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Acciona wins Edmonton incinerator contract

17 Dec 21 Despite considerable local opposition, the North London Waste Authority has pressed ahead and awarded a contract to build a new waste-to-energy incinerator.

Indicative image of the new Energy Recovery Facility
Indicative image of the new Energy Recovery Facility

North London Waste Authority (NLWA) has agreed to award a £680m contract to Spanish contractor Acciona to build the Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) at Edmonton EcoPark.

The formal contract is expected to begin early in 2022.

NLWA, owned by six councils in the capital says that it will be the UK’s “cleanest, greenest and safest” energy-from-waste plant. Opponents say that burning waste creates air pollution, promotes waste creation instead of recycling, and that the energy produced by the incinerator is inefficient.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, chair of NLWA said: “Today marks a significant milestone in the authority’s plan to tackle the climate emergency and futureproof north London’s waste management for years to come.

“This is the result of years of work to research, develop and agree the best solution for our residents, and builds on the construction done so far as we redevelop Edmonton EcoPark. Through a rigorous procurement process we’ve been able to negotiate the best value and environmental solution for managing the rubbish that gets put in north London’s bins. Our main objective is to reduce waste in the first place, so NLWA will continue to work collaboratively with boroughs, residents and interested groups across north London to develop future waste reduction and recycling plans, as well as lobby the government to bring in the systemic changes we so desperately need.”

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He continued: “Acciona has demonstrated that they are able to meet the strong environmental requirements that we specified to make our Energy Recovery Facility the cleanest, greenest and safest in the country and deliver a project that provides value for money for council taxpayers.”

The GMB union is also fully behind the project. GMB organiser Michael Ainsley said:  “GMB has been at the forefront in securing a structured national agreement for the building of the plant via the National joint Agreement Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI) agreement.  Our union welcomes the opportunity for well-paid skilled jobs and apprenticeships that the scheme will provide in an area of London that has higher unemployment than the London average.

“Ultimately the new incinerator will be cleaner for the environment than the existing one and will also turn waste into energy, serving many homes and businesses with heat and power.  GMB is committed to a cleaner, safer environment for all to enjoy, safeguarding the climate for the future in balance with real, well-paid sustainable jobs. 

“The alternative to incineration is landfill, contaminating nature, land, rivers and oceans. The real offenders in the waste issue are manufacturers and suppliers who chose non-recyclable packaging of consumables simply because it is cheaper.”

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