MPs call for government to apply ‘COP26 test’ to incinerator project 

Jeremy Corbyn and Catherine West are calling for the government to intervene in the Edmonton Incinerator project

Jeremy Corbyn and Catherine West are among those MPs calling for the government to intervene in the Edmonton Incinerator project - Credit: Hollie Adams/PA / Chris McAndrew

MPs including Iain Duncan Smith, Catherine West and Jeremy Corbyn have called for a government intervention to review the planned Edmonton Incinerator development. 

The proposals for the new incinerator have been subject to ongoing objections and protests, with critics concerned about the potential environment impact and its construction in a poor, residential part of Edmonton. 

The North London Waste Authority (NLWA), which features representatives from seven north London boroughs including Haringey, Islington, Camden and Hackney and oversees the facility, however argues that it will provide hundreds of jobs, deliver enough energy for 127,000 homes, and will contribute minimal particulate levels. 

An indicative image of the Edmonton Incinerator

An indicative image of what the Edmonton Incinerator may look like - Credit: Grimshaw Architects

The matter was debated in Westminster Hall on February 9, having been brought forward by Sir Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green. 

Mr Smith raised concerns including the “significant” increase in size of the incinerator since it was first planned and its potential impact on local constituents’ health. 

He said: “It is a cross-party issue, not one that divides along normal party lines, because it affects ordinary people in the constituencies and in the areas that I’ve referred to, and affects them regardless of what their political views are. 

“I’ve never come across a constituent who actually wants this.” 

He added: “The whole point of this is that when it all goes so badly wrong, the government has to look at this again and ask the question, how can it be that with spiralling costs, health damage, and pollution issues, we still plough ahead with a technology that is no longer needed that will damage my constituents and many other constituents’ lives?” 

People march along Fore St in a protest against the Edmonton Incinerator on 16.01.22.

People marching along Fore Street in a protest against the Edmonton Incinerator - Credit: Polly Hancock

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These sentiments were echoed by Mr Corbyn (Islington North) and Ms West (Hornsey and Wood Green), including calling for the government to step in. 

Mr Corbyn said that collectively, we need to "challenge the conventional orthodoxy about waste disposal, because if we don’t challenge the conventional orthodoxy that somehow or other incineration is a good thing, then we’re going to end up continuing to damage the lungs of our children and of our communities”. 

He later added: “Can we just pause for a minute and think about what we’re doing?” 

Ms West concurred that greater scrutiny over such proposals is required, saying: “It feels as though this project hasn’t had the COP26 test applied to it, and I feel that now would be a good time for the government to look again and to challenge whether there is more that could be done.”