Incinerator cost review refused by North London Waste Authority

Waltham Forest Council’s deputy leader has declined to carry out a cost review of the planned rebuild of north London’s incinerator.

The review was requested by Chingford and Woodford Green MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith, one of a number who objected to the rebuild at a North London Waste Authority meeting on June 25.

Objectors say building a larger incinerator will increase air pollution and CO2 emissions and claim the plans are based on outdated predictions of an increase in waste.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, who is chairman of the authority, said these suggestions are “disingenuous” and that the project is being “constantly reviewed”, making the cost review unnecessary.

He said: “Doing nothing, pausing, is simply not an option, you can’t continue to fudge it and kick it into the long grass.

“We have looked at the alternatives countless times. The offer that we currently have on the table is the best solution going forward with what we know now.

“At some point you have to make a decision on what you know, such is the scale of waste management.

“We are building what will be one of the most sophisticated energy from waste plants in the UK, if not Europe. We are following what very green and environmentally friendly European countries are doing.”

Responding to Sir Iain’s request for a cost review, he said the project “is constantly being scrutinised around its value for money” and encouraged him to lobby the Government to give local authorities the power to make recycling compulsory.

Dr Rebecca Redwood, a Chingford GP, told the committee: “As doctors we work daily to save lives but by making a decision to pause and review this incinerator, you will save more lives than we will in our entire careers.”

“Air pollution causes around 40,000 deaths per year in the UK. Health problems resulting from air pollution cost the UK more than £20 billion a year.

“The incinerator will release ultra-fine particulate matter that cannot be filtered. There has been no modelling of the plumes of pollution and no health impact assessment conducted on short or long-term exposure to the plumes.”

A recording of the meeting can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiqaAW4hV0U

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter