Euro-MP Jean Lambert has welcomed the decision of French multinational waste management company Veolia to withdraw from its bid to build one of Europe’s biggest municipal refuse sites in North London, in the face of opposition from community, environmental and human rights groups.
Now she has called into question the future of the procurement process, and called for the plan to be scrapped once and for all.
The proposed site at Pinkham Way between would have handled about 300,000 tonnes of waste each year – more than 1% of the national total – from seven London boroughs: Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest, despite being less than 80m from the nearest housing and with 14 schools lying within 1.5km of the site.
Veolia’s decision has prompted the North London Waste Authority, responsible for the seven boroughs’ waste management, to withdraw its current proposal for the Pinkham Way plant and look again at its future plan for the area.
Ms Lambert, the capital’s Green Party MEP, said: “I am delighted that Veolia has decided to withdraw from the process to decide who will build the Pinkham Way treatment plant. It’s a massive victory for local campaigners, and I hope it means the Pinkham Way plan is scrapped once and for all.
“It’s not necessary: the economics only work if waste levels rise, when they are falling in line with EU targets, and only if North London imports rubbish from elsewhere. No-one wants to see North London become the rubbish capital of the UK!
“It’s far too big: the Pinkham Way proposal would see an extra 1,000 lorries a day coming to the area, making EU standards on Air Quality almost impossible to achieve.
“And it’s in entirely the wrong place: a nature conservation site in a green corridor just yards from homes and schools.”
Government and EU rules say the procurement process can continue – even though only one company remains interested in the contract to build and run the plant.
“This is plainly ridiculous. The rules are designed to maximize competition and protect the public purse from profit-hungry monopolies, and with only one bidder remaining this is clearly not possible,” Ms Lambert added.
“The procurement exercise should be scrapped, and the North London Waste Authority should instead think about using existing sites more effectively, working to reduce household waste levels, and building smaller sites, closer to where the waste is being produced, where these prove absolutely necessary.”