London incinerator to be ‘best in Europe’ on air quality

Further details on a planned replacement for the Edmonton energy from waste incineration plant in North London have emerged, which developers claim will be “one of the best performing in Europe when it comes to air quality”.

An artist's impression of the proposed new Edmonton energy recovery facility

An artist’s impression of the proposed new Edmonton energy recovery facility

The North London Waste Authority yesterday (May 18) unveiled project designs alongside a public consultation on its planned £450-500 million energy recovery facility and associated development at the existing Edmonton EcoPark in the borough of Enfield.

Known as the North London Heat and Power Project, the development will replace the EcoPark’s existing energy from waste plant, which has served for around 45 years but comes to the end of its operational life in 2025. The existing plant will be demolished once the new adjacent facility has come on line.

The new plant will process household waste from the seven London boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest in order generate power for around 127,000 homes, while also providing heat for local homes and businesses. And, it could be large enough to take in waste from outside of North London in addition to commercial waste.

The waste authority (NLWA) claims the new plant will use leading technology to control emissions to air, which will be “the same as or even lower than the existing facility, making it one of the best performing in Europe”.

It said: “NLWA is committed to improving air quality in north London. The replacement facility would use today’s leading technology when controlling emissions, making the facility capable of achieving levels of 60 per cent below the current permissible limits for nitrogen oxides.”

Air quality impact

It is proposed that the plant would use a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system to convert emissions of nitrogen oxides from the plant into nitrogen and water.

According to the NLWA, daily emissions from the plant are expected to be in the region of 10-25 microgrammes per cubic metre (ugm3) for nitrogen oxides, 10 ugm3 for carbon monoxide and 1 ugm3 for dust.

Design of Edmonton NLWA EfW plant (1)

The proposed Edmonton waste plant would come into operation from 2025

The current EU Industrial Emissions Directive limits these emissions to 200 ug3, 50 ugm3 and 10 ugm3 respectively.

A health impact assessment accompanying the consultation states that although there could be a small increase in heavy goods vehicles to and from the new plant, there is “not likely to be any significant residual impacts associated with air quality”.

However, the assessment carried out by consultants Arup states:

“Even small increases in air emissions, particularly in an area with existing high levels of air pollution, can have effects on, for example, children who make up a high proportion of the population and can be particularly susceptible.”

Nevethetheless, it adds: “The potential adverse health effects of the air pollution generated by the project, other on-site equipment and associated HGV and motor vehicle traffic is likely to be small.”


The second phase of the consultation over the plans runs until June 30 2015. Feedback is welcomed by post, email or via the project website.

Chair of the NLWA, Waltham Forest councillor Clyde Loakes, said:

“I urge everyone in north London to look at our proposals, view the videos on our website and take part in the consultation. We are going to set the benchmark with this project. It will be one of the best performing in Europe when it comes to air quality. Most important of all, in my opinion, we’re going to be able to heat people’s homes for many years to come.”

Due to the electricity generated by the proposed plant, NLWA must seek a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate to gain approval for the project.

The impact of the proposed development on air quality will be considered within the environmental impact assessment, which will be included in the DCO application.

Councillor Loakes added: “This is a very prescriptive planning process set out by the government for projects like these. We will use this process to ensure we get the best project for north London.”


The existing energy from waste plant at Edmonton has prevented 21 million tonnes of waste from going to landfill over its lifetime and employs around 180 people.

NLWA said the new plant would “ensure there are manual and highly-skilled jobs on the site for years to come”, while ‘many’ jobs would also be created during the three-year construction phase, which starts in 2019. There will also be jobs involved in the demolition of the existing plant in 2026/27.

Related Links:

North London Heat and Power


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