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Topic: Public consultation: North London Heat and Power Project

Public consultation: North London Heat and Power Project
03 Jun 2015 22:49 #1260

Basil Clarke Basil Clarke's Avatar Topic Author

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The public have until 30th June to comment on proposals...

The public have until 30th June to comment on proposals to build a new waste incinerator in Edmonton, considerably larger than the current incinerator, which it would replace.  The new buildings would be on the northern side of the North Circular, to the north and south of the present plant, which would then be demolished, leaving a space in between.  Public exhibitions will be held in Enfield, Edmonton, Northumberland Park and Chingford.

north london heat and power artists impressionThe scheme, which would cost £500 million and be completed in 2025, is known as the North London Heat and Power Project.  Its largest element would be an Energy Recovery Facility, which would burn unrecyclable waste and use the heat thus generated (the recovered energy) to produce both electricity and hot water - the electricity would go into the national grid, the hot water would be used for district heating schemes, such as those currently proposed by Enfield Council (the Enfield proposals would use various sources of heat, they are not dependent on the new incinerator).

The new incinerator, as well as being larger, would be much more efficient in terms of energy output over energy input than the current incinerator, which carries the lower classification of Energy from Waste Facility.

In addition to the incinerator, the project includes a new Resource Recovery Facility - essentially a facility for sorting waste as delivered to the site.  However, unlike the present "EcoPark", there would be no composting facility - the waste authority argues that this smelly activity is better done in a rural environment.  Despite this, the rebuilt EcoPark plans to continue to supply compost free of charge to community groups.

The current consultation is the second - the first phase related to more the general principle of building the facility, the second includes much more detail about its design.  On the basis of feedback from the first phase of consultation, the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) took the decision to move onto the next phase.

The NLWA has published a Phase One Consultation Feedback Report summarising the comments that were received and how it has chosen to take them onboard (or not, as the case may be).

For the current phase of consultation a large number of detailed (but generally fairly accessible) documents are available online.  They address such issues as the technologies to be used, environmental impacts, health impacts and so on.  While the new incinerator will be twice as high as the current plant, various features of the external design are meant to make it less conspicuous.

While the new plant would appear to be a great improvement in terms of energy efficiency and the amount of pollution emanating from the chimney stack (similar in size to the current chimney), a major question is whether such a mega project can be justified.  Will the amount of waste remaining after separation out of recyclables will be enough to fuel this giant?  If not, might that lead to reduced efforts to recycle, might it make the plant financially unjustifiable, might it result in the NLWA importing waste from other parts of the country?  If the project does prove to be a mistake in terms of its cost/benefit ratio, it is the north London boroughs and their residents who stand to lose.

These are some of the questions raised during the first consultation phase by campaigns such as the Pinkham Way Alliance and the Enfield Green Party, as we reported in April. Though the Authority claims confidently that the documents now available provide a sound business case, it is difficult, not to say impossible, for a layman to judge, but one cannot but have suspicions that such a huge project might be a case of empire building.

However, even if judging the overall soundness of the scheme is beyond us, there are many smaller questions where ordinary members of the public are qualified to comment.

For detailed information about the project and to comment on the proposals, see the North London Heat and Power websiteand in particular the Document Library page, which provides introductions and links to the many detailed documents.

Public exhibitions

Oasis Academy Hadley, South Street, Enfield EN3 4PX
Friday 5 June 5pm – 9pm
Saturday 13 June 10am – 4pm

The Artzone, Edmonton Green Shopping Centre, 54 The Market Square N9 0TZ
Saturday 6 June 12pm – 6pm
Tuesday 9 June 4pm – 9pm

Parkside Primary School, 82 Peel Close, Chingford E4 6XQ
Wednesday 10 June 4pm – 8pm

Neighbourhood Resource Centre, 177 Park Lane, Northumberland Park, London N17 0HJ
Thursday 11 June 4pm to 8pm

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Public consultation: North London Heat and Power Project
04 Jun 2015 16:15 #1261

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Edited version - figures corrected

Basil indicates that the Authority (NLWA) suggest the proposed incinerator is supported by a sound business case. (“Sound” being a crucial test when this comes to Public Inquiry.) The short answer is no it’s not, categorically and undoubtedly not.

