Opposing the Edmonton incinerator plan

Thursday, 30th June

Edmonton incinerator c2

Singing protesters angry over the building of a new waste-burning incinerator in Edmonton brought a waste authority meeting to a standstill.

• AS you report, singing climate justice activists disrupted the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) annual meeting on June 23.

Their aim? They wanted to prevent the board – made up of two councillors from each of the seven north London boroughs – from reappointing the chair, Cllr Clyde Loakes of Waltham Forest, for a fifteenth (yes, fifteenth) consecutive term.

The reason? They hoped a change in NLWA leadership might lead to a pause and review of NLWA plans to build a superfluous waste incinerator in Edmonton, one of the UK’s most deprived areas.

If built, the plant would entrench environmental racism, exacerbate toxic air emissions, and pump as much CO2 into the atmosphere as 250,000 additional diesel cars on the road – although London already has more incineration capacity than required to treat truly non-recyclable waste.

The activists also hoped a change would usher in a more responsible approach to reuse and recycling, as well as an end to greenwashing.

They want to put a halt to NLWA’s false claims: that the incinerator would produce “low-carbon” energy, that it is required to keep waste from being “diverted to landfill” (when the true alternative to burning waste in Edmonton is sending it to commercial incinerators), and that the climate impact of landfill is “worse” than that of incineration.

In fact the new Edmonton incinerator would release twice as much CO2 as landfill from the start, and up to four times more by the end of its operational life, as demonstrated by esteemed waste expert Dominic Hogg.

The immediate result? The board moved to another room where members reappointed the chair in a “private session” that was not webcast to the public. But the long-term impacts might already be unfolding, partly thanks to the deputation that preceded the chanting.

In delivering the deputation, XR Camden representative Dorothea Hackman called attention to the direct relationship between term limits and accountability, pointing to the Edmonton incinerator as symptomatic of NLWA’s failure to take on board “legitimate and evidenced objections”.


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