Carbon impact of 2 million Londoners could increase if waste facility not replaced

11 Oct 2019

 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, according to a new expert analysis.

The work by engineering consultants Ramboll, which assessed the carbon impact of the new plant in Edmonton, found it will save the equivalent of 215,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year - like adding 110,000 cars to the road, compared to the alternative of sending the same amount of waste to landfill.

The new facility is part of the overall drive towards Net Zero by generating up to 78 megawatts of low carbon energy in the form of heat and power, displacing the need for virgin fossil fuel generated power like gas and coal.

Plans show North London Waste Authority (NLWA) are incorporating the best available technology for removing NOx from their emissions to help improve air quality in north London.

This solution mirrors countries in Germany and Belgium who are renowned for clean and modern facilities which treat waste in a sustainable way, while recycling over 50%.

Cllr 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 advisers, the 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 are fully compatible with this.

NWLA looked into the options for dealing with the waste left after recycling and consulted residents on their findings. It was agreed replacing the facility at Edmonton with a brand-new Energy Recovery Facility was the most environmentally beneficial way to deal with the waste.

The carbon analysis confirms the North London Heat and Power Project is crucial to tackling the Climate Emergency declared by the six of north London’s boroughs which make up the NLWA.

The alternative of sending waste to landfill, would cost taxpayers more each year, result in thousands of extra bin-lorry journeys to landfill sites, and be extremely damaging to the environment.

Reducing waste is the best way to stop the emissions associated with treating waste. However, anything other than replacing the current facility will have severe consequences for the environment, the Climate Emergency and reaching Net Zero carbon emissions. Read a summary of the Key Points on Carbon Impact and the full Carbon Impact Screening Report.