Two arrested at protest against incinerator rebuildActivists have stepped up their protests ahead of plans to appoint a contractor this week
Two activists blockading the Edmonton Incinerator in protest at rebuild plans have been arrested on suspicion of "aggravated trespass".
The incinerator, located just over the border from Chingford, burns waste from the seven north London boroughs that make up the North London Waste Authority (NLWA).
The NLWA has for years planned to rebuild the facility, first built in 1969, but are opposed by campaigners worried about pollution and calling for incineration to be phased out in favour of recycling.
Around 25 campaigners from Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter and Stop the Edmonton Incinerator arrived early in the morning to block the access roads to the plant in Advent way.
The activists have no plans to budge soon (credit: Extinction Rebellion)
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said police were called to the facility at 6am this morning and had arrested two people so far.
They added: "Officers remain at the scene and a policing plan is in place."
Waltham Forest campaigner Sarah Eastwood, who kicked off a council tax strike over the project, said: “We are here to tell our councils and the NLWA that we will not accept this incinerator. It is bad for the planet and bad for our communities - local people deserve better.
“We won’t stop campaigning until our elected representatives pause to get an independent review of the plans, and conduct a genuine, inclusive and democratic local consultation.”
On 16th December, the NLWA board, chaired by Waltham Forest Council deputy leader Clyde Loakes, is set to appoint company Acciona to rebuild the plant after all other bidders dropped out.
Sarah added: “We also want to send a message to Acciona: we won't sit back and let you make money at the expense of our community.
“We see you promoting your sustainable credentials internationally, this is unacceptable greenwashing in the face of this ecocide and environmental racism.”
Sarah Eastwood (courtesy of Davey Montagnon)
Campaign groups such as Black Lives Matter oppose the rebuild on the grounds that air pollution from burning waste will disproportionately affect the residents that live closest to the site, which in Edmonton is a largely black community.
Speaking as chair of the NLWA, Cllr Loakes has denied that expanding the incinerator’s capacity will have a significant impact on residents’ health and insists the plan is the “best solution going forward”.
He previously said: “We need to build a modern replacement facility now or risk residents’ waste being sent to landfill.
“We have looked at the alternatives countless times. The offer that we currently have on the table is the best solution going forward with what we know now.
“We are building what will be one of the most sophisticated energy from waste plants in the UK, if not Europe. We are following what very green and environmentally friendly European countries are doing.”
The NLWA are spending an estimated £960million rebuilding the incinerator and expect to start construction in the middle of next year.