There are many aspects which stand as being hugely questionable but possibly none as obvious that here is a monster piece of infrastructure, set to cost us hundreds of millions of pounds, with an expected lifetime likely to be in the order of five decades and yet if you ask where is the underlying Waste Resource Strategy which include this piece of the waste jigsaw for dealing with the output of the near 2m residents, businesses and visitors to north London you will draw a big fat blank. Apparently “sound” yet built on foundations of air.

Is that relevant? Yes for many, mainly technical planning reasons, but there are other ways of looking at it. How about this one: the proposed strategy, as I understand it, is for all residents of the seven North London Boroughs to throw their waste into the street after which those living at numbers 13 (unlucky) sifts the waste into piles. These piles will then be dealt with in some manner or other by someone or other but in particular any residual waste is NOT sent to Edmonton. Perhaps sent to Holland, which has such incinerators but not enough waste (once on they need to be constantly fed) and will so import, at roughly 50% of UK equivalent cost. So these lucky streets will save a lot of money. That strategy holds from 2020 for the next 30 or so years. Is there an alternate?

Simply can’t believe me about the strategy vacuum? Then by all means ask NLWA, your local Councillor, or indeed anyone, what the strategy is, and more particular how it supports the proposed processes, scale and supporting investment in this Edmonton site and how that then goes on to make this a “sound” , supportable investment. Good luck with that. You will discover “air”.

The NLWA may point to a strategy document, one which expires in 2020, before the Edmonton proposal will cut turf, which was wrapped up with undue haste with Pinkham Way DEFRA deadlines in mind. Sadly for them in focusing on the last proposal of making fuel briquettes out of waste at Pinkham Way to then drive to Kent to burn doesn’t tie in with what is now before us.

Their track record is in barely being able to forecast tomorrow never mind 50 years ahead and yet the capacity being built for a 2025 start is based on their expectation of waste levels in 2051. Ask if any of the senior team would bet their pension on it being within a million miles of it being accurate.

And you might wonder that why after so many years and so many tens of millions of pounds of public money being spent that the NLWA still cannot articulate a plan for the area they carry statutory responsibility for, and on which they wish to spend hundreds of millions of pound of our money. Possibly irrelevant detail they may consider for a public body which has unsigned annual accounts two years running.

You could ask why given the huge efforts over past years to argue for a different monster site at Pinkham Way to process the same residual waste –since when waste levels continued their long term decline irrespective of economic conditions and population levels - that this proposal is even bigger than that discredited one. Keen readers might choose to get right into the figures and discover that 1=1 can indeed equal 3 if that is the required answer.

If they say because we wish to import waste into London from the likes of Oxford, Reading, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Southend on Sea and such places you might ask why on earth would we be planning to do that.


You might ask why Enfield is positioning itself to be the waste centre of the south east.

You might ask why, slipped deep into one document and not assessed for cost, risk, or other relevant dimension in assessing options, that the NLWA have decided to plan for levels of waste far above what is required of them under the Mayors London Plan for waste, something called the Apportionment. Do we really want to allocate London’s scare resources of land, capital, road space, fresh air and more to processing considerably more of London’s overall waste than we are required to? Never mind adding on top of that the extra desire of the NLWA to process even more waste from the Home Counties.

I mentioned assessing options. Don’t look for options to be assessed. No point, and don’t believe the Pinkham Way supporting Outline Business Case does the job either. Ask a simple one: what options are available and with what implications for the lines proposed at Edmonton? Are the calorific risks associated with two large lines proposed? How will that risk change over time and with what potential implications for cost to ratepayers? What alternatives did you consider and with what comparative cost / benefit, risk and supporting whole-of -process profiles?

