Construction of new Edmonton incinerator begins

The controversial replacement waste-burning facility is set to open in 2025

Construction work has begun on the controversial new incinerator at Edmonton Eco Park. It is being built next to the existing, 51-year-old incinerator, allowing it to continue burning waste from across North London until the new facility is complete – expected to be within three years (credit North London Waste Authority)
Construction work has begun on the controversial new incinerator at Edmonton Eco Park (credit North London Waste Authority)

Construction work has begun on a new incinerator at Edmonton Eco Park, following years of controversy and protests over its environmental impact.

North London Waste Authority (NLWA) confirmed that major works for the facility – dubbed an ‘energy recovery facility’ because it also generates electricity – are now underway.

It forms a central part of NLWA’s wider £1.2billion North London Heat and Power Project, which launched in 2019 and also includes new recycling facilities at the eco park site that are now nearing completion.

Spanish contractor Acciona has been handed control of the new incinerator site a month earlier than scheduled thanks to “excellent progress” on its preparation.

The new facility is due to open in 2025, until when the existing 51-year-old incinerator will continue operating as normal. During the three-year construction programme at least 418 full-time jobs, 180 training placements and 90 apprenticeships will be provided.

NLWA claims that its new incinerator will provide a “world-class solution” to the problem of how to deal with the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste generated in North London.

However, it has faced repeated protests in recent years, with local environmental groups arguing the new, larger incinerator will increase carbon emissions and air pollution, impacting people’s health in a densely-populated and deprived area.

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While the current incinerator burns around 540,000 tonnes of waste per year, the new facility will have a maximum capacity of 700,000 tonnes. However, NWLA says it will be flexible enough to operate at a reduced capacity of 490,000 tonnes per year should the larger capacity not be needed after recycling rates rise.

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The larger incinerator capacity will also enable more electricity to be generated, with 127,000 homes set to be directly powered from it – an increase of 55,000 homes compared with the existing facility.

As well as electricity, the incinerator’s waste heat will be used to provide heating to thousands of new homes as part of Enfield Council’s district heating network, Energetik. A similar heating network is also now being developed in Haringey.

Clyde Loakes, chair of NLWA, said: “This major investment in North London will ensure that there is truly resilient and safe infrastructure to sustainably deal with the waste generated by two million residents in the long term.

“It means not shipping waste abroad or to landfill where it will rot and generate methane. Instead, it means using waste to generate energy, which in turn boosts the UK’s security of energy supplies, that recent events have proved is so crucial for a nation’s economy.

“Building the energy recovery facility is the most responsible way forward.”

Meanwhile, campaign group Stop The Edmonton Incinerator continues to crowdfund for what it calls a “last ditch” legal bid to halt construction of the new waste-burning facility.

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