Can I also congratulate you on your election to the Assembly for the first time? I hope you enjoy it.
I have been clear that London is facing a climate emergency and I will continue to oppose new incineration capacity in London, which is not needed to manage the city’s non-recyclable waste. My focus continues to be on increasing recycling services and rates across London. Where incinerators already exist, they should operate to the highest standards and capture energy from waste to heat local houses.
In November 2019, there was an unsuccessful attempt to seek a judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to make the development consent order for the Edmonton incinerator scheme. I have no power to pause the scheme or bring any further legal challenge to this decision. Given this, I am now focused on making sure that this facility, and London’s other incinerators, minimise their local and social impact. This includes ensuring that they manage only truly non-recyclable waste, maximise electricity generation, capture and use the waste heat created during the process, and operate with the best available techniques to reduce air pollution emissions.
To support this, my Green New Deal has provided additional funding to support Enfield and Energetik in developing the low-carbon heat network that will capture waste heat from the Edmonton facility. This will allow the network to be supersized so that it can make at least an additional 20 megawatts of heat available for supply to the boroughs of Haringey and Hackney, while supplying affordable, near-zero carbon heat to homes and businesses in Enfield, too.
I am committed to London becoming net-zero carbon by 2030 and increasing recycling, especially of food waste. This is essential. That is why I am offering to work with the Government to ensure its planned funding to support more London boroughs to provide food waste collections comes forward as quickly as possible.
I can assure you that the fight on the Edmonton incinerator is not over. It is not over for campaigners; it is not over for cross-party Members of Parliament (MPs) working on this; it is not over for National Health Service (NHS) doctors writing openly about their opposition; it is not over for the British Heart Foundation, writing openly about its opposition. It appears that it is not over for your office, which suggested that the modelling for the Edmonton incinerator did not support the capacity that is being built.
I would ask you to join that fight. Would you commit to meeting with campaigners who are currently working for a pause and a rethink of the Edmonton incinerator?
It is really important that we are clear about who is responsible for giving permission and for continuing with the incinerator: it is the Government. I am always happy to work with particularly Members of the Assembly who are from the same party as the Government because they clearly have access that many others do not. If you have any influence over the Government, over the Secretary of State, or over the Ministers responsible for this decision, including a U-turn, then we are more than happy to work with you.
The reality is that we have explored all legal avenues open to us, including legal challenges, and, as I said in my answer, there are not any left to us. If there are any ideas you have that the Government will accede to, I am more than happy, Chair, through you, to work with Members of the Assembly.
Thank you, Mr Mayor. To confirm, will you give a yes or no answer to meeting with campaigners? The fight, as I say, is really not over on this. As you have just acknowledged, I was elected to the Assembly and not to Parliament. However, MPs are still working to lobby the Government on this. As one of the most powerful politicians in the country and in London, will you join that fight and will you commit to meeting with campaigners?