North London is fighting back against the Edmonton incinerator

For 50 years the Edmonton incinerator in north London has been burning rubbish that could be recycled and creating toxic air pollution in one of the poorest parts of the UK. Now the North London Waste Authority (NLWA), representing seven London boroughs, wants to rebuild it even bigger. It’s an issue in which class, race and climate struggles intersect together. A stark example of environmental racism, of environmental ‘poor doors’ policies being implemented – it is also a great model for local communities fighting back, building unity across struggles.

The new incinerator will produce more than 700,000 tonnes of CO2 every year, while emitting fine particulates that can damage the lungs of children, damaging health in Edmonton, an area already marked by low life expectancy. The amount of carbon dioxide pumped out per year will be the equivalent of an extra 250,000 diesel cars. If the plans go ahead, the community in this part of London, 60% of it being black and minority ethnic, will be saddled with a new, bigger, incinerator for the next half century – replacing the existing one built in the 1970s. Air pollution in Edmonton already goes beyond legal limits. It’s the health of working class and people of colour that suffers as a result. The campaign against this environmental disaster has now reached a vital stage. Please read on!

Six of the seven boroughs sending their rubbish waste to the Edmonton incinerator for disposal are Labour Party controlled: Camden, Enfield (where the incinerator is sited), Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Waltham Forest, with Tory Barnet keeping them company. These boroughs are all represented on the board of the NLWA which is responsible for the incinerator. The NLWA is chaired by Cllr Clyde Loakes, deputy leader of Waltham Forest Council. Waltham Forest and other Labour councils have declared climate emergencies – a sick joke!

The NLWA board will be making a crucial decision on the 16th of December. They’ll decide if they’ll go ahead with the new incinerator, and whether the contract will go to Acciona, a Spanish based multinational construction company.

The cost of the incinerator is understood to be £683m! Acciona presents itself as green due to its large renewable energy portfolio. However, its wind projects in Mexico have led to land grabbing and violation of the rights of indigenous peoples. Acciona is also involved in fossil fuel infrastructure construction including gas terminals and storage, profiting off the gas lock-in. Other bidding companies have withdrawn, reflecting a strong campaign waged against the incinerator.

Marching down the north circular

In late September, hundreds of inspiring local people, Black Lives Matter, and XR, along with an RMT banner, marched together to the incinerator site, closing down the A406 north circular dual carriageway in a brilliant mass community action. Demos have also taken place at local council meetings in recent weeks, including Haringey. These are beginning to pay off, with Haringey Council last week becoming the first local authority to call upon the NLWA to ‘pause and review’ the new incinerator plans. A Council Tax strike has also started in Waltham Forest, which is likely to spread to other north London boroughs. 

Protesting at the Haringey Council meeting

But we now have just a short time to force the NLWA and Acciona not to go ahead. If the company can be ‘persuaded’ not to continue with its bid, the sell-out labour controlled NLWA will be left high and dry.

On the ground, mass actions continue to be essential. But all available actions are needed in this phase of the campaign to make Acciona realise we mean business when we say we’re going to make their life hell if they proceed. It claims to be a green company, “leading the corporate fight to mitigate the effects of the climate emergency and accelerate change towards decarbonised energy”. Call it out! Please send messages to Acciona via: https://linktr.ee/StopTheBurn You can use this to for Twitter or Facebook messages, or easy to submit TrustPilot reviews. TELL ACCIONA IT’S NOT WANTED IN NORTH LONDON!

To contact the Edmonton incinerator campaign, or find out more about other actions, see their website https://stop-edmonton-incinerator.org/