Message from Cllr Charith Gunawardena to Enfield Council's CEO and Executive Director of Resources
From: Cllr Charith Gunawardena
Date: 7 January 2022 at 16:14:50 GMT
Fay Hammond, Executive Director of Resources
Ian Davis, Chief Executive Officer
Cllr Sabri Ozaydin, Mayor of Enfield
Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Leader of the Council
Cllr Hass Yusuf, Board Member, NLWA
Cllr Kate Anolue, Board Member, NLWA
Matt Bowmer, Interim Director of Finance
Doug Wilkinson, Director of Environment & Operations, Non-executive Director NLWA
Subject: NLWA / Finance exposure to Enfield
Dear Fay and Ian
Complements for the season.
I have some key concerns over Enfield's exposure to financial liability in relation to the NLWA contact with Acciona. The proposed contract sets out a significant cost penalty on NLWA (and in turn the councils) if the works are abandoned for any reason.
The project is at risk of not proceeding due to four main risks in the very near term:
- I understand from residents that lain Duncan Smith is about to meet with Kwasi Kwarteng to discuss withdrawing the Development Consent Order. The signing of the contract should be postponed until the Secretary of State has made clear whether he intends to pull the plug.
- PWLB does not fund projects that are "speculative investments". On the basis that campaigners are approaching the PWLB to propose that, based on the huge overcapacity and uncertainty around the source of the full 700,000t waste feedstock, the incinerator constitutes a speculative investment. Therefore, there's a risk that the loan may be withdrawn.
- The campaigners are pursuing a legal challenge against the consultation, scrutiny and procurement process and solicitors are already in pre-action correspondence with NLWA. If successful, the contract may be abandoned.
- The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are currently looking into potential collusion between the bidders on the Edmonton project. In light of Acciona's history of prosecution for corruption in public contracts in Spain, has the council protected itself in case CMA launches a full investigation and uncovers wrongdoing?
Further points of concern:
- The NLWA 16th December report refers to a Procurement Report. Throughout, this document it shows relaxation of performance guarantees, stepping down of Parent Company Guarantees, reduced bond structure, lower liability caps, NLWA taking on risk instead of leaving it with the contractor, allowing variation objections to fall from 5% to 2.5%, enhanced termination payment. This all speaks of risk of spiralling costs throughout construction and inability of the authority to implement punitive measures on the contractor. The above report makes the following statement "Market comparators have been obtained from the Authority's technical advisors to demonstrate that the ISFT Contract Price is broadly in line with the market once adjustments for current adverse market conditions, COVID-19 and ERF project specific risks associated with industrial action". Thisdoes not support the NLWA assertion that a delayed procurement will result in higher costs.
- The report states that "In November 2021, the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) advised that waste management projects would be eligible for support through the Industrial Carbon Capture business model for the next planned tranche of the Government's Cluster Sequencing process and the Project is targeting being a part of this." What happens if the plant is not approved as part of the government's cluster programme for funding? Who pays for the cost of installing CCS?
- The report states "Once CCUS has been implemented, the ERF will be a priority waste asset able to operate if non-CCUS plants are required to cease operation" - this statement makes it clear that Edmonton may be required to close if it does not install CCS. Have LB Enfield conducted a risk assessment?
- The Business Case report included in 16th December papers clearly states that NLWA are prepared to run the facility at half capacity. How does this affect the financial viability of the incinerator and what is the economic impact on the boroughs?
- What are the implications for Energetik of running the incinerator at half capacity, not just on the available heat but also the subsequent utility cost passed on to residents? Can Energetik offer a secure heat supply and market-aligned price if the incinerator only runs at half capacity?
- All the financial modelling I have seen is based on the highest predicted waste arisings. Actual costs are likely to be far lower since (even by NLWA's admission) waste rates are reducing and the impact of the Environment Act and waste strategy aims to further reduce residual waste. Has the council seen a full set of financial models based on the lowest future waste arisings as a result of best-case waste reduction where central government aspirations and local recycling targets are fully achieved?
- Other EfW incinerators near Edmonton, including in Essex, Hoddesdon, and Slough, are likely to offer surplus capacity at declining rates, as competition for feedstock increases in response to reductions in waste arisings and the doubling of EfW capacity in England by 2030 (barring government intervention).
Far from increasing costs, a delay may in fact reduce costs. The briefing provided by NLWA for the 16th December vote shows that Acciona only received a commercial score of 4.13/30, yet NLWA maintain that the bid represents value for money. They state that current market volatility in light of Brexit and Covid is the reason for the significantly higher-than-predicted costs, therefore a delay in the signing of the contract would allow for a stabilising of the market following these shocks, increased cost certainty and likely reduction in material and labour costs.
Also, given these cost issues the following statement from the NLWA report of 16th December is important:
The procurement process is intended to identify the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT), with the successful Tenderer to be appointed to undertake the ERF Contract. In accordance with the ISFT, the Authority is under no obligation to award a Contract following conclusion of the tender process.
