GREEN Party parliamentary candidates in the borough were about the only people in the country yesterday to be granted permission to take to the skies.

As thousands of people sit stranded at airports due to British aerospace remaining on lock down, campaigners against the Brent Cross Cricklewood development had special permission to launch the only take off of a winged object in the UK.

Parliamentary candidate for Finchely and Golders Green, Donald Lyven, had been cleared by the Civil Aviation Authority to fly a two metre wide kite more than twice the legal height of 60 metres, on Clitterhouse Playing fields, Cricklewood.

The stunt was due to reach 140 metres, the height of the proposed chimney that will stand on the planned waste treatment plant which will form part of the controversial Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration project.11 With volcanic ash keeping all planes grounded in Britain, campaigners yesterday were more concerned the toxic gasses which may be produced by the chimney will bring air quality plummeting across many parts of north London.

Due to the lack of strong enough winds, the kite failed to reach the 140 metre target, but Mr Lyven said: “The purpose was to demonstrate how high this chimney is going to be.

“People around here don't realise what they have got going up here and they are going to be living in the shadow of particles going up over them.”

At 140 metres, the chimney will be higher than the London Eye and arch on the new Wembley Stadium, although developers have constantly denied they plan to build an incinerator on the site. Instead, they claim it will be a waste handling plant, but Mr Lyven said: “We want to know what other places are operating in a way which means it is producing cleaner air going out than is going in.

“It is all very well and good pointing to new technology and saying it is better, but until we see the evidence of it working it is all pie in the sky.

“There will still be poisonous ash being produced. We should be focusing on producing less so we don't have enough to keep an incinerator going.”

Dozens of Green party members were joined by leading figures from the Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Cricklewood, and the Barnet and Brent Friends of the Earth groups.

Many echoed the concerns there could still be dangerous nano-particles and dioxins produced into the atmosphere, and complained the development of the waste plant would be a disincentive to looking at other ways of recycling in the future.

Andrew Newby, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Hendon, said: “This was a symbolism of our overall struggle against the Brent Cross Cricklewood development.

“The site should be developed into a bio-mass power plant to help produce electricity for the area.

“This area is not as blighted as they make out. It is a pleasant place to live and what they are proposing has got to be better than what they already have.

Work on the development has been put on hold while Communities Secretary John Denham considers whether to call the plans in for a public enquiry.