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North London Waste Plan inquiry abandoned after two hours
A six-day public hearing to assess the viability of the multi-million pound North London Waste Plan was abandoned just two hours after it began on Tuesday.
In an embarrassing turn for the local authorities that put together the waste strategy, the planning inspector suspended the hearing in its first morning at Camden Town Hall.
The NLWP is a 15-year strategy put together by seven councils and includes proposals to place a huge waste plant on the Pinkham Way site in New Southgate.
Campaigners are fighting to get the plans quashed as they believe the plant, which would deal with approximately 300,000 tonnes of waste each year, would affect air quality for people living in north London.
They also are concerned that fleets of waste trucks would bring heavy traffic to the already busy A406 North Circular Road.
The inspector adjourned the hearing indefinitely to hear objections from other local authorities which will also be impacted by the plan and claim they were not properly consulted.
The suspension is a major blow for the councils of Enfield, Barnet, Haringey, Islington, Camden, Hackney and Waltham Forest, all of which had hoped to put their case forward in favour of the plan.
Labour councillor in Barnet, Barry Rawlings, attended the meeting this morning and believes the move could spell disaster for the NLWP and put in doubt plans for the Pinkham Way plant.
He said: “There was just a stunned silence – no-one was expecting it. It really has tripped at the first hurdle and it’s embarrassing for the authorities involved.
“The inspector wasn’t convinced they had fulfilled their duty to co-operate with other authorities that would be affected and this could have a big impact.”
The inspector is due to make a ruling on the plan in two weeks time, though it looks unlikely he will grant permission for the strategy based on Tuesday’s events.
Following his decision, the authorities will have one week to respond and can appeal the if the plans are rejected.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, chair of the North London Waste Authority (NLWA), which is heading the development, said: "The simple fact is that we have to find additional sites for new, modern waste management facilities within the north London boundaries - and Pinkham Way is the most suitable site in our area.
"We understand that local people will have concerns about the impact of the facilities proposed for Pinkham Way, and I can assure residents that all these issues and concerns will be addressed as part of the design of the facilities and in the planning process."