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TOPIC: Call to action to protect a local nature conservation site

Call to action to protect a local nature conservation site 17 Oct 2018 16:20 #4120

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[Original article]

As part of their long-running fight to protect a nature conservation site from industrial development, the Pinkham Way Alliance have this week called for all supporters to fill the public gallery at a meeting on Thursday evening.

The Alliance is asking supporters to join a deputation to Haringey's Regulatory Committee, in the Haringey Civic Centre, Wood Green High Road, at 7pm on Thursday 18th October.  They suggest that "fireworks could start a little early this autumn..."  but promise supporters that they won't need to stay long after the start of the meeting.

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Trouble at Haringey Civic Centre

Next Thursday18 October, at 7pm, we'll be taking a deputation to Haringey's Regulatory Committee, in the Haringey Civic Centre. The fireworks could start a little early this autumn...Please support us from the gallery if you can. Numbers will matter. We should be heard soon after the meeting starts, so it won't take long.

You'll remember the North London Waste Plan (NLWP); the planning document drafted by the seven councils of the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) to ensure enough land for their waste. After  nothing for three years, a new draft is going to these Councils for approval before going out to consultation in early 2019. In Haringey, if it gets past Thursday's committee, it'll go before the Cabinet and ultimately the full Council.

The draft mentions a 'reduced number of sites'. But - do I need to finish the sentence? - Pinkham Way is still in there, misleadingly renamed an 'area'.

Haringey's attempts to justify its inclusion are pathetic, not supported by evidence and should fool no one. Which is why our deputation refers to 'Wednesbury unreasonableness' - from a legal case that sets the standard for unreasonableness of public-body decisions that would make them liable to be quashed on judicial review.

You can read the full deposition here.

Best wishes, 

 
Stephen Brice
Chair
Pinkham Way Alliance

An anomolous dual classification

pinkham way mapMany years ago Pinkham Way Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) was a sewage treatment works but since the plant was abandoned nature has taken over, creating a location of rare ecological significance for north London.  It is located within Haringey borough, but is very close to the boundaries of both Enfield and Barnet boroughs.

When the plan to build a large waste processing facility at Pinkham Way was dropped (in 2013) that ought to have been the end of any idea that the site was suitable for industrial use.  But despite a mass of evidence to the contrary, Haringey Council has persisted in giving it an anomolous dual classification - as both nature reserve and potential industrial site.

The PWA's current priority is to ensure that Pinkham Way is removed from the new version of the North London Waste Plan, which is currently being drafted and will need to be approved by all seven north London boroughs.

Draft Pre-Submission North London Waste Plan 18 October 2018 Regulatory Committee

PWA notes that one of Haringey Council’s nine most important borough wide Nature Conservation sites (Pinkham Way SINC) is included in the draft NLWP as an ‘Area’ suitable for waste development.

This is a designated SINC No 1 Borough Importance and according to the Council’s own consultants “…is of high ecological value and a rare resource for Haringey.” It contains priority species and habitats, some rare and breeding on the site. It is protected by the Council’s own Local Plan Policies on Biodiversity and SINCS and as such has no place in a waste plan.

We would like to remind you as members of the Regulatory Committee that although your role is informal and consultative in relation to planning policy, you are required to fulfil that role by taking into account the Council’s own relevant local plan policies; national and regional planning policies, and all other relevant considerations, including this comment from Pinkham Way Alliance.

We ask you to give due consideration to the above, and of our comments below, after which we would ask you to conclude, and to indicate to the Cabinet, that the inclusion of this site in the draft waste plan is inappropriate.

To assist you we would draw your attention to the following points:

  • The NPPF, the London Plan (LP), NLWA and all NLWP member councils have policies to protect and enhance SINCS, Priority Species and Priority Habitats. The site qualifies for protection under all three criteria.
  • It is not brownfield land – it is specifically excluded because of its high ecological value from the NPPF and LP definitions of brownfield / PDL.
  • It meets the NPPF / LP criteria for open space.
  • Haringey has included it in its Green Infrastructure map as ‘Green Space’. It is marked in Barnet’s GI as ‘Public Park’ and in the All London Green Grid as ‘Private Open Space’.
  • Section 9.8.8 of the draft London Plan (to be publicly examined early in 2019) states that, when locating waste facilities ‘… boroughs should … look to Locally Significant Industrial Sites (LSIL) and existing waste management sites’. As the Council knows well, PW falls into neither category and the Council’s attempt in 2012 to designate it LSIL was dismissed by the Planning Inspector.
  • The Council’s more recent attempt to include the site in its Site Allocations DPD was rejected by the 2016 Inspector who insisted that the Council remove it. The Council complied immediately, admitting that there was no justification for its inclusion.
  • The site has an anomalous and irreconcilable dual designation, unique in the UK - Grade 1 Site for Nature Conservation (SINC) and Employment Land.

For the Council to approve the inclusion of the Pinkham Way SINC in this draft planwould be a decision of Wednesbury unreasonableness and would be likely to expose the Council to challenge.

