engage magazine issue 007/\'08 - Page 57

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES 57 Waste and Recycling board can change that.” Alarmingly, Brian is also a waterway commissioner, fighting to get London’s waterways to take some of the strain away from the roads. He has also been instrumental in the creation of a new type of waste removal vehicle, soon to be unveiled by the London Mayor, which will make refuse collection more efficient. The softly spoken councillor acknowledges that the high profile that environmental issues have obtained over the last few years can have both positive and negative effects. “While it’s harder to quietly get on with the job these days, it’s also easier to get the public on your side because there is so much media coverage of these types of issues,” he said. “In the nineties, very few people recycled much of their waste, but this is becoming more and more the norm. “People understand why it’s a good idea to use our waterways and that simply chucking waste into a massive hole in the ground is not the best option. “A more educated public makes my job easier.” It is hard not to describe Brian as a workaholic. Last year he was voted Labour Spokesman for Environment for London by the Labour leaders on London Councils. As well as his many environmental roles, he has also worked as a sessional mental health act manager (meaning he assesses patients who have been sectioned) and a decade ago he founded the AfricanCaribbean Achievement Awards which celebrate achievements made by young people in education. Brian was originally born in Guyana and came to Haringey at the age of four. Despite Brian’s natural inclination to roll his sleeves up and get on with the job rather than to grab a microphone and play politics, he recognises that sometimes to get changes made, you have to step into the limelight. Councillor Brian Haley “However, we are now building more incinerators in the UK because the market understands that it works and produces electricity.” His knowledge of both the public and private sector as well as his understanding of both policy and the technology behind waste management makes Brian one of Britain’s leading experts. “I have informally advised the last four environmental secretaries,” he said proudly. “I am also the Labour spokesman on environment for London. “On that committee we talk about things like freedom passes for bus transport, waste and recycling for all of London. I was on the London Recycling Board selection panel for the private sector. “At present London does not have a good infrastructure for recycling. The closest processor we have to London is a plastics processor in Essex. We have the capacity to sort recycled waste but not to do recycling itself - so hopefully the ISSUE SEVEN 2008 engage | uk