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Protest over new incinerator brings North Circular to standstill

Campaigners protesting plans to expand the Edmonton Incinerator brought the North Circular to a standstill at their latest demonstration Climate activists […]By Waltham Forest Echo

Demonstrators protest against the incinerator plans at the march on Saturday (credit: Extinction Rebellion)
Demonstrators protest against the incinerator plans at the march on Saturday (credit: Extinction Rebellion)

Campaigners protesting plans to expand the Edmonton Incinerator brought the North Circular to a standstill at their latest demonstration

Climate activists and residents – said to number in the hundreds – marched from Edmonton Green to the planned site of the new incinerator in Advent Way, just over the border from Chingford.

The event on Saturday, 25th September, was part of a national day of action against waste incineration that saw protests in several cities across the UK.

Opponents of the incinerator – part of a £1.2billion project led by the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) – warn it will release carbon dioxide and other pollutants, harming the health of residents nearby.

Andy Thomson, from Extinction Rebellion Waltham Forest, said the march disrupted traffic on the North Circular for up to an hour. “We are angry,” he said. “We feel that the community has not been consulted properly – especially since the declaration of a climate emergency by six out of seven of the councils [that form NLWA].

“On the one hand, councils are declaring climate emergencies. On the other hand, they are investing in operations to burn waste, pollute the atmosphere and emit carbon dioxide for what would be five decades.

“The [current] incinerator is at the end of its life. We are in a climate crisis. We should not be investing in the same polluting policies.”

The new incinerator, given planning permission in 2017, is designed to take waste from the seven London boroughs that together form NLWA: Enfield, Barnet, Haringey, Camden, Waltham Forest, Hackney and Islington.


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NLWA, which is chaired by Waltham Forest Council’s deputy leader Clyde Loakes, claims the project, which also includes construction of new recycling facilities, will reduce landfill and boost recycling.

It argues rebuilding and modernising the incinerator will slash its carbon emissions by 215,000 tonnes per year. Campaigners, meanwhile, claim the new plant will still emit 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

They also claim pollutants from the incinerator are likely to affect the health of the incinerator’s closest neighbours, which include some of the most deprived areas in London, such as Edmonton in Enfield.

The NLWA, however, insists the new incinerator will be “the cleanest in the country” and will not have a negative impact on health.

A NLWA spokesperson said: “Public Health England is completely clear that modern facilities like ours do not have a significant impact on air quality or people’s health.

“For the large majority of the year, the contribution to pollution concentrations at ground level is effectively zero and well below the limits of detection. It would only be for a few hours in a year that its contribution would be measurable, and this would be at levels of less than 2% of the relevant air quality standard.

“We understand the positive intentions of protesters, but it is unrealistic and irresponsible to assume that hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste generated by North London residents can be managed without relevant infrastructure.

“We know that most North Londoners want their waste to be processed efficiently and safely. This is the vital work that our teams of key workers carry out every day at the Edmonton EcoPark, and [which] NLHPP will safeguard for another generation.”


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