Why skirt round the big incinerator issue?

Friday, 14th January

Caroline Russell with bike

Green councillor Caroline Russell

• I’M surprised by the mild tone of Councillor Caroline Russell’s January 7 article in the Tribune (There’s still a long way to go but Islington is getting greener).

We all support the council’s efforts to create a healthier and sustainable Islington.

However she rather skirts over the biggest environmental issue in north London, the building of an enlarged waste incinerator in Edmonton.

The council recently voted to go ahead with a plan for a 30 per cent larger incinerator that will pump out up to 700,000 tonnes of CO2 a year along with health damaging particulates (every tonne of waste burn produces around a tonne of CO2).

This will nullify efforts to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from traffic through the ULEZ ultra low emission zone and other measures to clean up London’s air.

An estimated 9,400 premature deaths a year result from air pollution in our city.

Most of the waste currently burned could be recycled. Only around 30 per cent of our waste is being recycled.

The projected cost of the Edmonton incinerator, set in an “eco-park” is currently £1.2 billion and this will certainly rise.

North London councils are signing up to a construction contract that will cost 40 per cent higher (around £300million) than other current incinerator projects. Questions on this are not being answered.

The plan has been challenged by doctors, pollution experts, environmental scientists, MPs and residents who will suffer directly from the health impacts of waste burning for decades.

Data and evidence show that this incinerator is the worst option for dealing with our waste, financially and environmentally.

Cllr Russell’s motion to the council on December 9 called for a pause and review of the incinerator project.

But rather than proper consideration of the arguments and evidence, leading councillors amended the motion, transforming it into wholehearted support for the plan. I’m surprised Cllr Russell has taken this so patiently.

Islington Council does indeed have a long way to go greener. Their support for the Edmonton incinerator greatly undermines the council’s pledges on creating a sustainable environment.

Tackling air pollution and meeting climate and environmental goals will involve more than some tree planting, parklets, and friendly public spaces if they really are taking the eco emergency seriously.

MARTIN FRANKLIN
Environment Officer the Islington North
Constituency Labour Party

Related Articles