Do you think the emissions of all this additional road transport would have been correctly assessed when the long term stated intent to work with “sustainable transport” was recently thrown out of the window?

Do you believe the expected emission levels are within World Health Organisation safe –health guidelines? Why not ask.

But do be positive about Enfield Council. All seven Boroughs are required to send residual (“black bag”) waste to the NLWA. What to do with Recyclables is a Borough choice. Enfield does not deal with the NLWA on this and saves roughly £3m pa on our rates bill as a consequence. Why is the NLWA so relatively expensive?

And if anyone thinks the Pinkham Way site is “safe” let the NLWA come out definitively and say without any question of doubt that they have no ambitions to develop a huge MRF waste plant there.

Now if they had a strategy that answer itself would be obvious – one way or the other.
Some with experience might say the NLWA makes FIFA look transparent. What we do know is that waste certainly is their business, a core competency no less.

Do respond. The weight of the first consultation was centred on a relatively tight circular area centred on the site, much of which is reservoir. The plan is however central to almost 2m residents and businesses in north London. They should all be aware of what they are being asked to pay for.

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Public consultation: North London Heat and Power Project
13 Jun 2015 17:53 #1295

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The suggestion which has been floated by one very senior MP after a visit to the Edmonton incinerator is that if the plans for a new, larger incinerator are approved, then there will be no waste plant on Pinkham Way. That may be contradicted by the new North London Waste Plan which in its just released in its pre consultation form for Councillors to approve and includes a proposed waste site called - Pinkham Way. Finding it hard to keep up?!

Here's a note written by the Chair of the Pinkham way Alliance on that very piece of ground and a picture. (Viewing the site, a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation Grade 1) is not possible since access was denied by a rather tasty metal fence.

If someone mentions the term ‘Priority Habitat’ in relation to London, what immediately springs to mind? Woodland, streams and rivers, heathland, the lower reaches of the Thames –anywhere where wildlife flourishes.

But ‘Wasteland’? Whatever is ‘Wasteland’? It’s land, previously developed and then disused. The longer nature has to reclaim it, the greater the biodiversity. The London Biodiversity Partnership (LBP) values Wasteland’s importance as highly as the better-known examples above, saying it hosts a ‘remarkable diversity of species’.

Pinkham Way is Wasteland.

Industrial use there (sewage) ended over 50 years ago, followed, until 1980, by assorted dumping. Nature, left to itself, has transformed Pinkham Way into a haven for endangered birds, reptiles and invertebrates(especially spiders and beetles), with over 100 species of wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and some 1500 trees. Immense stands of blue-flowered comfrey (too immense actually!) hum with bees, and on summer mornings the birdsong is astounding. The vegetation is largely impenetrable in summer, muffling the A406’s racket and helping absorb pollution (among London’s highest). Quite extraordinarily peaceful.

The Pinkham Way Alliance (PWA) has conducted ecological and invertebrate surveys, which have confirmed the site’s status as a Grade 1 Site for Nature Conservation of Borough importance.
Haringey’s advisors commented: ‘ ... undisturbed ... a rare resource for Haringey of high ecological value’.

The owners, North London Waste Authority and Barnet, have forbidden access; thus local residents, who could derive so much enjoyment and interest from being there, or, as many have formally volunteered to do, from helping to manage it, are denied all this. The owners have no present plans for it, and won’t act to enhance it, as public authorities are supposed to do, putting the site in danger of deterioration.

This is already affecting especially a small area of grassland which is the most important on the site, and is a UK Priority Habitat. It’s ideal habitat for ground-dwelling spiders and beetles, and for invertebrates in general. It’s called Open Mosaic, and it’s where we did our survey.