Thank you

Stephen Brice
Chair – Pinkham Way Alliance
9 October 2018

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Call to action to protect a local nature conservation site 19 Oct 2018 17:30 #4121



Haringey’s Regulation Committee met last evening (see posting of 17th) and after a vote decided to recommend to Cabinet the exclusion of Pinkham Way from the draft North London Waste Plan (NLWP). Haringey Cabinet will make the final decision on approving the draft NLWP as it stands, for that borough. This represents a very positive step for common sense and the PWA; a surprising decision given the (long) history but surely correct given the facts.

PWA’s Chair made a short deputation, answered by a senior officer, before receiving councillor questions, after which councillors asked the officers questions before a vote and agreeing to recommend refusing the inclusion of Pinkham Way.

We heard how refusing could delay the “urgent” NLWP, now over a decade late, countered by pointing out that more haste would have been achieved long since by excluding the site; how the borough had to put the site through to the NLWP because the landowner (North London Waste Authority – NLWA) had suggested it in the NLWP’s call for sites - the only such site in all of north London - yet neglected to mention the plan’s site sifting process which gave every opportunity to stop it; how, because it was designated Employment land, they had to put it forward to the plan (It is unique in the UK as a Grade 1 Site of Importance for Nature Conservation as well as Employment, something a Planning Inspector had earlier surfaced as an effective bar to the boroughs intent for Pinkham Way) but not that Employment land is specifically not designated for waste site use in the London Plan, nor that the area is not a priority employment zone for the borough; how the site is environmentally rich, carrying protection at all levels of the national planning hierarchy; and more.

Councillor questions to officers tended to focus on the why on earth destroy such a habitat for waste use, particularly when no one can explain what that waste would be, or if the land was actually required for waste and just what the benefit to the borough would be if so; plus that developing over existing trees and other green risks undermining such borough key themes as climate change mitigation, flood alleviation and air quality. Asking just why the land was bought in the first place to cause this long running saga received an airing, as did the immense and ongoing cost of the exercise on top of the uber premium price paid in the first place.

Enfield’s own cabinet will shortly deliberate to agree, or not, the draft NLWP as currently presented to go forward for public consultation in early 2019. Smart money would suggest the chances of the Planning Inspector agreeing the need for Pinkham Way and its inclusion as fitting with all manner of planning requirements and policies when it comes to inquiry to be effectively nil .

This one is long since well past the emperor having no clothes; rather the emperor appears to be running around naked with their arms in the air blowing raspberries in all directions. Enfield cabinet could do north London a favour and put him out of his misery when they come to discuss the approval of the draft NLWP Reg19 next month.

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Call to action to protect a local nature conservation site 23 Oct 2018 18:43 #4128

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This is the message that Pinkham Way Alliance chair Stephen Brice sent to supporters following the successful lobby at the Haringey Regulation Committee:



Last Thursday was a big night for this campaign. A Haringey committee voted in our favour.

Our deep appreciation to all who filled the Council Chamber gallery. I find it amazing that, after 8 years, you're still willing to turn out - and in such fine voice! It meant so much to us, and very likely emboldened the Councillors who voted on our side.

The Regulatory Committee examines complex planning issues, such as the North London Waste Plan (NLWP). Its members had clearly done their research, and questioned both us and the Haringey planners skilfully.

But then - catching everyone by surprise - a Lib Dem member proposed an immediate vote on whether to advise the Council to drop Pinkham Way from this new draft of the NLWP. Before we knew it, the Committee voted 6-5 in favour.

So, what now? The waste plan draft goes before Haringey Cabinet on 13 November with the advice that Pinkham Way be removed from the list of possible waste sites.

However, we can be 100% sure there'll be pressure on Haringey to disregard this advice. We'll be calling on your support at the Cabinet meeting.

Meanwhile, in the build up there are actions we can all take to emphasise that we want Haringey to stick to its guns and drop the site.

As Enfield is another of the seven boroughs with responsibility for the North London Waste Plan, there may at some point be a need to do some lobbying at our own Civic Centre. No doubt Stephen will let us know if the need arises.

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Call to action to protect a local nature conservation site 29 Jan 2019 12:38 #4365

With their Cabinet not following the recommendation of their own Regulatory Committee to remove the Pinkham Way site from the North London Waste Plan, this saga rolls on and on: from the original secret deal between two public bodies to buy the land – and the liability curiously missing from the audited accounts – later taking in the new build at Edmonton, over 50% larger than the current incinerator and with plans to import waste from as far away as Oxford and Colchester to feed it - to the current position of a desire to build a waste plant on a protected site, one listed as being of London wide importance. What could there possibly be to challenge in such mire?
The latest stage of watching Councillors squirm about in the face of evidence will be at Haringey Civic Centre this Thursday starting at 7. Indications are that such is the level of disquiet that the party in power will be whipped in their vote.
If they succeed in this hurdle then its straight on and into the R19 consultation on the North London Waste Plan and the very real expectation that a couple of years down the line when it’s all put in front of the Independent Inspector that it’s thrown out having wasted however much money and time in the interim. Pinkham Way directly linked sunk costs so far exceed £100million (£100,000,000), that’s before staff costs, diverted resources, community time and more. You’re paying it back now as you read this, have been for several years and will be for many more years to come. But that’s a story for another time.
Thursday 7pm – 20 minute’s walk down Green Lanes from the Triangle this side of Wood Green centre, or a short bus ride. Haringey Civic Centre, High Road, N22 8ZW. Better than TV.

