The NLWA had claimed that its forecasts of waste growth 30 years into the future proved its need for the Pinkham Way site. In its submissions to the North London Waste Plan Examination in Public of June 2012, Pinkham Way Alliance argued that long term forecasting of waste is unrealistic at a time when technological change and new policies for waste management are overturning historic upward trends. Waste has been on a falling trend since 2002, but only now has forced the NLWA to abandon, at least temporarily, the construction of one of its proposed Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) plants, which would have had a capacity of 300,000 tonnes per annum. This will come as a relief to all North London council tax payers, whose Councils, dangerously, have already agreed in principle to sign an Inter Authority Agreement to pay for this unsound procurement. Action now needed: (1) It is now urgent that the Councils halt any such signature until (2) the entire waste strategy and procurement have been thoroughly re-worked, especially, as the NLWA’s statement shows, the Authority is still planning only for an increasing amount of waste (see NLWA’s Notes for Editors after end of its statement), when what has just happened all too clearly proves that a more flexible strategy is required.
The Pinkham Way site
MBTs were also proposed for Geron Way NW2 and, more vaguely, for Edmonton, but it is the Pinkham Way MBT that is being halted. That is because the recently published Planning Inspector’s report on Haringey Council’s Strategic Plan rejected Haringey Council’s bid to designate it a Locally Significant Industrial Site (preferred for strategic waste plant in the London Plan). The Inspector also advised the Council that any selection of the Pinkham Way site for waste is appropriately made through the next North London Waste Plan, where the need for sites and the site selection process would come under public scrutiny. The report marks a significant success for Pinkham Way Alliance who created and presented the successful planning arguments to the Inspector, and urged the site’s proper protection as a Grade 1 Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) of Borough-wide importance. Furthermore, the Village Green application on the site has yet to be determined. Despite this, the NLWA now states it intends to use the site for delivering, sorting and transferring household waste. These activities have never before been proposed for the site, and were not required by the North London Waste Plan, which also stated that new sites would only be used if existing waste-licensed sites could not cope. Of course, now that the NLWA has, at last, realised that Pinkham Way site is not needed, the NLWA lacks justification for its premature purchase of the site, in December 2009, from Barnet Council. Action points: (3) Haringey Council must now be prevailed upon to withdraw the site from the North London Waste Plan and fully protect its status as a Grade 1 SINC. (4) The Council should carry out a full assessment of the site, as called for by the Inspector, and until such time as this is done, (5) they should postpone any proposals for the development of the site.
Veolia’s withdrawal from tendering for the procurement
Since the NLWA’s statement fails to disclose any of the reasons for Veolia’s withdrawal, its claim that “the decision has no bearing on the quality and integrity of the projects” only highlights its desperation to avoid blame for the collapse of its competitive tendering project. Pinkham Way Alliance has pointed out that the size and length of the procurement were such as to shut out medium sized local companies from a process dominated by non-UK multinationals, driving out competition and the opportunity for £4bn of public money to rejuvenate a UK economy that’s in trouble. Action points: (6) Our proposal for the roll-out of smaller facilities over a period of years, would create such local competition and opportunities for firms based in London and the South-East, and should be one of the options to be considered for a new waste plan. (7) We call for a full, independent and public review of the NLWA’s procurement, which it now proposes to keep alive without competition if it is permitted to consider a single bidder for each of its waste services and fuel use contracts.
Much has been achieved, but could easily be lost if we don’t press the campaign to completion. We are organising around the above action points. We warmly thank those MPs and councillors who have genuinely supported their communities over the last two years. We now ask all politicians to rally the public round the necessary further action points.
Summary of Action Points
(1) The Councils should not sign the Inter Authority Agreement that commits them to pay for the ill-conceived procurement.
(2) The North London waste strategy should be developed from a new start, and no procurement should be developed until after the new North London Waste Plan has been developed, passed its Examination in Public, and been adopted.
(3) Haringey Council should withdraw the site from the North London Waste Plan and fully protect its status as a Grade 1 SINC.
(4) Haringey Council should carry out a full assessment of the site, as called for by the Inspector, and until such time as this is done
(5) Haringey Council should postpone any proposals for the development of the site.
(6) Our proposal for the roll-out of smaller facilities over a period of years, creating opportunities for firms based in London and the South-East, and real competition, should form one of the options to be considered for a new waste strategy and waste plan. This option was never considered in the North London Joint Waste Strategy.
(7) The present procurement should be abandoned for lack of competition and lack of adequate strategy.
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