The Mayor of London has agreed to meet with campaigners opposing plans to expand north London’s waste incinerator.

Cllr Emma Best (Con, Endlebury) asked Sadiq Khan at Mayor’s Question Time today (May 27) if he would meet with “cross-party” MPs calling for a “pause and review” of the project.

The incinerator is run by the NLWA (North London Waste Authority), which represents seven London councils and is chaired by Waltham Forest deputy leader Cllr Clyde Loakes.

At a NWLA meeting last June, Cllr Loakes said that pausing the £1.2 billion project to increase the incinerator’s capacity by 200,000 tonnes is “simply not an option”.

Read more: Calls to cost review Edmonton incinerator rebuild refused

Responding to Cllr Best’s question, Mr Khan said: “I have been clear London is facing a climate emergency and will continue to oppose new incineration in London.

“I have no power to pause the scheme but I am now focused on ensuring this facility minimises its local and social impact and only manages truly non-recyclable waste.

“It’s important we are really clear on who is responsible for giving (this scheme) permission: it’s the Government. The reality is (the Mayor’s office) has explored all avenues open to us.

“I am more than happy to meet with campaigners but I will be honest with them about who is responsible.”

Cllr Best, newly elected to the London Assembly, assured Mr Khan the fight against the rebuild is “not over”.

She said: “It’s not over for campaigners, for cross-party MPs, for NHS doctors or for the British Heart Foundation and it appears it’s not over in your office either.”

The new incinerator will process up to 700,000 tonnes of waste a year, generating electricity and heat for up to 127,000 homes but also increasing air pollution.

Read more: Call for halt to Enfield incinerator amid climate fears

In 2019, campaign group Stop the Edmonton Rebuild attempted to trigger a judicial review of the project but their request was unsuccessful.

Speaking before the NWLA last July, Chingford GP Dr Rebecca Redwood implored members to pause the project.

She said: “As doctors we work daily to save lives but by making a decision to pause and review this incinerator, you will save more lives than we will in our entire careers.”

“Air pollution causes around 40,000 deaths per year in the UK. Health problems resulting from air pollution cost the UK more than £20 billion a year.

“The incinerator will release ultra-fine particulate matter that cannot be filtered. There has been no modelling of the plumes of pollution and no health impact assessment conducted on short or long-term exposure to the plumes.”

Responding to her and others’ concerns at the meeting, Cllr Loakes said: “The offer that we currently have on the table is the best solution going forward with what we know now.

“Doing nothing, pausing, is simply not an option, you can’t continue to fudge it and kick it into the long grass.

“We are building what will be one of the most sophisticated energy from waste plants in the UK, if not Europe. We are following what very green and environmentally friendly European countries are doing.”

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