News Update from New Spitalfields Market in London

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November 14, 2006

Since the relocation of New Spitalfields Market from the City of London to the new site in Leyton (East London) some 15 years ago, the market has grown from strength to strength. As a result of this we have become a victim of our own success with ever increasing volumes of deliveries and customers, resulting in near gridlock on some busy days. The 32 acre site cannot expand to accommodate these increases, due to being hemmed in by a major railway line on one side and a river and recreational space to the West, therefore drastic actions were required to resolve the escalation of problems. As a result of this and in conjunction with the Health & Safety Executive, Spitalfields Market Tenants Association, City of London’s Risk Management Dept and our local London Borough of Waltham Forest’s Health & Safety Department, a 24 point Action Plan was developed, this in a nutshell addressed all areas, from having fork lift trucks drivers re-vetted and permitted, stipulating all of the 230 plus fork lift trucks on site had speed restrictors fitted, limiting speed to 5mph. Ensuring that the three main market roadways were kept completely clear of any encroachment (prior to this enforcement tenants were leaving stored stock, selling from and making up customer “turns” within the common roadways) causing the clogging of the public walkways so as customers were forced to walk into the roads thus being subjected to high risks from blind spots and fully laden fork lift trucks. Although being an emotive issue, as these bad practices had been the culture for 15 years, I am pleased to say that with the full co-operation of all, the new regime has made the market a far safer, pleasant and customer friendly environment, with the number of accidents dropping dramatically. Further action points involved redesigning the vehicle one way system, traffic calming (humps and dragons teeth) banning all vehicles except fork lift trucks inside the Market Pavilion, re marking the customer parking bays in chevron style, so as to improve visibility when reversing, creating dedicated HGV loading/unloading bays and peak period overspill zones along with many other similar improvements. Now in the cold light of day, despite some initial scepticism about the new system being workable, all are now in complete agreement that the change has not only allowed for a far more efficient turn around in vehicle movements but the market is far safer with our number one interest, the customers, enjoying the visiting experience to the full. Our second major development over the past year is on responsible recycling. Until recently all the markets waste was going direct to landfill, this equated to some 12000 tonnes per annum From an initial start point some 15 months ago experimenting in segregation, thereby achieving around 5-10% conversion, and realising the potential in cost saving and environmental gain, we have invested into new capital equipment i.e. a state of the art cardboard bailer, which now produces some 1400 tonnes of recycling board a year. An upgraded wood chipper, which enables damaged wooden pallets to be chipped into wood pellets which in turn are used to fuel one of North London’s power station, at the rate of 2500 tonnes per annum. The segregation of plastics (the worst possible landfill product due to its non biodegradable nature) is now sent for recycling and amounts to some 100-140 tonnes a year with our organics going to composting sites and amounting to a further 2500 tonnes per annum. We are also looking at present into the feasibility of composting on site by way of a Hot Rot styled system but this may be a year or two away. Our recycling levels have now exceeded the 50% level and we hope that by the end of 2007 to have achieved 65-70%. Just as a point of interest the UK cost on landfill is approximately £46 per tonne, by recycling, our recycled per tonne disposal cost drops to around £12 per tonne. Ken Alexander Superintendent, New Spitalfields Market