The planned larger incinerator was one of the targets of the Extinction Rebellion demo in Enfield Town on Saturday (photo from a Facebook post by Hannah Dyson).
As mentioned by Karl, there have been discussions of what he wrote on PGC about the incinerator plans on social media, specifically in the
Enfield Voices group
In defence of the incinerator plans, Cllr Daniel Anderson posted this comment from the North London Waste Authority:
‘The North London Heat and Power Project (NLHPP) is the North London Waste Authority’s (NLWA’s) major investment to modernise the Edmonton EcoPark.
‘This piece of national infrastructure will replace the current energy from waste plant with a world-class ‘Energy Recovery Facility’ (ERF). It will also deliver flagship recycling facilities to support north London’s drive towards increased recycling. The project was consented by the Government in 2017 after extensive consultation and engagement with local communities over a number of years. Work is now underway and rapid progress was made in 2019 to prepare the site for construction. 2020 will be a landmark year, with work commencing on the new recycling facilities.
‘We appreciate the strength of feeling about tackling the Climate Emergency. As a waste authority we take seriously the responsibility to preserve resources for future generations. We work with our boroughs, including Enfield, to protect our planet through responsible and sustainable waste management.
We are very clear that opposition to the NLHPP is misplaced. The fact is the ERF is part of the solution for tackling the Climate Emergency. This is because it avoids waste being sent to landfill. The existing energy from waste plant at the EcoPark is reaching the end of its life and needs to be replaced.
‘There isn’t a ‘do nothing’ option.
‘The alternative would be to send the non-recyclable waste from our two million residents to landfill. Burying waste and leaving it to rot simply passes the problem to future generations. Landfill produces methane, a very damaging greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
‘Instead of landfilling, the state-of-the-art ERF will generate low-carbon heat and power from non-recyclable waste. This will be enough to provide energy for 127,000 homes – equivalent to all the homes in Enfield. It will be the most technically and environmentally advanced facility in the UK and possibly Europe when it is commissioned.
‘We calculate that the ERF will save the same amount of carbon dioxide as taking 110,000 cars off the road every year. This is why we can be clear that the North London Heat and Power Project is completely in keeping with the development of a net-zero carbon economy.
‘The ERF is one part of our major investment to modernise the EcoPark. We are also delivering wide- ranging facilities to boost recycling across north London. The flagship ‘Resource Recovery Facility’ will provide capacity to recycle thousands of tonnes of metal, wood and plastic every year. For the first time, residents will be able to bring their waste to a brand new reuse and recycling centre at the EcoPark. A new educational hub, called EcoPark House, will help people understand the importance of reducing their waste and developing a truly circular economy. It will also provide a modern new home for the Edmonton Sea Cadets.
‘This job-generating project is a significant contributor to Enfield’s plans for the regeneration of Edmonton. Alongside new skilled jobs, we are creating at least 100 apprenticeships and working in partnership with Enfield College to maximise these local opportunities. The project will support an extensive programme of skills training, with 225 opportunities available through the construction phase.
‘Our facilities are already instrumental in supporting jobs and businesses in the area. For example, the Ark Data Centre in Edmonton runs solely on energy produced by our existing plant. The new energy recovery facility will have even greater benefits for the local economy. It has the potential to provide low-carbon heat for the major mixed-use development at Meridian Water. We’re proud that our new facility can play such a crucial role in realising Enfield Council’s vision for this sustainable new community in the south of the borough.
‘A leaflet that provides more information about the NLHPP is available on the website, together with a detail led set of FAQs. It addresses the claims that have been made and explains the benefits the project brings for vital climate, social and economic agendas. It can be found here: northlondonheatandpower.london/‘
Cllr Anderson also stated that "Cllr Jon Burke who represents Hackney is one of the most committed green activists you will find. He serves on the NLWA and is fully behind the new incinerator".
“World class”, “flagship”, goodness I didn’t realise, perhaps I’m won over with the pride.
However, “North London’s drive towards increased recycling”, as with Enfield’s own, reported in today’s Independent newspaper, is actually going backwards; and as for the “extensive consultation and engagement with local communities over a number of years”, well, I even ended up resubmitting my own formal Stage 1 input as part of Stage 2 because it was completely ignored. That was ignored too, and I was one of a tiny number of respondees, because basically no one knew, or still knows, anything about it. Can anyone point to a single holistic report available to the public on the embryonic plans before its approval and while consolation and engagement was still possible I wonder?
As for the “truly circular economy” and this being “part of the solution” I do have to ask where this enormous burner fits with that and then just how it is positioned in the circular economies crucial waste hierarchy. (Clue – it’s nowhere near the top, that’s where the circular economy lies.)
I do agree there isn’t a do nothing option, but it certainly doesn’t follow that a 700,000 tpa burner, set in stone for the next 50 years, is the appropriate answer to a waste resource issue.
Maybe someone supportive can outline just why 700,000tpa - factually, based on current hard data, and in line with the waste type assumptions in Stage 1 and 2 consultations? As a follow on, maybe they can also explain what happens when (and I’m specifically not saying if) absolute waste levels fall sometime over the next five decades.
Sorry to nag on but this really does have turkey written all over it in large red lettering which risks becoming a terrible cost well beyond what is actually necessary – financial and environmental. If there ever is a reply from someone in the know, maybe they could additionally address a few basic points (latest official figures follow):
North London’s waste capacity 4.4m tpa
North London’s waste generated 2.9m tpa
North London’s resultant spare capacity therefore 1.6m tpa (that’s 55%)
As a net exported the actual surplus capacity implied is even more (60%).
Don’t forget the new incinerator will increase capacity even more (net 200k tpa).
