SMELLS AND EMISSIONS FOR SOUTHGATE / WINCHMORE HILL
One of Europe’s largest waste disposal plants is being proposed at Pinkham Woods, a green space roughly two miles from the heart of Southgate / Winchmore Hill. While it is obvious that neighbourhoods in the immediate vicinity of the site are likely receptors of any smells and emissions what of residents living further downwind such as those of Southgate / Winchmore Hill and their near neighbours?
The direction of the prevailing wind in London is from the South-West, so neighbourhoods to the North-East of the site will be impacted. The Table shows the neighbourhoods on that North-East line with their distance from Pinkham Woods. Nearby neighbourhoods would also likely be affected since emissions invariably fan out over a distance, or are driven to one side or the other by minor changes in wind direction.
As this photograph shows, a stable plume (whether smoke or other emissions) can travel considerable distances. Of course, this may not be the average dispersion pattern of these stacks, or of rotting rubbish at ground level, but odour and pollution complaints are not based on average impacts. Evaluation of the risk through modelling and sensitivity analysis is essential to understand the potential for unacceptable impacts. They influence the choice of site and of what may be located there. This has not been done in assessing the suitability of the Pinkham Woods site for waste processing.
Residents at Lower Edmonton, Chingford East, Ponders End, and Chingford Green, downwind of the incinerator, are affected. When the wind direction changes intermittently to the east, then residents as far away as Woodford Green (2½ miles) regularly complain of odour from the incinerator, especially on summer days.
Odours from waste sites are a well-documented problem nationally. In 2006, the Environment Agency recorded 1,391 incidents of offensive odours while last year the number had risen to 1,595. Since waste management at Edmonton is problematic, it would be more so at Pinkham Woods, because all the land downwind is densely populated residential communities, unrelieved by reservoirs or forestry.
Many more people would be affected than at Edmonton, and all of them live in the London Borough of Enfield whose Council is supporting the selection of the Pinkham Woods site. One might say that Enfield councillors have not noticed “which way the wind is blowing.”
Details of the on-going position and what you can do to help are available through the Pinkham Way Alliance web site:
The PWA will be a leading opponent of the plans of the Waste Authority at a Public Examination in June. Fund raising continues to ensure the best possible legal case can be made in this complex area. Please look at the site, ask to be kept up to date and if you also feel strongly that this is an inappropriate development for North London tell your local representatives and consider donating to the PWA to assist with the legal costs of the Examination
The Pinkham Way Waste Plant possibly coming to you soon in more ways than you anticipated.