having a single waste authority for London, how much reliance is going to be placed on the findings if we can't base it on reliable data?'
The next phase of research will identify technological barriers for managing waste.