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A two-year campaign aimed at persuading North London councils to scale down their plans for building new waste processing capacity and at preserving a wooded area adjacent to the North Circular Road scored a significant victory this week, when the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) announced that it was abandoning its plan for an expensive long-term procurement.

Since 2011 the Pinkham Way Alliance has been campaigning against the planned construction of a large facility at Pinkham Wood, close to the Pinkham Way stretch of the North Circular.  The campaigners are not only concerned about the loss of valuable green space and other environmental impacts, but also warn against North London councils locking themselves into a very expensive contract for capacity which might never actually be required.

A press release issued by the NLWA on 27th September cites several factors behind the change of mind.  Chief among them is the need for a cheaper solution - the Authority estimates that the saving to the local councils over a thirty year period might amount to £900 million.  This is a clear acknowledgement that the Pinkham Way campaigners' fears about the financial impact of the procurement on the seven councils budgets were well founded.

 

The alternative solution now being recommended is based on extending the life of the "EcoPark" at Edmonton, which would be used to generate electricity for the national grid and possibly also to provide heat for local housing and businesses.

This new approach appears to be consistent with the arguments put forward by the Pinkham Way Alliance, which is calling for phased procurement of additional capacity as and when required.  The campaigners have argued that it is impossible to forecast future waste volumes over thirty years with any acceptable degree of accuracy.

However, it appears that the threat to Pinkham Wood, which originally galvanised the campaigners, has not been entirely lifted.  While the NWLA has "no immediate plans to develop the Pinkham Way site", it states that "Pinkham Way will remain an asset for NLWA due to its strategic location and planning designation as a potential employment site".  In addition, it is probable that Barnet Council still wish to build a waste truck depot on the site.  In view of this, we can expect the Pinkham Way Alliance to continue its campaigning.

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