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.

Send the following email to the two councillors from your borough who sit on the North London Waste Authority. Copy your 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.


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