Liberal Democrat councillors submitted a request for an extraordinary meeting of Haringey Full Council last night, after Labour deliberately drew out a meeting to avoid debating a motion about their plans to build a new, polluting incinerator in one of the country’s most deprived areas. Yesterday evening’s (November 22nd) Full Council was the final scheduled meeting where the plan could be debated before the North London Waste Authority (who have the final say on the project, and which is made up of councillors from 5 London boroughs) votes on 16th December.
The meeting quickly descended into farce, as Labour councillors desperately filibustered into the night to ensure that opposition councillors and their backbench colleagues were unable to debate the proposed incinerator - under council rules, no item of business may be heard after 10pm.
Ironically, the council meeting was forced to end during a deputation from local activists opposing the incinerator, who had earlier held a large protest outside the meeting. A deputation allows members of the public to address councillors, but cannot lead to any decisions being taken, and the council’s leadership are unable to block them from speaking. However, due to the procedures in place, this allowed the Leader of the Council, Cllr Peray Ahmet, to give a full-throated defence of building an incinerator, with no right of reply, as neither opposition councillors, nor the activists who brought the deputation, were permitted to speak.
Councillor Luke Cawley-Harrison (LD-Crouch End), Haringey Leader of the Opposition, said:
“The scenes at Haringey’s Full Council meeting last night were absolutely shameful. Since I became a councillor, I have not seen a more embarrassing sight than watching local Labour politicians desperately attempt to prevent the views of local representatives being heard. Filibustering a meeting to deliberately avoid having a debate and vote on such a huge issue shows that they care not one bit for local democracy and has now forced us to call an extraordinary meeting of Full Council to have the debate and vote we should have had last night.
“The Labour Party’s actions at yesterday’s meeting show that either they couldn’t care less about the impact the incinerator will have on local residents, or they simply don’t want to hear it. I hope that, when our emergency motion is presented, there are no further delaying tricks from Labour, and that there are enough decent administration backbenchers left to join with the Liberal Democrats and consign this project to history.”
- To create the same amount of energy, waste incinerators produce over 2.5 times as much carbon dioxide as coal power plants
- Building a new incinerator would cost over £1 billion, and could produce 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year
- Carbon capture facilities are expected to become operational at the plant at 2035 at the earliest
- Residents have not been consulted on plans to build an incinerator in Edmonton since 2015
- The site for the proposed Edmonton Incinerator is less than a mile from a primary school
- 10,000 premature deaths are already linked to poor air quality each year in London, and 98% of the city’s schools are in areas where air pollution exceeds World Health Organisation limits
- Continued exposure to excessive levels of air pollution has been shown to stunt lung growth in children and worsen chronic diseases