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North London Waste Authority told to take green site off plans

A north London environmental group has called on the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) to remove a conservation area from its strategy, following a successful campaign that blocked a mechanical and biological treatment (MBT) plant being built.

The Pinkham Way Alliance (PWA), which kicked off in 2011 to save the conservation area from being bulldozed, is now trying to prevent future attempts to ever build on it again.

Pinkham Way a grade 1 site of importance for nature conservation (SINC).

The proposal to build an MBT by the NLWA, which is made up of seven north London boroughs, has been shelved, but it still owns the land and campaigners want the site removed from the North London Waste Plan (NLWP).

PWA chair Stephen Brice said the site, which runs alongside the North Circular road, acts as a functional flood plane, protecting the A406 from potential flash flooding, and absorbs an estimated 100 tonnes a year of pollutants from the dual carriageway.

He said if the alliance had not been formed and been so active, “it’s very likely that we would be sitting looking at a great big MBT plant which would be finding it very difficult to find feedstock.

“There was no justification for putting forward this site because there is strong protection offered in local, London and national plans. It is only in there because the [NLWA] has bought it.

“It’s an embarrassment. It was a bad move that someone should have grasped the nettle and undone, and we would all be doing something a little bit more interesting with our lives.”

At the end of last year, Haringey’s Regulatory Committee voted to advise the council to drop Pinkham Way nature conservation site from the NLWP as a condition to give it the go-ahead, when the cabinet next meets.

The NLWA comprises Haringey, Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest councils. Six have agreed the draft regulation 19 North London Waste Plan but Haringey has yet to do so.

The alliance has since been gathering petition signatures to show local support for the recommendation before the cabinet meeting to discuss the issue, thought to be 22 January.

Brice added that minutes from a meeting on 11 October attended by the NLWA, obtained by the PWA through freedom of information requests, show that the authority regards the site as “not ideally suited to a waste facility” and that it is “focusing on developing the Edmonton Park facility”.

However, he said it is important the conservation area is removed from the plan to prevent any future threat further down the line.

In 2015, the NLWA refuted claims that it planned to move its transfer station to the site.

NLWA response

The North London Waste Plan (NLWP) is a multi-borough project which will set out the planning framework for waste management in the north London Boroughs for the next 15 years. It will identify sites for waste management use and set out policies for determining waste planning applications. The North London Waste Authority is not directly responsible for the plan, though it is everyone’s interest that the plan provides responsibly for potential future waste needs.

The draft plan has to be signed off for public consultation by each of the seven boroughs and has been signed off by six boroughs. Haringey’s consideration is taking place in January. Public consultation will take place after sign off, so there will be opportunity for interested organisations and individuals to have their say. As regards the Pinkham Way site, NLWA is aware that the Pinkham Way Alliance is arguing for it to be removed from the plan.

NLWA has owned part of the site for a number of years. Since the authority was granted permission to develop a new energy recovery facility in Edmonton, it has no current plans to develop the Pinkham Way site for residual waste use. However, due to its strategic location and planning designation as an employment site, Pinkham Way will remain an asset for the NLWA. Therefore, the authority does not intend to ask for it to be removed from the draft NLWP.

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