And as one part of all-London – the North London sub region is roughly a quarter - which has an agreed approach to waste which allocates elements to parts such as North London to manage (called the apportionment and in place to ensure London as a whole doesn’t either over or undershoot its waste needs) why has North London added an additional 40% extra on top of what the Mayor asks of us and has been agreed in successive London Plans? Is it North London or the London Plan / Mayor which is out of line?
Francis Sealey of Enfield Voices has just recorded an online interview (webinar) with Carina Millstone, one of the leaders of the Stop the Edmonton Incinerator campaign. It was her presentation in Chingford that so impressed Karl and prompted the start of this discussion - you can
download Carina's very comprehensive presentation slides
Another relevant point is the news that Enfield council is about to launch a drive to increase recycling levels in the borough - see
this story in the Enfield Independent
. The more reycling, the less "residual" waste to burn.
“Heads should roll”, said an ex NLWA board member and Enfield Conservative leader in the local press after the last waste authority (NLWA) fiasco costing us ratepayers tens of millions of pounds. They didn’t, and the same heads then went on to develop a case for the Edmonton incinerator.
Whether committing to incineration is the sensible route for the next 30-50 years in these climate emergency times is one debate (the core issue for the Chingford based “Stop the Incinerator” campaign; also XR); the other being my own early stage involvement saying that even on their own highly-inflationary manipulated data, building for 700,000 tonnes pa was still about 300,000 tpa too much.
Because it was indeed too large, the intent rapidly moved to capture commercial waste in north London (not a waste stream in the remit of the NLWA, or in the original plan), then also commercial waste in a 50 mile radius of the plant. But commercial waste levels have a high recycling rate that’s getting better (north of 70%), which means less residual waste to burn and so back to a gap to fill 700,000 tpa.
As charts on earlier postings show, household waste levels are actually falling rather than rising as the business case required (and forecast). Recycling targets are now even higher; both combining to mean there is less waste left to burn.
Now, in a report to be submitted to the Authority meeting on 13th Feb, the NLWA MD is planning to reduce residual waste by increasing recycling. Again the result is there being less to burn. Bear in mind the 30-50 year clock hasn’t started ticking for we’re not even at foundation building stage yet already it’s strategic meltdown.
So the latest wheeze, highlighted by NLWA board member, Hackney Council Cabinet Member and “one of the most committed green activists you will find” – see post 29th Jan and the comment from our own ex NLWA board member is a new aim.
That’s certainly not in the original business plan, it’s not in the North London Joint Municipal Waste Strategy and it’s not in the North London Waste Plan which went to public examination only two months since after its approximate ten year gesticulation. So that’s surprisingly for such an explicit and far reaching “aim”. It seems that everyone – including the strategists, waste planners and business case writers - totally misunderstood what the incinerator is for. Now, at a recently doubled cost of about £1.2bn, we are to be host to pretty much anyone’s waste rather than follow the original intent. (Clue - because it’s too big and always was).
As I said in a 21 Jan posting in response to a question:- Basically there’s no strategy effective at any level, no one knows what they’re doing in an integrated strategic manner and so things are taken forward on an opportunistic basis. It costs us Council Taxpayers shedloads of otherwise useable cash a fortune as a result.
Or on 29th Jan this really does have turkey written all over it in large red lettering which risks becoming a terrible cost well beyond what is actually necessary – financial and environmental
So on the balance of probabilities that’s surely now a slam dunk.
What next? I forecast that the huge 40 year loans required for the Edmonton scheme will miraculously repay the £90m loans still outstanding from the last fiasco and allow for the write off of £50m of balance sheet goodwill, also from the last fiasco, something which must be causing the auditor many a sleepless night in signing off.
We can all then pay for two colossal errors for the next 40 years with a single regular loan repayment, and that might well be the most efficient part of the total exercise. Think of this next time councillor’s stress how tight council budgets are so we can’t possibly fund ……
And we also now know what happens when people are in a hole and don’t stop digging: it gets deeper and deeper.
As an alternative why not make it smaller (and cheaper) to actually fit the residual household waste we in North London produce and reasonably expect to produce? Probably not a “world class” “flagship” so just where would you hang your ego?
It's rather ironic that, in view of the length of time that the NLWP has been dragging on, and the size of the planned new incinerator, that Cllr Burke's Twitter page has at the top "Moving fast and fixing stuff. Small is beautiful"!
The NLWA 'Reducing Residual Waste' scheme which Karl Brown referred to also ties in the Circular Economy (CE) which is naturally emphasised in the London Plan, but was perhaps too inconvenient to be promoted in its natural home, the North London Waste Plan (the NLWP states that it's in favour of it - wow!)
CE's effect should be to reduce waste overall and increase recycling. So let's take an area's total waste to be 1 million tons, and the recycling rate @ 30%. We thus have 700,000 tons of residual, and 300,000 tons of recycling.
The reduction in overall waste resulting from a middling take-up of CE is c 20%, with perhaps an increase in recycling to 40%. In these circumstances we have 800,000 tons of waste, 320,000 tons of which is recycling. Thus the actual tonnage of recycling hardly changes.
But look at the residual waste - this is the feedstock for the new Edmonton plant. That falls from 700,000 tons to 480,000 tons, a fall of more than 30%. That does not make for a stable future for this new plant.
And the more that the NLWA has to search outside its own area, the more it goes directly against one of the main NLWP objectives, to reduce 'waste miles' - the distance that waste has to travel to reach its point of treatment.
And no prizes for guessing how it gets from perhaps way outside London to Edmonton.
Worth remembering also that the 30-year waste procurement, the last 'flagship' that the NLWA announced, quickly turned into the Marie Celeste.