Labour councillors control the project. If you are a Labour Party member in one of the seven boroughs, please consider submitting a motion like this to your ward secretary. You can of course edit it as you see fit.
This branch notes that:
- [X borough] is one of seven boroughs that comprise the North London Waste Authority (NLWA), which is pursuing a controversial waste management strategy involving the decommissioning of a 50-year-old incinerator and its replacement by a larger one, due to be operational by 2025.
- 89.3% of residual waste (black bag rubbish – or other colour depending on borough) from the seven boroughs currently goes to the Edmonton incinerator to be burned, releasing carbon dioxide, even though much of X’s residual waste is recyclable.
- The new incinerator would generate roughly 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year for decades.
- The new incinerator would burn well over 100,000 tonnes of plastic every year for decades, right here in North London.
- Burning waste also releases toxic particulate matter that has adverse short and long-term effects on human health.
- The ward where the incinerator is located is Enfield borough’s ‘most deprived’.
- £1.2 billion in public funds — council taxes — would be used on the new facility.
- Each of the seven boroughs has two councillors on the NLWA. Both councilors from this borough support the incinerator rebuild, which has already been approved (albeit with little public consultation).
The branch believes that:
- The high carbon output of the incinerator makes it unfit for life during a climate emergency.
- Incinerators undermine recycling efforts, boosting the incentive to bag rubbish. Public funds should be used to invest in waste reduction and recycling solutions.
- The current position of X’s representatives on the NLWA contradicts both the Council’s own climate emergency policy and the spirit of the Labour-initiated motion that led to the British Parliament declaring a climate emergency in May 2019.
This branch agrees to:
- Call on the Council to withdraw its support for the project and call for NLWA Chair Clyde Loakes (Waltham Forest councilor — Labour Party) to reverse course and authorise an urgent review of the whole project, including an independent social and environmental impact assessment, especially in light of the climate emergency declaration.
- Write to the current Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), with copies to Labour’s relevant shadow ministers and our local MP
- Submit this motion to the [name of this constituency] General Meeting.
Adapt or copy the following message and email it to the two councillors from your borough who sit on the board of the North London Waste Authority. Copy your mayor or council leader, as well as cabinet members for climate change or the environment. Copy the London mayor.
Dear Councillor X and Councillor Y,
I’m writing to ask you, as my representatives on the North London Waste Authority, to withdraw your support for the plan to rebuild and expand the Edmonton incinerator. Helping to implement an alternative plan could be a great addition to your accomplishments as a public servant.
The central problem with the current plan is the carbon output. The new incinerator would have the capacity to emit about 700,000 tonnes of carbon per year. It’s set to run for at least 25 years starting in 2025. This is not a viable waste treatment plan for a borough that has declared a climate emergency and committed to reach net zero emissions by 2040 (a date which is liable to be moved forward).
Incineration has no place in the circular economy that the borough is trying to create — nothing epitomises the linear economy more than disposing of rubbish by extinguishing it.
The decommissioning of the current incinerator is in fact a wonderful opportunity: we can develop a plan that emphasizes sorting and recycling. There are many alternatives, and our borough should be a leader in exploiting them.
It’s true that incineration creates energy that can be used for power or heat in London. However, it does so in a terribly inefficient way, capturing only a small amount of the calorific value of the materials it burns. This makes it hugely carbon intensive, even more so than burning fossil fuels.
I believe that the project will end up as either an environmental nightmare or a financial albatross in which the facility has to be shut down because of future climate, recycling or public health laws.
The plan is indeed concerning because of its potential impact on public health. It’s true that the new incinerator would have better filters than the current one, so levels of particulate matter and other airborne toxins might be reduced, but the local population deserves better than a comparison to the status quo. Air quality in the vicinity of the North Circular is already bad, and people in a deprived area shouldn’t have to deal with that and a mass burn of North London’s rubbish.
I’m aware that the project has been given approval, and the site is being prepared for construction. However, it’s far better to stop the project now than continue to put good money after bad, and lock us into bad waste management for decades to come.
We still have to time to change the plan. Construction on the incinerator is not even set to begin until very late in 2022.
Let’s stop and think before we really start spending our hard-earned tax money. If it was 2040 and we could look back at 2019, when construction hadn’t even begun, we would of course see the folly in claiming that it had been too late to change the plan.
I will keep this letter brief and refer you any questions you may have to the FAQ page on the Stop the Edmonton Incinerator Now website.
Concerned residents like myself have many questions that have not been answered. I ask that the Council and the NLWA be more open about project details such as how much carbon the incinerator will emit, how the plan was chosen over other alternatives and how much it will affect my council tax. It would also be helpful if the NLWA would provide more sources for the claims and figures in its press releases.
I would love the opportunity to meet with you to discuss this matter.
The following is a list of all cllrs on the NLWA board, leaders, in cabinet roles related to the environment, plus email addresses:
NLWA board member
Other council members to cc
Peter Zinkin (Vice-Chair of NLWA)
Daniel Thomas, leader
Dean Cohen, also chair of Environment Committee
Adam Harrison, also cabinet member for environment
Georgia Gould, leader
Nesil Caliskan, leader
Guney Dogan, cabinet member for environment and sustainability
Philip Glanville, mayor
Mete Coban, also cabinet member for energy, waste, transport and public realm
Joseph Ejiofor, leader
Kirsten Hearn, cabinet member for climate change, equalities and leisure
Richard Watts, leader
Dave Poyser, chair, Environment & Regeneration Scrutiny Committee
Clyde Loakes (Chair of NLWA)
Clare Coghill, leader
We are currently planning our next action or protest. Please check back soon or follow us on social media.
If you live in Edmonton you can use this template letter to write to your local councillor and copy in the London Mayor.
To find your councillors in Edmonton/Enfield go to https://governance.enfield.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx
Dear Councillor / Mayor of London, (delete as appropriate)
I am a resident of Edmonton, North London and have only just become aware of the NLWA’s plan to replace the current incinerator with a new, much bigger version which will burn rubbish that could otherwise be recycled. I am deeply concerned for several reasons:
Incinerators in the UK are three times more likely to be built in deprived and diverse areas such as Edmonton; deprivation and diversity are two factors that have been proven to INCREASE the health risk factors associated with air pollution – indeed, as the recent inquest into the cause of death of Ella Kissi-Debrah has proven – air pollution can KILL. I am therefore deeply concerned the emissions from this new incinerator, and from the increased lorry transport to it, will cause serious harm to the health of myself and my loved ones.
The North London Waste Authority, who are in charge of the rebuild, comprises of seven boroughs in total, which include much higher income areas such as Islington, Highgate and Barnet. Why therefore, has Edmonton been selected for this development, an area least likely to be able to cope with the additional damage to the health of its community?
The incinerator is also an environmental disaster; it is predicted to emit 700 thousand tonnes of CO2 into our atmosphere every year. If this waste was recycled instead of burnt, this could simply be avoided. As it is now widely accepted that we are in the midst of a climate crisis, the decision to increase emissions is impossible to understand.
Finally –- I have only just become aware of the project – even though it was granted planning permission several years ago. As a local resident I should have been informed of such a giant infrastructure project happening on my doorstep and been given the opportunity to object. If there was a public consultation, I knew nothing about it and question how extensive it actually was.
Time is running out as the site is already being cleared in preparation for the build. As my elected representative, please demand that the council and the NLWA pause & review the re-build before it’s too late and hold an independent review of all the options for managing North London’s waste, including a genuine consultation with local residents. This is the last chance to prevent even more irreparable, deadly damage to my local community.