An open letter to the councillors on the NLWA (North London Waste Authority)

All credit to the Hackney Gazette (https://tinyurl.com/2hjaz3yk) for exposing the dismissive rejection of discussion at the AGM of the North London Waste Authority on the planned new Edmonton incinerator. Cllr Clyde Loakes’s fourteen years in the position of chair suggests he has an unhealthy attachment to the plan which is impairing his willingness to listen to legitimate concerns. Evidence that global warming is an emergency is daily screaming at us and yet whether it is local councillors, the mayor of London or the government, we seem set on a course to raise carbon emissions and worsen air pollution with this proposed monster of an incinerator, the Silvertown tunnel and new drilling for oil in the North Sea.

All that was asked at the public meeting was let’s ‘pause and review’ before saddling the seven local authorities with an environmentally reckless project where, as the Gazette reported, costs have soared from £650m to £1.2bn. Clyde Loakes misused his position by closing down discussion. The NLWA seems to want to plough ahead while concealing key facts from the public: the new incinerator’s benefits are illusory. It is heralded as superior to landfill but this is now seriously in doubt. It will provide energy from waste, but only by irresponsibly burning material such as recyclable plastic and compostables that should be first extracted. Consuming such waste makes it a greater polluter than a conventional coal power station. Its vast capacity of 700,000 tonnes will produce an equivalent amount of CO2 and furthermore, to remain viable, it will always need to operate on this scale hence acting as a disincentive to recycling. These points were clearly made but brushed aside by Cllr Clyde Loakes. He, particularly, should not stifle debate and more of his fellow councillors should listen to and heed local concerns; too much is at stake. 

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