Who is proposing to rebuild the Edmonton incinerator?

The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) are proposing to spend hundreds of millions of pounds of public money to rebuild the new Edmonton incinerator for LondonEnergy to operate. The NLWA is made up of seven north London boroughs (Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest) and is chaired by Councillor Clyde Loakes.

How much waste would the incinerator burn each year?

The proposed incinerator would be expected to burn around 700,000 tonnes of waste per year, which is more than the existing Edmonton incinerator and would make it one of the largest incinerators in Europe. Whilst the feedstock is commonly referred to as ‘waste’, that does not mean that it does not include significant amounts of resources that could have been recycled or composted.

What comes out of an incinerator stack?

Incineration releases harmful pollution, including nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, hydrogen chloride, dioxins, furans, heavy metals, and particulate matter, as well as greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

According to Defra’s Air Information Resource website: “Exposure to airborne Particulate Matter (PM) is associated with a range of adverse effects on human health including effects on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, leading to hospital admissions and mortality. There is increasing evidence that fine (PM2.5) and ultrafine particulate matter (nano-scale), plays a more significant role than previously thought…”

Source: Defra’s Air Information Resource website

“Air pollution affects everyone who lives and works in London. The most vulnerable groups like children, older people and those with heart and respiratory conditions are most affected…Particulate pollution can harm our heart and lungs – it is linked to asthma and death. Research shows that particles with a diameter of ten microns and smaller (PM10) can be inhaled deep into the lungs as smaller particles can penetrate deeper.”

Source: The Greater London Authority

The release of CO2 from waste incinerators makes climate change worse. Incinerators release an average of around 1 tonne of CO2 for every tonne of waste burned, so the 700,000 tpa Edmonton incinerator would release around 700,000 tonnes of CO2 per year which is the same amount of CO2 as would be emitted annually by 450,000 newly registered cars. See
http://ukwin.org.uk/climate/ for more details on the climate change impacts of waste incineration.

Have communities ever stopped an incinerator proposal?

Dozens of incinerator proposals have been stopped throughout the UK over the past decade. See http://ukwin.org.uk/table/ for a list of existing, proposed and prevented incinerator.

Are any councils doing better than London at recycling?

Most councils across the UK are recycling more than London, with many now recycling the majority of their waste. With the correct investment councils have been able to make significant progress in significantly reducing their residual waste, and this should be set to become even easier as a result of forthcoming Government schemes and improvements in recycling technologies.

In 2017/18 there were 10 authorities with recycling rates in excess of 60 per cent. In total there were 82 authorities with a recycling rate of 50 per cent or higher. East Riding of Yorkshire Council had the highest ‘household waste’ recycling rate in England in 2017/18 at 64%, while South Oxfordshire District Council and Rochford District Council both achieved 63% ‘household waste’ recycling rates. (Source: Defra National Statistics)