New North London incinerator crucial to reaching Net Zero, says consultancy

Edmonton EcoPark
“Failure to build the new facility could result in 700,000 tonnes of our residents’ rubbish going to landfill each year," says NLWA chair Clyde Loakes
Expert analysis suggests that failure to replace an ageing incinerator in North London with a new energy recovery facility could lead to the same carbon impact as adding 110,000 cars on the road every year.

Engineering consultants, Ramboll, which assessed the carbon impact of the new plant at Edmonton EcoPark, found the new energy recovery facility (ERF) could save 215,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide being released every year – the equivalent emissions of 110,000 cars.

The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) first announced its plans to replace the existing plant at Edmonton EcoPark with an ERF back in 2014, and the project was awarded a development consent order (DCO) in February 2017. The process will be ongoing over the next ten years, with the expectation to be fully operating by the end of 2025 or, at the latest, 2027.

Reflecting similar models set up in Germany and Belgium, targets were set to be recycling at least 50 per cent of the centre’s collected waste by 2020 and to treat the remaining waste in a clean and sustainable way.

By replacing the existing incinerator with a new ERF, the plant would be capable of processing non-recyclable waste into energy – up to 78 megawatts of low carbon energy in the form of heat and power. This would displace the need to use virgin fossil fuels such as gas and coal, and help with the overall drive towards Net Zero.

NLWA plan to incorporate the best available technology for removing nitric oxide from Edmonton’s emissions and help improve air quality in the local areas (Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest). More than two million residents live in the seven boroughs and NLWA is responsible for helping dispose of the 850,000 tonnes of waste collected there each year.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Chair of NLWA, says: “Failure to build the new facility could result in 700,000 tonnes of our residents’ rubbish going to landfill each year, which would generate the equivalent of an extra 215,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the same pollution as putting an extra 110,000 cars on the road. That’s more than every householders’ car in Waltham Forest.

“Dumping rubbish in landfill would also mean thousands more journeys by bin lorries travelling to the landfill site outside London, congesting roads and emitting more pollution.”

The government’s advisory Committee for Climate Change is clear there needs to be four times the amount of low carbon power options in the UK to achieve Net Zero. Modern waste facilities, such as that proposed at Edmonton, are technically compatible with this.

NWLA looked into the options for dealing with the waste left after recycling and consulted residents on their findings. Using feedback from the first round of consultations, in 2015, public exhibitions were opened in the local area to help inform residents of the upcoming changes, and it was agreed that replacing the facility at Edmonton with a brand new ERF was the most environmentally beneficial way to deal with the waste.

You can read more about the North London Waste Authority on the NWLA website, and more about the project at Edmonton EcoPark on the North London Heat and Power website.

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