Smokescreen of propaganda

Thursday, 2nd December 2021

• IT was a pleasure to see a well-reasoned letter from Cllr Clyde Loakes on the North London Waste Authority’s new plant at Edmonton, (Climate Emergency Camden were wrong, November 25).

As he pointed out this question has been the subject of a great deal of false information to the point that it is hard for the public to see beyond the smokescreen of propaganda.

The simple fact is that the seven north London boroughs, of which Camden is one, produce a lot of waste: almost 600,000 tonnes of it a year.

Of course, it would be better if we did more recycling. The waste authority has been pushing the government to make recycling compulsory and to take a range of other steps.

This includes banning single-use, unrecyclable plastics, and introducing a deposit return scheme for plastic and glass bottles as soon as possible.

These are all welcome initiatives. At present about 30 per cent of our waste is recycled, and the aim is to increase this.

But the good residents of Camden sadly don’t do more. Anyone who has seen mattresses and chairs dumped in our streets, or pavements outside schools strewn with crisp packets or cans, will know this.

So it is left to Camden to do – to get rid of our mountain of waste. And most ends up in the Edmonton EcoPark, where it is sorted, recycled and the residue is incinerated.

But the incinerator was built in 1971 and is at the end of its life. No one can want an inefficient, aging plant to deal with our rubbish.

The new one that is being planned will be far more efficient and aims to provide heating for 50,000 homes and power for 100,000.

The new plant is controversial, with campaigns against it by those who attack its green credentials. Sadly they offer little in the way of alternatives that genuinely confront the widespread public indifference to the problems of waste handling and recycling.

A similar campaign was waged against St Austell’s incinerator in Cornwall.

Yet when it was finally built it won an award for its contribution to sustainability. Swedish waste-to-heat plants are so efficient that the country has to import waste to keep its furnaces running.

There is no reason why the Edmonton plant should not meet these exacting standards, while we all do our bit to recycle and reuse every single thing that we can.

MARTIN PLAUT, NW5

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