This summer, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced a new partnership with local authorities and housing associations to build nearly 50,000 new affordable homes to rent and buy. The announcement of an estimated £1.7bn investment will see 49,398 genuinely affordable homes being built, with new homes in all 32 boroughs and the City of London. They will be delivered by 44 housing providers – including large and small housing associations, as well as nine London councils.
City Hall has allocations for about 30,000 homes in place from bids made prior to the current round. Together with the 30,000 homes previously agreed and a further £446m available for when bidding re-opens later this year, this latest announcement will contribute to the Mayor’s ambitious target of starting 90,000 new affordable homes by 2021.
The scale of London’s housing plans presents outstanding opportunities, not just for the many thousands of people who live and work in the capital and are in desperate need of affordable accommodation, but also for the architects and developers who will bring these plans to fruition.
Those opportunities include the creation of modern, comfortable homes that utilise space in an imaginative and innovative way – a crucial consideration, given the high price of land in the capital. And an effective way of achieving this goal is to install underground waste management systems like those offered by Plastic Omnium.
They provide a clean, safe and attractive alternative to bin stores and can, over the longer term, deliver attractive levels of savings for developers and local authorities alike. Eight underground containers, each of 5m3 capacity and emptied twice a week, are capable of serving 1,000 residents. Furthermore, they occupy a smaller footprint than three parking spaces, encourage greater rates of recycling and are significantly quieter to empty. When these factors are placed alongside the systems’ aesthetic qualities – waste collection points are sleek, easy to clean and maintain, and help to keep the surrounding areas free of mess – they may indeed, as the national press recently claimed, herald ‘the end of the wheelie bin’.
However, the cost savings that arise from improved utilisation of space are not the only financial benefits delivered by underground waste systems. Purchasing the systems puts an end to the ongoing cost of renting wheeled bins and replacing broken ones. They can be emptied by one man and a truck, instead of the crews of typically four or five who deal with wheeled bins. Street waste and vermin are reduced, whilst recycling rates are increased.
And, vitally, all the available evidence indicates that providing high quality, safe communal spaces, including the installation of underground systems, enhances the wellbeing of residents. Working with Poplar HARCA in East London, Plastic Omnium has installed 183 underground waste management systems. Customer survey figures show that, before the installation, satisfaction with the quality of the estates stood at 69.2%. Three years later, following the installation, satisfaction had risen to 88%.
So, Plastic Omnium’s underground waste management systems can help local authorities, housing associations and developers save money through more efficient use of available space. Waste operators can offer a quicker, quieter and more cost-effective service. Recycling rates improve and local environments can be kept cleaner for longer. And residents are happier with their surroundings and services. By combining the imagination of planners and architects with the innovation of Plastic Omnium’s underground waste management systems, the Mayor of London’s 50,000 new affordable homes can deliver savings, service improvements, cleaner neighbourhoods and more contented residents: a real result for everyone.