Heated debate on pipes
A 23km underground heat network is planned for Enfield, meaning years of disruption to traffic and bus routes.
The Over 50s Forum has long campaigned for increased consultation and communication from Enfield Council as it is our borough and our community.
So we have been very surprised to learn from Encaf (Enfield Climate Action Forum) that a 23km long underground network of insulated pipes is due to be installed the length and breadth of Enfield over the next few years.
Their purpose? To convey the water that carries waste heat from the new Edmonton incinerator (renamed the 'District Heating Energy Centre') in Edmonton 'Ecopark' to homes in Meridian Water, Upper Edmonton, Ponders End, Oakwood, Arnos Grove, Cockfosters and more; even, we understand, to other boroughs.
Encaf lobbied hard to prevent the expansion of the incinerator and continues to highlight the negative effects it will have on air quality and the environment, especially in Edmonton, the most deprived part of the borough of Enfield.
The waste heat comes from burning rubbish in the incinerator, which releases 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere yearly, polluting the atmosphere and intensifying the climate and ecological crises.
Encaf says that small scale district heat networks are not necessarily a bad thing, but it has seen evidence that a district heat network of this sort will be vastly bigger than is usually the case if it goes ahead, as seems to be planned. By making thousands of homes across the borough dependent on this heat, the incinerator will need to be continuously fed, despite the fact we are reducing our waste UK-wide. This suggests that waste will need to be brought in from other boroughs to keep the heat flowing.
The immediate effect on the community will be the road works involved, the consequent changes to bus timetables and traffic flow, on top of considerable existing congestion, all of which will cause immense disruption to the communities affected.
We can see this already at Edmonton Green, with huge roadworks, one-way traffic and bus diversions along Plevna Road. just behind the shopping centre. Energetik (Lee Valley Heat Network Operating Company Ltd) applied for planning permission for the 23km network and the first 7km was awarded by Enfield's Planning Committee on 28 Sept 2022. The wards affected are Upper Edmonton, Edmonton Green, Lower Edmonton, Jubilee, Ponders End, Southbury and Carterhatch.
Forum members might wish to contact their MP and/or local councillors to ask:
- Are district heat network pipes going to be installed underground where I live?
- If so, where, when and for how long?
- How can I find out exactly what will happen and what opportunities there are to comment?
Source: Enfield Over 50s Forum Newsletter, August-September 2023 (Republished with permission)