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Bid to block NLWA's north London incinerator fails at High Court - but climate emergency campaigners vow to fight on

PUBLISHED: 12:04 27 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:11 27 November 2019

Campaigners who want to block the north London incinerator gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday morning, ahead of a hearing into whether the decision could be appealed. Picture: Carina Millstone

Campaigners who want to block the north London incinerator gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday morning, ahead of a hearing into whether the decision could be appealed. Picture: Carina Millstone

Carina Millstone

Climate campaigners trying to thwart plans to build a £650m incinerator to burn all of north London's waste have failed in their High Court appeal against the plans.

Campaigners who want to block the north London incinerator gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday morning, ahead of a hearing into whether the decision could be appealed. Picture: Carina MillstoneCampaigners who want to block the north London incinerator gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday morning, ahead of a hearing into whether the decision could be appealed. Picture: Carina Millstone

Energy Secretary Greg Clark granted the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) a Development Consent Order (DCO) to build the "energy recovery facility" in Edmonton in February 2017.

Carina Millstone, from the Stop the Edmonton Incinerator Rebuild campaign, asked him to rethink that decision on the basis that there have since been dramatic changes in law, policy and public opinion with the declaration of a climate emergency, which constitute "exceptional circumstance".

When Clark refused she applied for a judicial review.

Through legal disclosure she has since learned how a civil servant, who is said to have taken the decision to grant planning permission on behalf of Clark, had no idea that the Climate Change Act was about to be amended by her very own department the following day.

Campaigners who want to block the north London incinerator gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday morning, ahead of a hearing into whether the decision could be appealed. Picture: Carina MillstoneCampaigners who want to block the north London incinerator gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday morning, ahead of a hearing into whether the decision could be appealed. Picture: Carina Millstone

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This stipulated a requirement for an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases to a 100pc reduction, meaning carbon neutrality for the UK.

Ms Millstone argued that if the civil servant was unaware of the changes in legislation, the decision hadn't been fully considered.

However although she said she "understood the claimant's point of view, and the importance of what she raised", Mrs Justice Lang, DBE refused permission to apply for a judicial review, saying that there was "no prospect of success".

Ms Millstone's barrister argued it was unlawful that the decision had been made by the civil servant. However Justice Lang said that "public business couldn't be carried on if that weren't the case".

Following the hearing, Ms Millstone, who was ordered to pay costs of £5,000, told the Gazette they might appeal the decision.

"It's very disappointing, but we are really glad we went through with it," she said. "It's worth remembering the legal decision wasn't about whether the incinerator is a good thing, and the fact we lost is in no way a vote of confidence for it. What our case has done is draw a lot of local attention to it. No one I met knew about it before and it's galvanised the community."

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