While Pinkham Way’s Borough ecological importance remains a central pillar of PWA argument, its value extends far beyond the borough. As a London Priority Habitat, it has, by definition, a wider significance. PWA has submitted a 5-year management plan to Haringey.

Yet Wasteland sites don’t receive anywhere near the necessary protection. Too often, nature becomes a tiresome invader between periods of use, and habitats which Haringey itself describes as offering 'stunning diversity' disappear under concrete.
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Public consultation: North London Heat and Power Project
26 Jun 2015 13:27 #1346

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Stephen refers in his letter to the latest version of the North London Waste Plan (NLWP). The draft version of this, currently being reviewed by Councils prior to public consultation, highlights existing waste capacity in the North London sub-region, ie us, of 3.7 million tonnes. It also highlights the waste generated in our North London sub-region as being 2.4 million tonnes. You would perhaps expect that this 50%+ capacity headroom to be adequate. Even worse for this story is that under the London-wide net self sufficiency requirement, the GLA Apportionment, our sub region is tasked with managing only something like 85% of our waste to ensure the London Region's overall targeted needs are satisfied, ie not the full 2.4 million tonnes. And the current capacity figure is before the incremental capacity now being requested at Edmonton (up a further 150,000 tonnes pa on top of the 3.7 million.)

Oh, and before any plans for Pinkham Way.


It's a complex area but sometimes a simple picture can make you stop and think.


A summary of my own input to the current Edmonton consultation is attached. I'm not convinced about that part of the overall waste picture either.

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Public consultation: North London Heat and Power Project
26 Jun 2015 13:28 #1347

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Stephen refers in his letter to the latest version of the North London Waste Plan (NLWP). The draft version of this, currently being reviewed by Councils prior to public consultation, highlights existing waste capacity in the North London sub-region, ie us, of 3.7 million tonnes. It also highlights the waste generated in our North London sub-region as being 2.4 million tonnes. You would perhaps expect that this 50%+ capacity headroom to be adequate.

Even worse for this story is that under the London-wide net self sufficiency requirement, the GLA Apportionment, our sub region is tasked with managing only something like 85% of our waste to ensure the London Region's overall targeted needs are satisfied, ie not the full 2.4 million tonnes. And the current capacity figure is before the incremental capacity now being requested at Edmonton (up a further 150,000 tonnes pa on top of the 3.7 million.)

Oh, and before any plans for Pinkham Way.


It's a complex area but sometimes a simple picture can make you stop and think.


A summary of my own input to the current Edmonton consultation is attached. I'm not convinced about that part of the overall waste picture either.
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Public consultation: North London Heat and Power Project
30 Jul 2015 17:13 #1425

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The latest consultation on the North London Waste Plan opens today (30th July 2015). Twelve large reports looking at resource and waste management in North London through to 2032.

Despite what many residents had come to believe, the nearby site at Pinkham Way is not “saved”. Instead it has been identified as one of the “most suitable, sustainable and deliverable locations in North London for new waste management facilities.”

It is also one which, according to the London Biodiversity Partnership, contains “a remarkable diversity of species” and includes a section of a UK Priority Habitat. More generally it is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) Grade 1. As part of recent analysis a Reptile Survey identified a small breeding colony of slow-worms, a protected species, while an on-going survey identified a rich variety of spiders and beetles, some rare.

Much is written about the importance of green space and its protection in our crowded and climate-change threatened City, but perhaps the experience of Cecil the lion has finally highlighted that people really do care about the unjustified exploitation of our natural world. Potentially concreting over this green space when the case for this additional (waste) site appears flimsy may be thought of as a step too far.

Twelve detailed reports in all their complexity is more than most residents can be expected to absorb but the task will be undertaken by the Pinkham Way Alliance. Well over one thousand residents added their signature to the last PWA input. You can have the chance to add yours to the final PWA submission once it is available and so provide better protection to this valuable piece of London’s Green Infrastructure. Simply register on the web site for newsletter updates.

www.pinkhamwayalliance.org/

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