Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Pinkham Way plan in trouble

The proposed Pinkham Way waste treatment site in Muswell Hill has been stopped in its tracks today. The planning inspector ruled that the North London Waste Authority had not worked sufficiently well with other councils to provide other refuse disposal methods (you could start in Barnet, which is 281 out of 351 Councils with its baleful 33% recycling rate). Pinkham way has not been entirely ruled out, it could still go ahead if the NLWA meet their requirements, but it looks a little less likely now.

The Barnet Tories are responsible at least in part for this shambles, for selling off the land, despite not checking properly if they were allowed to. The land is classed as a "village green" because of years of use by local people, and as such might not be permissible as a site. Pinkham way is totally unnecessary because if the councils involved met their recycling targets, the need for the site would not arise. Given the cost is £8 billion, the money would be better spent putting in place measures to increase recycling.

Having the site at Pinkham way is a bad idea anyhow. It is only accessible by road, and through a stretch of the North Circular which is always severely congested. The railway line is on too steep a gradient to make it accessible, and there are no canals nearby. The increased road traffic in this congested area would be bad for local residents, plus the site is likely to be noisy at unsocial hours. This was always a bad deal for Barnet, and covers up a decade of failure by the Tories to improve recycling rates. it also show a lack of concern to Muswell Hill residents, as well as the usual Barnet Tory attitude to public consultation.

I must say, the Pinkham Way Alliance have been excellent, as have the local Labour Councillors, Pauline Coakley-Webb and Barry Rawlings. Barry in particular was exceptional, and Labour were the ONLY political party that asked to speak against the plans, not the Tories, not the Lib Dems and not the Greens. The team at Better Barnet have also campaigned against Pinkham Way. I have bee helping Barry and Pauline a lot in Coppetts ward, and it comes up again and again on the doorstep there, and people know who has been on thier side from the start.

Update: Amended 17.15.

update,I have been asked to add the following correction

The North London Waste Authority is not in any way responsible for preparing, developing or submitting the North London Waste Plan for examination by the Planning Inspector. The plan is wholly owned by the seven north London boroughs – Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Islington, Haringey, Hackney and Waltham Forest, in their capacity as planning authorities. Camden has been leading on the NLWP for the seven boroughs. The NLWA is an entirely separate body, responsible only for waste disposal in north London. Our only involvement in the NLWP was, alongside many other bodies in north London, as a consultee to the process .Therefore your statement that ‘The planning inspector ruled that the North London Waste Authority had not worked sufficiently well with other councils to provide other refuse disposal methods’ is inaccurate in two ways:

1 – The Planning Inspector ruled that the seven north London boroughs had not worked sufficiently well with other councils outside of London – not the NLWA.
2 – The Inspector’s announcement makes no suggestion that the NLWA, nor indeed the seven London boroughs, had failed to provide ‘other refuse disposal methods’- what he refers is to is a matter of process regarding the ‘duty to cooperate’ – a process of engagement and consultation - with the outer London boroughs during the preparation of the NLWP.

apologies for the misstatement.