How have future waste forecasts been modelled?

We considered a wide range of factors to estimate the amount of residual waste that will require treatment through to 2050-2051.

This includes:

  • different scenarios for future recycling rates;
  • recent trends in waste prevention; 
  • population trends in north London;
  • targets for re-use, recycling and compositing rates; and
  • fluctuations in the volume of waste managed throughout the year.  

Waste modelling has reaffirmed that the ERF needs capacity to treat up to 700,000 tonnes of north London’s non-recyclable waste each year by 2050. A smaller ERF would not be appropriate for tackling the challenge of north London’s non-recyclable waste in the future.

The NLHPP is an established part of regional waste policy. The Mayor of London’s Environment Strategy states that the NLHPP is required to provide residual waste capacity in the future, along with three other energy from waste facilities in London. This model assumes a 700,000-tonne capacity at Edmonton, allowing for sufficient capacity to manage London’s waste.

Even in the most ambitious scenario, achieving 65% recycling and a 50% reduction in food waste, London would still have a shortfall in energy from waste capacity if the NLHPP is not built as soon as London’s old plants retire, which is expected in the mid-2030s.

Should recycling rates increase faster than expected, the ERF has been sized to accept different volumes of rubbish. It will have a maximum capacity of 700,000 tonnes per year but will be flexible enough to operate at a reduced capacity of 490,000 tonnes per year.

For more information, please refer to the Need Assessment here.