Thursday, 8 March 2012

Pinkham Way Alliance writes to City Hall candidates

Proposal to build huge waste processing plant in North London area of major ecological importance

"Pinkham Way Alliance (PWA) is a campaign group of several thousand concerned residents from Barnet, Haringey and Enfield, objecting to plans to build an unnecessary industrial scale waste processing plant in North London. The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) is proposing to build a 300,000-tonne Mechanical and Biological Treatment plant on 6 hectares of naturally regenerated greenfield land on the Pinkham Way site, between Colney Hatch Lane and Bounds Green, London N10.

"We are seeking your views (and those of all candidates in the Mayoral and GLA elections) on this proposal and will make sure that your response is widely publicised in the seven London boroughs comprising the NLWA. 

"In October 2010, DEFRA withdrew PFI funding from the NLWA for the Pinkham Way waste plant, because the project would no longer be needed in order to meet the 2020 landfill diversion targets set by the European Union. (1)

"The basis for the projections in the North London Waste Plan is unreliable. Here are a few comments made by their own consultants, Mouchel, in their latest Sustainability Appraisal Report (February 2012):
“The data reported here has relied to a large extent on subjective opinions. In many cases these opinions are supported by the existing evidence base but there are areas of the appraisal where the evidence base has a high degree of uncertainty” (2)
“There are significant uncertainties in the existing baseline for waste management in the North London area” (3) 
We consider the NLWA’s proposals would constitute a misuse of substantial amounts of taxpayers' money, for a plant which is not necessary to deal with waste from the NLWA area.

In particular:
  • The financial business case for this waste treatment facility was so weak that central government PFI credits were removed. For the proposal to be viable, revenue streams must be guaranteed by the seven London boroughs that have signed up to the North London Waste Plan and ultimately by their many millions of residents. The doubts raised by Mouchel about the basis for the projections in the North London Waste Plan demonstrates the lack of certainty that such a facility is necessary, let alone whether it could potentially be viable. 
  • We believe this facility will create an overcapacity of waste treatment facilities in North London. Such an overcapacity would result in the need to import waste from outside the seven North London boroughs to make the facility operationally viable. This would be over a contract period of 30 years. There are many examples of overcapacity leading to exactly this situation in other countries.
  • After 50 years of non-use, the Pinkham Way site has regenerated itself into greenfield open land and now falls within the exclusions from the definitions of ”brownfield”/”previously developed land” set out in the London Plan 2011.
  • This proposed waste treatment facility would destroy six hectares of green space vital to the wellbeing of Londoners. Pinkham Way is rich in biodiversity and is so important as a green space that the London Borough of Haringey has designated it as a grade 1 site of importance for nature conservation.
  • There are 53 schools within 3kms of the site and the local area already suffers from heavy traffic congestion and major air pollution problems, which at certain times of day are the worst in London.
  • The ongoing problems of the Farington MBT plant near Preston show that serious problems of odour from such facilities are not uncommon and can affect areas miles away from the source, and the chronic fly infestations at the Frog Island plant in London are well documented by the Environment Agency.
For more information about the proposal, please see, and We would be happy to meet with you at your convenience to discuss these issues further. Please contact me at if you wish to do so.

Yours sincerely,
Bidesh Sarkar 
Chair, Pinkham Way Alliance

(2) para 4.60 p48 Sustainability Appraisal (incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment) Environmental Report Submission Version 
(3) para 4.61 p49 Sustainability Appraisal (incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment) Environmental Report Submission Version

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