Anger over authority rejecting call to pause Edmonton incinerator

Protests outside Islington Town Hall

Protests outside Islington Town Hall - Credit: LDRS

Protesters were disappointed after politicians rejected a plea to pause the development of the £683million incinerator in Edmonton.

North London Waste Authority rejected a motion by Green councillor Caroline Russell to “pause and review” the evidence for the incinerator which could replace the 1970s one to deal with rubbish.

She said: “Burning waste doesn’t make it go away. Every tonne that’s incinerated produces hazardous waste that requires further treatment.”

Campaigners from across north London staged a protest outside Islington Town Hall. They said incineration produces pollutants that could cause ill health, as well as discouraging recycling and creating harmful carbon dioxide which causes global warming.

The move comes before a crunch meeting on Thursday (16 December) where it is likely to get the go-ahead.

The incinerator will also deal with rubbish collected by Barnet, Enfield, Hackney, Camden, Waltham Forest councils.

Haringey Council, which is one of the owners, said it thinks there should be a pause.

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Protesters claimed the incinerator was also “environmental racism” as it will be built in a deprived area of Enfield where Black communities live.

Cllr Russell said the council should look at the evidence anew “before committing to a dinosaur project that goes on forever".

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn has also called for a pause.
Resident Ben Griffith from Islington Environmental Emergency Alliance appealed to councillors to reject the incinerator.

He is staging a council tax strike – by withholding a portion of his bill in protest at the move.

He said: “Instead of the incinerator, we can sort our waste into its constituent parts. We can educate, support and incentivise the general public to do this. We can pressure companies to reduce waste. We can invest in mixed waste sorting technology.”

Rowena Champion, Islington’s politician with responsibility for the environment and transport said: “A pause and review sounds reasonable but no reason why it would be effective.”

“No one suggested that there will be something other than a substantial amount of waste generated” in the future, she said.

She pointed out that as the plant is owned by the councils they would have “democratic control” over it and make the case “for the highest possible environmental standards”.

She said the new facility, which includes an improved recycling centre would save 215,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, compared with sending it to landfill.