Will it affect air quality?

The Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) will use world-class, proven technology to capture and control pollutants.

The existing Energy from Waste facility already operates under a strict Environmental Permit issued by the Environment Agency. Our existing plant operates well within the rigorous limits, operating at 40% below limits for nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions set by the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). Ongoing monitoring is available to view on LondonEnergy Ltd’s website. Our new ERF will perform even better, at 60% below IED limits. It will be one of the cleanest and safest facilities in the country, using advanced and proven technology to capture and clean emissions.

Our ERF will be the first energy recovery facility of its kind in the UK to benefit from Selective Catalytic Reduction, which is a world-class technology for controlling emissions of nitrogen dioxide. This process converts nitrogen oxide into water and nitrogen (a harmless gas that makes up 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere).

The graph below shows the source of NOx levels across north London. Even at the peak level of NOx from the ERF, this is only 2.94% of local air quality concentrations, compared to road transport which is responsible for 30.05% of NOx concentrations. The graph on sources of NOx can also be viewed in larger format.

Following the example of advanced Scandinavian ERFs, it will be the first energy recovery facility in the UK to have a combined dry/wet scrubber. This provides an extra stage to the cleaning process, to give a ‘final polish’ to the gas before it’s released from the stack. A liquid is sprayed to neutralise gases and make doubly sure that particulates are captured.

The graph below shows the source of particulate matter (PM) levels across north London. Even at the peak level of PM from the ERF, this is only 0.52% of local air quality concentrations. This is 400 times lower than the level set by the UK air quality objective. The ERF will operate at almost 1000 times lower than safe limits for particulate concentration recommended by the World Health Organisation. The graph on PM can be viewed in larger format.

The graphic below shows the five-stage cleaning process. The cleaning process graphic can be viewed in larger format.

We carried out an extensive Air Quality Impact Assessment as part of the Development Consent Order (DCO), which considered all the relevant emissions related to the energy recovery process. It shows categorically that no concentrations of pollutants from the facility will breach any air quality or public health standards.

We are also following the guidance of scientific evidence on air pollution from numerous current studies, as laid out below:

Further information is available about health and emissions  and the ERF Air Quality Emissions.