Pinkham Way £7.7bn Waste Treatment Plant Halted

The North London Waste Authority’s (NLWA) proposals to build a £7.7bn (the NLWA’s own projected spend…) waste treatment plant on Pinkham Wood have come to an abrupt, if temporary stop today. The plant, if built, was to be Europe’s second largest – and was to be problematic for the Pinkham and Coppetts Wood area for several reasons; the notable ones being traffic, health and safety, and the environment.

planning inspector today decided that the NLWA failed in its legal duty to co-operate with other councils about alternative ways of waste disposal and treatment. This is a fantastic achievement by, amongst others, the Pinkham Way Alliance who have been extremely active in campaigning on this issue, and also by the Barnet Labour Group (in particular Coppetts councillors Pauline Coakley-Webb, and Barry Rawlings). The Labour Group were the only political party who sent in their objections to the Pinkham Way proposal; and requested to speak at the Public Examination. It lends further support to the Better Barnet campaign and highlights the questionable decision making of the Conservative run Barnet administration (which sold the land to the NLWA in the first place) and which rarely, if ever, puts residents’ interests first.

What does this decision mean?

Firstly, the proposal to build Pinkham Way is still not off the table. The North London Waste Authority could still go on to meet the legal requirements of co-operation with other public bodies and then go on to decide that the Pinkham Way Waste Treatment Plant is still the most favourable option.

Secondly, there are a number of other concerns and issues that might still halt this plan if the NLWA press ahead in the long term, most notably the potential judicial review of Pinkham Way on the basis that Barnet Council sold land it had no right to, to the NLWA to enable them to build the waste treatment plant – because that land was used over a significant period of time by the public and therefore was a ‘village’ or ‘town green’ protected by law.

I had written a letter earlier last week to the Barnet Times which set out some of the reasons for why residents have a genuine right to be concerned about the appearance of this waste treatment plant. The letter (now printed) is reproduced here;

“I’m writing in relation to the North London Waste Authority’s (NLWA) proposals to build a waste incinerator on Pinkham Way, and in particular to remind residents that the plans to build a 48m high waste incinerator (the second largest to be built in Europe) have not yet been shelved – and should continue to be opposed. Barnet Council has played a key role in enabling the NLWA to build Pinkham Way as it made the decision to sell the land to the NLWA for those very purposes.

The plans will;

–          Affect the already problematic traffic on Colney Hatch Lane as the only way to access the site will be via road using Colney Hatch Lane itself.
–          Exacerbate the already significant London pollution residents suffer and lead to long-term health risks especially for young children. This is a matter of particular concern to me as the school governor of nearby Hollickwood Primary School
–     Be an eyesore in a neighbourhood and community noted for its green

–          Obstruct members of the public from being able to use the Pinkham Way site for public recreational purposes as they have been doing for the past forty years or so (as a ‘town or village green’).

I would also like to note that there are potential alternatives to waste disposal as some existing local authorities have since indicated they had some additional capacity to dispose of waste which the NLWA did not enquire into before embarking upon this hasty plan.

Best wishes,

Reema Patel “

So I’m delighted that the plan has (for the moment at least) stopped in its tracks. I’ll provide updates as and when matters progress.

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