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Pinkham Way: Lobby Haringey Council on Thursday 30 Jan 2019 15:11 #4367

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As mentioned by Karl, the Pinkham Way Alliance are calling on their supporters to go to the Haringey Council meeting on Thursday:

mailchi.mp/359339156a91/pinkham-way-alert-3007193

See also this report in the Enfield Independent:

www.enfieldindependent.co.uk/news/17382240.waste-plant-could-be-built-in-haringey/

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Pinkham Way: Lobby Haringey Council on Thursday 01 Feb 2019 10:00 #4371

“The second biggest incinerator in Western Europe”, that’s what the council leader said last evening had been planned (and this represented news to PWA), whereas now it is apparently “only” three smaller waste plants, of which he was able to give rather detailed sizing’s and function, despite no plans apparently being in place. This all being built on a site that had been termed a “Strategic Asset” until it was pointed out that implied there was a strategy for it. Accounts now show it merely as land.

But it is environmentally protected land and we heard that merely cleaning of it for development would cost £15m per hectare (there are roughly 6 hectares involved). We heard how building on it would conflict with national Labour party policy and the boroughs Local Plan. We heard how the 90+ hectares of industrial land identified to cover the (very maximum) 7h capacity gap was not enough and without Pinkham Way the whole waste plan would collapse, thereafter requiring Brexit style negotiations between various boroughs. Yes, at long last Brexit made it to the Pinkham Way argument! But why an evidence driven waste plan involves horse trading between boroughs was not expanded on.

A very large number of those Labour members who weren’t otherwise engaged to avoid embarrassment, and were therefore in the chamber, enthusiastically clapped the ending of the PWA deputation and then got a very obvious evil eye from the whip and showed what our proud democracy is all about, sticking their hands up to unnecessarily concrete over a Site of Nature Conservation despite all the evidence and policy against.

There’s lots more and the Inspector will doubtless throw it out in a couple of years time, but until then yet more resources to add to the nine figures already thrown down this big black hole. Wonder where funding for your child’s books have gone, for children’s and youth centres, social care and more? There’s £100,000, 000 (and still counting) if you look into this particular money pit.

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Call to action to protect a local nature conservation site 06 Feb 2019 22:44 #4379

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The following is an update written by Pinkham Way Alliance chair Stephen Brice for a meeting of the Muswell Hill & Fortis Green Association:

Last October, Haringey's Regulatory Committee, under its remit to examine complex planning issues, considered the draft North London Waste Plan (NLWP). After reading and hearing evidence from PWA, and questioning officers, a cross-party majority of members, unwhipped, recommended to Cabinet that the Pinkham Way site be removed from the plan. To put it very mildly, this decision sent Council dovecotes a-flutter. The Cabinet meeting scheduled for a few days later was postponed for two months to 'give time to line up support'. Cabinet members made alarmist and wholly inaccurate comments that Haringey would be forced to prepare its own waste plan if it didn't approve the NLWP (ie if it exercised its right to remove the site).

When the matter finally came to Full Council on January 31st, the Council could only ensure approval by whipping Labour members. So what did that meeting actually approve? One thing only, that the draft plan should be sent forward for a six-week public consultation that'll begin shortly.

Later this year or early in 2020, an independent Planning Inspector will examine the NLWP's soundness. It goes without saying, of course, that anyone has the right to make a response to the consultation. For those who don't wish to, PWA will as usual prepare its own submission, which, under a long-standing agreement with the NLWP, we'll invite you to support after studying detailed bullets of the main points. If you're making your own response, you're more than welcome to use these if you feel they're helpful. To study the NLWP documents, please go to: www.nlwp.net/document-centre .

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Call to action to protect a local nature conservation site 28 Feb 2019 09:54 #4413

The 15 thick bound reports for the North London Waste Plan’s latest round of consultation have just landed – 6 weeks long it is and starts tomorrow. If anyone doesn’t want to read through that lot (also available online) and comment sensibly then it could be time to join the Pinkham Way Alliance (for free!).

You might think that having 55% surplus capacity in north London for our waste would be ample, but via a clever series of trickery (some justifiable I would suggest) it’s not, and not by a long way apparently. So sit on our hands and as well as paying back tens of millions of pounds of already linked wasted cash via our rates (better uses anyone?) we can look forward to the potential of hazardous waste and / or a composting plant and / or a integrated resource / recovery facility / resource park on the Grade 1 Site of Importance for Nature Conservation about a mile away from Broomfield Park.

The whole episode will make an excellent documentary when it’s all over.

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