Works ‘fully underway’ at Edmonton EfW amid legal challenge

The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) says “major works are now fully underway” on the construction of the energy from waste (EfW) plant at the Edmonton EcoPark in Enfield.

Enfield-based company Galldris is currently completing the first phase of works to enable construction of the EfW plant

This comes as campaigners have instructed lawyers to write to the government and Haringey council as a precursor to a legal challenge over the decision to fund two district heating networks which would connect to the plant.

Construction of the 700,000 tonnes per year capacity facility, which is scheduled to be operational in 2025, forms part of the £1.2 billion redevelopment of the decades-old site.

The NLWA formally signed a £683 million contract with Spanish construction company Acciona to build the new plant in January (see letsrecycle.com story).

In a statement, the NLWA said it had handed over parts of the site to ACCIONA “a month earlier than scheduled” due to “the excellent progress made in site preparation”.

‘Advanced recycling facilities’ on the site including a reuse and recycling centre and an education hub are “nearing completion”, the NLWA says, while ACCIONA has let more than 30 contracts as part of the work to build the EfW plant. Enfield-based company Galldris is currently completing the first phase of works to enable construction, the NLWA says.

The NLWA manages waste on behalf of seven London boroughs, serving more than two million people.

Energy security

Cllr Clyde Loakes, chair of the NLWA, says building the facility is “the most responsible way forward”. “This major investment in north London will ensure that there is truly resilient and safe infrastructure to sustainably deal with the waste generated by two million residents in the long term,” he said.

An artist’s impression of how the EfW plant will look once completed

“It means using waste to generate energy, which in turn boosts the UK’s security of energy supplies, that recent events have proved is so crucial for a nation’s economy.”

The NLWA says the publicly owned and operated EfW facility will have “the world’s best technology” to remove nitrogen oxides, while emissions of particulate matter will be “almost 1,000 times lower than World Health Organisation guidelines”.

Heat network

The EfW plant is one element of the North London Heat and Power Project, which was granted development consent in 2017 and has been under construction since 2019.

Aerial view of Edmonton EcoPark in Enfield, showing the new recycling facilities on the left and the current EfW facility, which first began operating in 1971, on the right

Recently, the department for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) and Haringey council allocated £28 million for infrastructure to channel heat from the Edmonton plant to district heat networks at Tottenham Hale and Broadwater Farm and at Wood Green. The schemes are to heat more than 12,000 homes and about 270,000m2 of commercial space across north London.

The Stop the Edmonton Incinerator Now (StEIN) coalition has hired legal firm Leigh Day to challenge both the government’s decision to award the funds and Haringey council’s decision to accept them.

Haringey resident Sheila Risk, who is leading the legal challenge on behalf of the StEIN coalition, said: “Haringey council has obligations to its taxpayers and especially to the future recipients of the heat. And it has net zero commitments. I’m hoping this case will help to put the council on track to meeting those obligations.”

Started in early 2019 by a group of families who live near the Edmonton EfW plant, StEIN says it has joined forces with “concerned residents” across north London.

Business case

A spokesperson for Haringey council told letsrecycle.com that a meeting of their cabinet approved the “outline business case” for the Tottenham Hale and Wood Green Decentralised Energy Networks in December 2021.

The council will keep the project under review

  • Haringey council spokesperson

The council has been carrying out preparatory work with the support of funding from BEIS “for some time”, the spokesperson said.

They added: “As is normal practice, the council will keep the project under review and is working towards considering the full business case in the latter part of 2023. The points made in the letter from Leigh Day Solicitors will be considered and responded to as soon as possible. As this matter may result in legal proceedings, it would not be appropriate for the council to comment further at this time.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for BEIS said: “We remain fully committed to the legally binding target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and today an independent review, commissioned by government, has been launched to ensure we reach this target in the most economically efficient way. It would not be appropriate to comment further on potential legal proceedings.”

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