Under these circumstances, the prudent and responsible course of action for LB Enfield to take is to immediately withdraw support from the scheduled signing of the contract between NLWA with Acciona on 18 Jan 2022. I urge you to address this issue without delay.
Cllr Charith Gunawardena
Southgate Ward London Borough of Enfield
Charith Gunarwardena, Green Party councillor in Southgate Ward, presented one of the deputations to the meeting of the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) on 16th December calling for the NLWA to 'pause and review' the commissioning of a new and larger replacement for the existing waste incinerator at the Edmonton 'Eco-Park'. Regrettably, the majority of the councillors on the NLWA, representing seven north London boroughs, chose to ignore the strong arguments put forward at the meeting and voted to award the contract for construction of the new incinerator.
Enfield Green Party continues to be totally opposed to the construction of a new incinerator, which will have multiple negative consequences, both environmental and economic, including:
- the need to "feed the beast" will create a perverse incentive to not try hard to persuade people to separate out recyclable items;
- the burning of large quantities of plastic, creating local toxic nano-particle emissions and wasting a precious fossil fuel-derived resource that could be reused to manufacture new plastic items;
- the risk of the incinerator becoming a "stranded resource": if a future government sees sense and bans incineration, we will be left with an expensively procured white elephant, when we for the same money we could have built a state of the art facility which could efficiently sort black bag waste into multiple recycling streams, leaving only a small residue to be buried;
- above all, the emission for up to 50 years of an unforgiveably large quantity of greenhouse gases (700,000 tonnes a year) - another nail in humanity's coffin.
A video recording of the meeting is available online. The first of the nine deputations, by Olivia Eken of Encaf Youth, begins 25 minutes into the recording.
Enfield Green Party welcomed its second councillor on 22nd September, when during the full council meeting Cllr Anne Brown announced that she had become a member. She represents Southgate Green and joins Cllr Charith Gunawardena, from neighbouring Southgate ward, who announced his move to the Greens in May.
In the speech during which she announced her change of political home, Cllr Brown laid the blame for inadequate council services and failure to properly address environmental issues on both the big parties:
"I would just like to remind the main opposition that it’s the draconian cuts made by the Conservative government over many years that have led to difficulties in providing any number of services to the level which residents deserve.
"That said, issues around consultation and engagement with the public generally should be given much higher priority by the current administration in Enfield.
"Neither of the two main parties has adequately addressed the major environmental challenges and it is time for a fresh approach to public services and particularly to environmental issues."
On what turned out to be a glorious Sunday afternoon, five Enfield Green Party members and supporters, including Councillor Charith Gunawardena, set to and transformed a litter and weed-strewn flowerbed in 90 minutes. This bed abuts Chase Road and Winchmore Hill Road on Southgate Circus. It was originally planted by Southgate Civic Trust in 1998 and still has many somewhat overgrown shrubs in situ. It was choked in bindweed and clogged with rubbish.
Enfield Greens have been well known for addressing local issues and taking a practical, positive and hands-on approach to improving problems. Charith is fully committed to promoting a Cleaner, Greener and Safer Southgate.
Southgate councillor Charith Gunawardena has this week resigned from Labour and joined the Green Party, meaning that for for the first time the Greens have a representative on Enfield Council.
In his resignation statement Councillor Gunawardena cited his passion to deliver a greener future for Southgate and a commitment to stay true to the promises he gave during his election campaign, reaffirming his promise to work hard for the residents of Southgate.
Joining the Green Party will allow him to continue his fight for transparency over the proposed Meridian Water Regeneration scheme - one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe that will deliver up to 10,000 new homes in the area.
In his resignation statement, Councillor Gunawardena reiterated his desire to work with his former colleagues in ensuring proper scrutiny of the plans:
"Under these challenging circumstances, there is an urgent need for an inclusive political culture supporting open, honest and transparent policy discussions to reach solutions that benefit residents across the borough.
“As a member of the Green Party, I will be better placed to scrutinise and challenge decisions that will have a lasting environmental and social impact in the borough for decades to come, and defend processes essential for preserving strong local democracy.”
In welcoming Councillor Gunawardena Sian Berry, Green Party co-leader and London Assembly Member, said:
"I am thrilled to have Charith join our growing team of councillors across the country and in London. Greens across our city will benefit from his experience and enthusiasm, and we will support his efforts to win greater transparency in major developments and council scrutiny across all issues affecting our citizens."
Enfield Green Party joint coordinator Isobel Whittaker said, “Charith is a great Ambassador for our community and we are looking forward to working closely with him for the benefit of Enfield. We have been immensely impressed by his grasp of the issues and ability to communicate with and involve local people."
When asked why he had chosen to join the Green Party, Cllr Gunawardena said:
"I have been so impressed by the work of Sian Berry and Caroline Russell on the London Assembly - especially in relation to their work in housing - and their ability to work cross party to deliver a stronger, greener London."
