On Sunday 16th January at 12 noon, North London residents and members from over fifty campaign groups will gather at Edmonton Green for a family friendly and socially distanced march in protest against the signing of the construction contract between the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) and Spanish company ACCIONA scheduled for 18th January.
Protesters are calling on the councilors of the seven North London boroughs who send waste to the incinerator (Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest) to pause and review the proposed rebuilding and enlarging the incinerator’s capacity, which is against Government policy to move towards a circular economy. Protesters want the NWLA to commission and publish an independent assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts on the boroughs and to organise emergency meetings to review and pause the contract signing.
Campaigners are determined to continue the work of the Stop the Edmonton Incinerator Campaign. This includes informing residents of crucial information and participating fully in the May council elections. Legal action is also being considered.
The forthcoming protest is part of the longstanding campaign Stop the Edmonton Incinerator, which has brought together local residents across North London in a fight that has included legal challenges, deputations at Council meetings, provision of scientific data to councilors, waste reduction and recycling proposals, letter campaigns, information events, a council tax strike and several public protests including: the blocking of the North Circular in September 2021; a blockade of the current incinerator in December 2021 and local doctor Edward Tranah’s three-day “Doctors Against Incineration” vigil and march (also in December 2021).
The main reasons for the campaign’s demand to pause the signing and to review the planned project are:
- The new incinerator will be built in a deprived and diverse area, where people are already at higher risk from air pollution. Building an ever bigger incinerator than the existing one is a clear statement of the environmental racism and social injustice the local community has been subjected to for years.
- The incinerator is also an environmental disaster; it is predicted to emit 700 thousand tonnes of CO2 into our atmosphere every year – the single largest source of carbon emissions in North London. It is unjustifiable in the middle of a climate emergency.
- North London has some of the lowest recycling rates in the country. There is huge scope to reduce, reuse and recycle much more of our black bag waste instead of burning it. The enormous amount of money to be invested in the incinerator should be used to create a modern waste management system.
- The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) has failed to inform people in Edmonton and the wider area about the incinerator rebuild, rightly fearing that openness and scrutiny would allow local people to express their resistance to the new incinerator.
- It was clear at the NLWA meeting on 16 December that councils have also failed to independently assess the NLWA proposals by considering alternatives. So far only Haringey council has asked the NLWA to pause and review the incinerator plans. Meanwhile, there is an obvious conflict of interest at the NLWA itself. The chair and two senior staff are also directors of the private company, London Energy Ltd, that stands to benefit from a new incinerator.
- The Mayor of London’s office estimates that London will have 250,000 tonnes of surplus energy-from-waste incineration capacity in the near future. There is no need for an incinerator in Edmonton.
Even José Manuel Entrecanales, the CEO of Acciona, the company that intends to sign the incinerator construction contract this coming Tuesday 18th January, recognises the ‘massive oversizing’. He has also questioned the argument for more incineration capacity in London .
Nationally the situation is just as grim. Alarmingly, without Government intervention, 50 new incinerators will be in operation in the UK by 2030. This will double the national incineration capacity and lock us into an additional 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. The coalition of voices against this incinerator expansion already includes MPs from all parties, doctors, scientists, community groups and residents. The signing of the contract will only strengthen the campaign against the incinerator, as more people become aware of the injustice inflicted on them by their council and the NLWA. Instead of choosing environmental racism and climate disaster, campaigners demand that their elected representatives show vision and create a waste management system fit for a world in the grip of a public health crisis, environmental racism and climate emergency.
Image by Stop The Edmonton Incinerator Now.