Friday, 27 May 2011
Pinkham Way Statement
Haringey Green party took the decision this week to formally oppose the North London Waste Authority’s (NLWA) plans for a large scale waste management plant at Pinkham Way just off the A406 North Circular road at Bounds Green.
The plant aims to cater for refuge from at least seven north London boroughs although the NLWA may be scaling this back, to just three boroughs to begin with. The plan is lodged with Haringey council’s planning committee now and I’ve just heard that consultation has been extended to 8th July this year (which fulfils to some extent one of the party’s criteria for opposing the site at this stage).
Local people have formed the Pinkham Way Alliance (PWA) to oppose the plan, and if you wander around the streets closest to the proposed siting of the plant, you will be left in no doubt that opposition is strong. Although fifty years ago it was a sewage works, the site itself is a grade 1 conservation site now with rare plants and bats in residence. This piece of wild land is a buffer for residents from the pollution spewed out by heavy traffic on the North Circular and is in effect the lungs of the area. This plant will not only take away this buffer, but will also add to traffic emissions and some incineration and Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) methods will make matters even worse.
Haringey Green party, whilst welcoming some of the treatment technology and recycling facilities proposed in the NLWA plan, as being better than current landfill methods of dealing with our waste, has set out seven criteria which need to be met before any such development should receive planning permission. They are as follows:
1. The plant is on a much smaller scale, such as the MBT facility in Salford.
2. Air quality is rigorously monitored, and this is incorporated into the contract.
3. There is no incineration.
4. Workers are all paid a London Living Wage.
5. A full environmental impact assessment is carried out before the plant is approved.
6. Reduction of waste arising from households, businesses and fly-tipping, year on year, needs to be a contractual requirement (that is, they have to devise some mechanism perhaps by paying the waste collection companies or the local authorities to do intensive and successful public education work, whereby the MBT plant operator doesn't just pass the buck by sending the waste somewhere else, or meeting a pseudo-target to cut household or business waste which happens in practice to mean more of it gets fly-tipped instead).
7. There should be full and transparent public consultation before any planning permission is granted. The consultation process should be agreed with local concerned community groups and should include public meeting(s) with the opportunity to question the waste authority.
It is hard to see NWLA or the private contractor who will run the site meeting these requirements as the pressure will be on to maximise profits and claims will be made that the plant would be ‘uneconomic’, but we will see in due course. Ideally, each borough (or perhaps two neighbouring boroughs) should have their own waste management centres, to cut transportation distances and so traffic emissions. But at the end of the day, it will take a huge cultural transformation in the way we package consumer items and a return to reusing bottles, jars, bags etc to have a truly sustainable waste policy.