Thursday, 7 July 2011

Speech by Enfield Labour Councillor on Pinkham Way and Edmonton, and Bowes Labour's Submission to the 'North London Waste Plan'

"Madam Mayor, first things first. I want to state that I am against the new waste plant being located at Pinkham Way, or indeed anywhere in Enfield. Similarly, I am consternated by the argument that these are the only solutions on offer. Despite libellous misrepresentations by third-rate political attack dogs, my stance has been clear throughout the year since I was elected councillor.

"This doesn’t prevent me, as a trained environmentalist, from preparing mitigation strategies, in case Haringey ends up opting for Pinkham Way. Because - let’s be honest – this remains a distinct possibility, irrespective of what Enfield says, or does. Still, as a starting point, it is useful to repeat my personal opposition, and get that out of the way.

"The big lie, however, would be to stop the conversation there, as if rejecting Pinkham Way solves the problem. It does not. David Burrowes and the Enfield Tories pretend that it’s enough, but they are being deeply insincere. On one hand, they sweep under the rug the fact that some alternative will be needed, if Pinkham Way is stopped. Simply stated, Edmonton’s facilities are not even close to being big enough.

"On the other hand, the party opposite also glosses over the obvious fact that today’s alternatives are severely limited by actions taken in 2009, when they sat on the NLWA. By this, I am referring to the Tories’ failure to prevent their Barnet cronies from taking off the table my preferred option, Staples Corner. I am also referring to their failure to stop the NLWA from spending so much, to buy the Pinkham Way site, that they supposedly reject now.

"How can the Tories pretend that these outcomes do not limit our choices today? It's a smokescreen, and in private, several of their members have admitted as such to me. It’s time to insert some honesty into this debate.

"It’s also time to insert some morality. I am sure that it is a simple coincidence that the Tories went so easy on Barnet, an affluent borough, full of Conservative Party supporters. What seems less coincidental is the Tories’ preferred alternative to Pinkham Way, to wit, dumping more and more waste on the deprived communities of Edmonton, which Cllr Lavender once officially referred to as a 'UN feeding station'. This is ethical corruption of the worst kind, and it shames the party opposite.

"Madam Mayor, one thing that Los Angeles, Paris, Hamburg, and Enfield have in common is that their poor districts are in the East. The reason is that these cities are all in the Northern hemisphere, where prevailing westerly winds push dirty air in an eastern direction. Indeed, since the Industrial Revolution, one constant in urban planning has been for the poor to live in rubbish generated by the rich.

"Enlightened cities worldwide fight this evil by forcing communities to take responsibility for their waste. Enfield’s Tories, on the other hand, advocate a system where the rich free-ride on the back of the poor, externalising nuisances, and monopolising healthy ecospheres. I ask you, Madam Mayor - don’t the poor deserve the same clean environment as the rich? Must the poor die young because rightwingers view them as little more than human dumping grounds?

"I ask everyone to share an image engraved in my head, and that I witnessed, most notably, in the slums of Manila and Mexico City. This image is one of families with many many children living in municipal dumps, sifting through garbage, breathing toxic chemicals, drinking putrid water. It is the kind of ecological inequality that results from a Conservative world-view, one where the rich can luxuriate in pristine environments, while the poor drown in muck.

"Edmonton has suffered for decades, and as an Enfield resident and councillor sworn to defend the interests of Bowes ward, I feel a debt of gratitude for its sacrifice. Because of this, there is no longer any justification for anywhere in or near Enfield to host a new waste plant. It is high time that the burden of waste management was shared fairly by poor and rich alike. Normally, this means Barnet.

"This is a clear moral imperative, and I am shocked by how quickly it is forgotten by supposedly ethical people, ranging from MPs to wannabe Green politicians. I say shame on all of us, if we lose our moral compass.

"Madam Mayor, as a progressive Labour environmentalist, I believe that ecological and social justice cannot exist without each other. This has been the great battle of my 54 years on this Earth. It is also a battle that I will wage until I die. After all, in the end, at night we must all sleep alone with our conscience."

Cllr Alan Sitkin, Bowes ward

7 July 2007

Archie Onslow
North London Waste Plan
Camden Town Hall
Argyle Street
London, WC1H 8EQ

Following our local authority's 6 July Council meeting, we, the duly elected councillors of Bowes ward (London Borough of Enfield) submit the following representation in relation to the North London Waste Plan, and specifically, in regard to the proposed construction of a new waste processing plant at Pinkham Way.

For reasons including, but not limited to, the site's proximity to residential districts, and consequences for traffic and air quality in an already congested zone, we assert that it contravenes a number of salient planning policies and must therefore be rejected. This is particularly important, given the expected increase in local population and traffic, in the wake of the Ladderswood and North Circular development schemes. 

We also assert that there is no justification, in waste management terms, for the Pinkham Way site to be used as a depot for Barnet's refuse vehicles, since this would further aggravate local congestion and pollution.

At the same time, we assert that the current preferred alternative to Pinkham Way - to wit, an expansion of facilities in Edmonton - must also be rejected, for reasons including, but not limited to, the negative impact this would have on the elimination of the Edmonton Eco-Park incinerator, and for a further aggravation of already unacceptable traffic and air quality levels in this area. This is particularly pertinent, in light of the fact that for decades, the communities of East Enfield have supported more than their fair share of North London's total waste processing burden.

Thus, to ensure that London Borough of Enfield as a whole receives equitable treatment (in the legal sense of this term), we assert that it behooves [we've checked that - it's okay] the NLWP to specify that any new waste plant being built in the NLWA region be located a significant distance from Enfield's boundaries, and in a borough that has yet to accommodate a full-scale waste processing plant. 

We are aware that potential sites have been identified in London Borough of Barnet, which features similar transportation links as Enfield, and it possesses industrial spaces characterised by relatively sparse residential density. We therefore ask that the use of Barnet sites be progressed in the NLWP.


Cllr Achilleas Georgiou
Cllr Yasemin Brett
Cllr Alan Sitkin

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