NLWA formally signs £683m Edmonton contract

The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) has formally signed a £683 million contract with Spanish construction company Acciona to build the new Edmonton energy from waste (EfW) plant.

NLWA says the new EfW facility will divert up to 700,000 tonnes of waste from landfill every year

The signing of the contract on Monday (24 January) will see Acciona begin preparation works at the site ahead of constructing the 700,000 tonnes per year facility.

Despite significant controversy surrounding the redevelopment, the NLWA approved a joint bid from Acciona and Hitachi Zosen Inova to build the plant in December (see letsrecycle.com story).

The NLWA says the plant will be operational by 2025.

By replacing the old EfW plant in Edmonton, which is decades old, the NLWA says it will ensure the creation of hundreds of skilled jobs including at least 418 full time roles, 180 training placements, and 90 apprenticeships.

These new positions are “in addition to hundreds of roles already created to take the project to this point”.

This is one of the most sustainable and nationally significant waste projects ever

  • Cllr Clyde Loakes, NLWA

‘Nationally significant’

NLWA’s chair Cllr Clyde Loakes said: “With contracts signed and sealed with ACCIONA, work now begins on the next stage of one of the most sustainable and nationally significant projects ever to tackle waste and increase recycling rates, and one which greatly boosts employment opportunities in the area.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, speaking at the London Conference

“ACCIONA will expertly build the ERF section utilising the world’s best tech including Selective Catalytic Reduction technology, which converts the nitrogen oxide created by incinerating waste into water and nitrogen, a harmless gas that makes up 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere.

“It’s the same tech used at the Amager Bakke/Copenhill ERF in Copenhagen, recently featured in the BBC’s Earthshot Prize and which even has a dry ski slope on the exterior because the pollution controls are so effective.”

Energy

The facility will generate enough power for 127,000 homes and heat and hot water for up to 50,000 local homes.

The old Edmonton EfW, which is due to be replaced by 2025

The NLWA says this would eliminate the need for gas boilers.

The plant forms part of a £1.2 billion investment in Edmonton in Enfield, known as the North London Heat and Power Project (NLHPP), which will serve seven north London boroughs.

Cllr Loakes added: “In parallel with the project, NLWA’s focus continues apace on preventing waste in the first place by urging Government and business to make vital systemic changes and through ongoing community engagement.

“NLWA is leading the way on recycling too, dealing with difficult items such as mattresses and expanded polystyrene as well as ensuring recyclable plastic is processed only in the UK.”

Building the plant saves the boroughs an estimated £20 million a year or £1 billion over the course of its life, the NLWA claims, compared to if waste had to be disposed of via third parties.

In December, NLWA secured funds for the first stage of works on the plant with a loan of £280 million at “extremely low interest rates” from the Public Works Loan Board, financing that only a public body can access.

NLWA says it is also ensuring that the facility will be able to install carbon capture after 2030, and says it will ensure that the plany “will never undermine recycling or create a demand for rubbish as NLWA can run the ERF at a lower capacity when systemic change reduces waste in future”.

Protests

The plant has faced strong opposition throughout, including from former Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and campaign groups.

Most recently, Hairngey council, one of the councils on the NLWA, withdrew its support for the proposals, saying it should be reviewed (see letsrecycle.com story).

Several protests have also been taken place, with the Stop the Incinerator Group threatening legal action.

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