Councillor Gunawardena joins a growing band of Greens in local government. The party won an additional 99 seats across the country in the elections on 6 May and achieved their best result in London, with the biggest ever Green vote and an increase in the number of Green Assembly Members.
- Greens win a total of 155 seats, including 99 gains
- Party sees representation gained on 18 new councils
- Jonathan Bartley: “It’s clear that the Green Party is the next major force in British politics”
The Green Party is celebrating the best local elections results in its history with more green councillors on more councils across the country than ever before. Voters across the country have made clear their hope for a Greener future after the Covid pandemic.
The Greens have won a total of 155 seats and gained representation on 18 new councils in this year’s local elections. It takes the total tally of councils with Green representation to 141.
Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley said: “Once again, we are seeing record results for the Green Party. A Green wave is sweeping across the country with Greens winning seats in places dominated by both Labour and Conservatives. These are votes for our strong vision and practical policies for a green future.
“Whether it’s in Burnley or Bristol, people are turning to the Greens because they know that the way we won their vote is the way we will use the power they have given us - with hard work and humility. We will not take their support for granted.
“In a time of multiple crises there is a recognition that the Greens are ready. The changes that are happening in the world are ones we have anticipated and we have the policies and the vision not only to prevent the worst but to use the changes that are on the way to build a better society for us all.
“People know a better, Greener future is possible. A future where we tackle the climate and ecological emergencies but also enable communities in every corner of England and Wales to thrive.”
Some of the key achievements include:
- Became the joint biggest party in Bristol, gaining 13 new seats on the council, taking the total to 24. At the same time, the party recorded its first-ever second place result in an election for a directly-elected mayor. Bristol Mayor candidate Sandy Hore-Ruthven went toe-to-toe with the current Labour mayor Marvin Rees, who both reached the second round of counting.
- Saw record breaking results in London, with Sian Berry coming third in the London Mayor election, increasing her vote share in the process. Meanwhile, the party received 12 per cent of the vote on the list ballot, meaning Zack Polanski became its third London Assembly member, joining Sian and Caroline Russell
- Gained a further five seats on Sheffield City Council, taking their total to 13 and pushing the local authority into no overall control.
- Gained six Green councillors on Suffolk County Council, taking the total to nine and making the Greens the Official Opposition in Suffolk.
The Euro elections saw a Green advance and a majority against BREXIT but revealed a country still profoundly divided and a broken political system. The challenge now is to find a way out of the BREXIT stalemate that respects both democracy and minority views.
According to Enfield Green Party Press Officer David Flint, “Today we have seven MEPs, four more than yesterday and we are the fourth largest party by votes. We outpolled the Tories – once a mighty electoral machine – by 12% to 9%!”
Enfield Green Party congratulates Scott Ainslie on being elected as MEP for London.
In this the UK reflects the pattern across Europe – the new European Parliament will include a lot more Green MEPs. “The wider European result shows deepening support for Green policies in defence of the environment and humane values” said Flint, “policies that will be essential whatever happens about BREXIT.”
“Here in Enfield we are excited that 10% of voters endorsed the Green Party. These are people who reject the folly of BREXIT, the Tory narrative of meanness and the muddle of Labour.” These results confirm the Green advances in the recent local elections where the party more than doubled its number of councillors.
Remain remains ahead
Though the media has stressed the spectacular growth in the BREXIT Party the votes for remain parties exceeded BREXIT and UKIP votes by 40% to 35%. “It is NOT TRUE”, said Flint, “that the whole scountry wants BREXIT.”
UK still deeply divided
In fact the UK remains profoundly divided, with sizeable minorities for remain, for compromise and for hard BREXIT. Parliament too is divided. “Our political system is broken” said Flint. “Built for a two-party world it cannot cope with three, let alone four or five parties. It’s time to do politics differently. To find a way forward that is democratic but respects minorities. Both Labour and the Tories have now shown that they cannot do this. Change must come.”
For more comment call press officer David Flint on 07894 7095 873 or
The Enfield Green Party issued the following statement on 28 January 2019.
The Enfield Green Party welcomes the Mayor of London’s declaration of a climate emergency, which was made in response to a motion by the London Assembly submitted by Green Assembly Member Caroline Russell.
Concern about climate change is far from new and should have resulted in greenhouse gas emissions falling. In fact emissions rose by nearly 3% last year and this fact alone justifies calling the situation an emergency.
The strong consensus of climate scientists and economists – backed by a majority of the public – is that urgent action is required by individuals and by all levels of government.
We are pleased to see that a motion calling on Enfield Council to declare a Climate Emergency is on the agenda for its next meeting. We urge all councillors to ensure that the motion is debated and approved and to instruct council officers to identify ways to reduce emissions in the borough of Enfield.
28 January 2019
According to official figures Enfield residents created, on average, CO2 emissions of 3.4 tons per person in 2016. Of that 1.3 tons came from our houses and another 1.3 from travel and transport.
 https://governance.enfield.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=44755 Motion 11.10