Edmonton incinerator campaigners vow to fight on

Crowdfunder to support legal challenge against NLWA being launched, reports James Cracknell and Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter

Demonstration against a new, larger Edmonton incinerator
Sunday’s demonstration in Edmonton Green against a new, larger incinerator

Anti-incinerator protestors took to the streets of Edmonton Green in a last-minute plea to stop a deal being signed for a new, larger Edmonton incinerator that will burn waste from across North London.

Campaigners from Stop the Edmonton Incinerator Now – an alliance of local action groups opposing the incinerator – gathered in Fore Street to urge the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) not to sign a construction contract which Acciona, the Spanish firm that has been selected to build it.

Organisers estimate that 600 people turned up to the rally. Campaigners talked to passers-by about their concerns as they marched from Edmonton Green to the North Circular Road.

A crowdfunder is now being launched to raise £6,000 for legal advice over a potential court challenge to NLWA’s decision. It could see them submit a judicial review request against the waste authority to the High Court.

A statement issued on behalf of Stop the Edmonton Incinerator Now said: “Protestors want NWLA to commission and publish an independent assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts on the boroughs and to organise emergency meetings to review and pause the contract signing.

“Campaigners are determined to continue the work of the Stop the Edmonton Incinerator campaign. This includes informing residents of crucial information and participating fully in the May council elections.

“Legal action is also being considered. This is the first of many actions making clear that councillors will feel the consequences of their decisions at the forthcoming elections in May 2022.”

Councillors wrote to Enfield mayor Sabri Ozaydin to request an emergency meeting of Enfield Council ahead of NLWA signing the deal, however it was confirmed last week that a debate would instead take place on 26th January. NLWA had been due to sign the paperwork on the £1.2billion deal with Acciona today.

The authority’s position is that a new incinerator at Edmonton Eco Park is needed to cope with the growing problem of waste collected by seven North London councils, and that it will generate energy to heat 127,000 homes and will also prevent rubbish being sent from landfill. A new recycling centre is also promised as part of the project.

The NWLA board, comprised of councillors from seven North London boroughs, voted in December for a contract to be signed with Acciona, although members from Haringey were against it.

Clyde Loakes, chair of NLWA, said of the deal with Acciona: “This is the result of years of work to research, develop and agree the best solution for our residents, and builds on the construction done so far as we redevelop Edmonton Eco Park.

“Through a rigorous procurement process we’ve been able to negotiate the best value and environmental solution for managing the rubbish that gets put in North London’s bins.

“Our main objective is to reduce waste in the first place, so NLWA will continue to work collaboratively with boroughs, residents and interested groups across North London to develop future waste reduction and recycling plans, as well as lobby the government to bring in the systemic changes we so desperately need.

“Acciona has demonstrated that they are able to meet the strong environmental requirements that we specified to make our energy recovery facility [incinerator] the cleanest, greenest and safest in the country and deliver a project that provides value for money for council taxpayers.”