Lambeth’s recycling rates will be a top priority for the borough’s Green councillors, amid concerns incinerated waste contributes to air pollution in the borough.

Green councillor and opposition leader Jonathan Bartley said one of the issues the Green opposition will focus on is incineration of waste – which currently sees rejected recycling bags burnt at the  Belvedere Energy from Waste facility in Bexley.

Rejected recycling bags are used to generate electricity from the heat produced, according to council documents.

Mr Bartley said incinerated waste fumes and polluting smoke “blew back into the borough” from Bexley, and that recycling rates are too low, with few people aware of recycling guidelines in the borough.

“We desperately need to boost recycling rates. There is a real lack of awareness ofwhat you can and what you can’t recycle,” he explained.

“It’s about engagement, about working with community forums, and making it easier. People want to do the right thing.”

Data from 2010 to 2017 showed that the bulk of household waste in the borough ended up in landfills, with 28.8 per cent of house hold waste being reused, recyced or composted.

This is below London-wide recycling targets, which were set at 45 per cent by 2015, and 50 per cent by 2020, and well below the national average recycling rate – which is 43 per cent.

The council’s waste strategy outlines waste prevention targets, which include reducing unwanted mail, increasing home composting, increasing furniture reuse and reducing the use of disposable nappies.

A Mayor of London air quality report from 2017 showed the borough was regularly exceeding daily, hourly and annual nitrogen dioxide limits, as well as particle pollution to a “high” level.

Scientific studies connect particle pollution exposure to a variety of health issues, including asthma and reduced lung function.