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Residents fight to stop “ugly” waste plant plans

PUBLISHED: 10:00 04 April 2011

Protests against development of waste site in Muswell Hill at Barnet Council

Protests against development of waste site in Muswell Hill at Barnet Council

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

RESIDENTS opposing the development of the UK’s biggest waste plant in a residential area of Muswell Hill have come together to fight the plans.

Several residents’ associations, homeowners, businesses and schools have united under the umbrella of the Pinkham Way Alliance to fight the North London Waste Authority’s plans to build a 23-metre high waste recycling plant, covering an area the size of two football pitches on a busy section of the A406 North Circular.

Campaigners say they understand the body – which represents Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest – must build a recycling plant but that Pinkham Way, just 250 metres from some homes and with five schools within a half-mile radius, is not the right place.

The group gathered on Tuesday to protest outside Barnet Council where the cabinet agreed the proposals, as all seven boroughs must do before the plans can go ahead. The actual plans for the building will go to Haringey Council in May.

Residents are concerned about an extra 1,000 lorry movements a day in the area, the possibility of noise and air pollution and the wildlife, flora and fauna that have developed at the former waste site, which closed in the 1960s.

Chairman of the Pinkham Way Alliance, Bidesh Sarkar, said: “We are determined to stop this plan in its tracks.

“Barnet has been trying to sell off this land for 40 years. It stands to gain millions for a site that would otherwise be worthless. But they don’t realise that, for us, it’s priceless.

“This plant would be the biggest of its kind in the UK and it would result in massive disruption in our lives and the lives of our children.

“All of the similar plants in Europe are built far away from towns and cities where they do not disrupt the lives of ordinary citizens.

“Our human rights would be violated if this huge, ugly building, with all its attendant traffic, noise and pollution, were built on our doorsteps. We urge the boroughs involved in this madcap scheme to think again.

“They must come up with something more sensible that will be better for the environment, better for local council tax payers and voters, and better for London.”

Colin Parish, who lives on Sydney Road in Muswell Hill, added: “We are really concerned about the health issues and we are obviously worried about the traffic congestion which will affect the whole of north London. We are also very concerned about losing a green lung.”

MP Lynne Featherstone renewed her call for better consultation with residents after Liberal Democrat colleague and Alexandra councillor Juliet Solomon said people in her area had not been consulted by NLWA despite being so close to the proposed site.

Ms Featherstone called on residents to contact her with their concerns. “It’s clear from the many residents’ meetings over the past week that many people think they are being left out of a massive decision that will affect their community greatly,” she said.

David Beadle, managing director of NLWA, said: “We understand residents concerns about the proposed development. We have been working hard to raise awareness of our plans with local residents so they are aware of them before we submit the outline planning application in late spring.

“We have carried out a traffic assessment. This shows that the additional vehicle movements will only add a very small percentage to the number already using the road network in the area.

“The waste facilities will all be enclosed, with no sorting, recycling or treatment in the open air. This will help reduce noise and odour. The buildings will be fitted with odour control measures.”

o For more information on joining the protesters, go to www.pinkhamwayalliance.org.

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