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Forum topic: The Waste Plan and Pinkham Way - where are things now?

The Waste Plan and Pinkham Way - where are things now?

Karl Brown

13 Jan 2023 17:17 #6740

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The seven north London boroughs – all Waste Planning Authorities – are required to produce a Waste Local Plan. Agreeing to address this task together, they produced the North London Waste Plan (NLWP). It was ultimately found sound in October 2021 and adopted in all seven boroughs by August 2022. It now forms a key part of their respective planning hierarchy.

One key element of the NLWP is to set planning policies; the other is to ensure (enough) suitable land is available for waste management purposes. It addresses all principal waste streams from domestic through to sewerage sludge and low-level radioactive matter.

The Pinkham Way Alliance (PWA) has a decade plus background in helping the boroughs with this task, although not always to their liking.

Note all this is separate to the North London Waste Strategy which focuses on municipal (mainly household) waste and is prepared by the eight partner authorities – the seven boroughs plus the NLWA. The latest NLWS, agreed in 2008, expired in 2020. A fresh version is still awaited; I would say was needed long before 2020 given the pace of environmental change since its inception.

For the NLWP it was ultimately concluded that a small element of extra land would be required - based on present and planned waste management capacity vs forecast waste growth. Part of the identified locations, claimed to be suitable in principle for waste use, was “Pinkham Way”.

“Pinkham Way” is two joined plots of land, one owned by Barnet Council the other by the NLWA. Going west along the north circular “Pinkham Way” is the green area visible to your left immediately on exiting the main-line railway bridge. It is bounded by the north circular, the mainline railway to its east, Muswell Hill golf course to its south and Hollickwood Park to its west. It is no longer accessible to the public. Inside, nature has been allowed to develop and do its own thing. It is habitat and species rich, a Grade One Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC).

Any proposal to develop part or all of Pinkham Way (whether for waste or any other use) will be subject to all the same national, regional and local planning considerations as an application for planning permission for land that is not listed in the NLWP.

In the case of Pinkham Way such hurdles will be high given the local planning requirements flowing from the NLWP: As a result of PWA’s challenges the final approval of the NLWP included a raft of “Main Modifications”. In MM113 the Inspector set out in detail, over some 10 pages, the multi-layered constraints, conditions and planning difficulties on Pinkham Way. These are principally matters that PWA had set out in detail over the previous decade. He concluded at para 203 of his Report that: “These modifications are provided by MM113 and are necessary for the Plan to be effective”. Or putting it another way, without them the plan would not have been approved. MM113 is attached.

It seems very unlikely that the history of PW is over. For one thing it remains valued in the NLWA accounts at over £14m, arguably questionable given its status and NLWP restrictions. Whether the future sees it as “green”, with its present-day climate change benefits being protected or even enhanced, or it faces a desire to see its position on a strategic road close to one of the UK’s most congested junctions employed for say distribution, remains to be seen. In the meantime, nature is doing its thing, and we all benefit in a knock-on way.

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