Chingford Comment

MP Column: We must stop this expansion

In our second MP column, Sir Iain Duncan Smith speaks out against the new incinerator


I believe expanding the incinerator at Edmonton Eco Park will be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of residents, have a huge environmental impact and fail to represent good value for the taxpayer. As I and many local councillors and MPs have stated time and time again: this expansion must be stopped.

After half a century of use, the incinerator was being decommissioned, giving the potential to make way for greener and cleaner waste disposal. [Ed note – A NLWA spokesperson states there were never plans to decommission] Instead, the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) has decided to not only replace it but also increase its capacity by at least 30 per cent. This new incinerator will have the capacity to burn a massive 700,000 tonnes of waste every year, releasing ultra-fine particulate matter, which has been linked to various health conditions.

It is clear that North London does not need this extra waste disposal when so much of our existing waste could be recycling or composted. The proposals for the expansion were drawn up despite waste falling year on year since 2015 and mean the new incinerator will be three times too large for North London’s needs. [The NLWA states this is “entirely incorrect” as “a proportion of north London’s waste is being sent elsewhere including to landfill” due to current capacity] In order to provide the incinerator with enough waste to burn, rubbish will be driven from across London and beyond to make up the short fall, clogging up roads and filling the air with unnecessary exhaust fumes. [The NLWA states the proposed plant “can operate at lower volumes… so there is no need for us to take in external waste from other areas.”]

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The project also clearly does not represent good value for money and, in my view, the costs will likely only spiral. Last month, what should have been a competitive bid process ended with the one remaining bidder being waved through by a nominal vote, after all remaining bidders either dropped out or merged.

It is clear that local people do not want this incinerator. Its expansion will be detrimental to residents’ health and to the environment in which they live, work and relax. The use of public funds for this project needs the scrutiny of a Value for Money Review, which I continue to demand from Government. Let’s work together to ‘Stop the Edmonton Incinerator’.

Read the first in our series of MP columns – from Stella Creasy here.

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