Incinerator protest group WhatsApp infiltrated by waste authority member 

People march along Fore St in a protest against the Edmonton Incinerator on 16.01.22.

People marching along Fore Street in a protest against the Edmonton Incinerator on January 16 - Credit: Polly Hancock

An Islington councillor who is a member of the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) joined a private Stop the Edmonton Incinerator Now (STEIN) campaign WhatsApp group in a move that one member has described as “very inappropriate”. 

The NLWA, which is made up of seven north London boroughs including Camden, Islington and Haringey, had approved the £1.2 billion redevelopment of the Edmonton Incinerator.  

Protests were held as recently as January 16, with campaigners opposing the project, including STEIN, marching in an effort to prevent it from progressing. 

Carina Millstone, initiator of the STEIN campaign, said the discovery was made on the evening of January 17, when someone flagged that they suspected a member of the NLWA board was in the group. 

After announcing in the chat that the person had been identified and next steps were being considered, Carina said that Cllr Satnam Gill, one of Islington’s representatives on the NLWA board and a cabinet member for finance and performance, came forward to introduce and explain himself to the group. 

Carina said he told everyone that he thought it was a “fairly public group”, before leaving.  

She said: “A lot of people were pretty p****d off about this, including myself, asking him why he had joined this group. He didn't contribute to it at all. 

“We were discussing the protest we had on Sunday, discussing the legal challenge we’re launching, and eventually he left the group.” 

Most Read

Carina adds that the purpose of it is clear to anyone wishing to join: "To stop the rebuild of the incinerator.” 

With 134 people in the group, Carina said she is now questioning how safe it is as a result of the episode. 

“It started off that we all knew each other, but now we all know people who know each other it’s not clear who else might have joined,” she said.

In response, Cllr Gill said: “About ten days ago someone sent me a link saying ‘have you seen this group that’s been going on for a while, it’s got quite interesting stuff in it’. So, I just joined, and they accepted me and I occasionally looked in to see what they were saying and that was it.  

“I’ve done nothing with it, I’ve not engaged in any arguments with anybody. The only interesting thing was there were some quite interesting ideas about recycling which I think are quite important.”