Croydon’s Greens and other groups opposed to the £1 billion Beddington Lane waste incinerator scheme were in celebratory mood last night thanks to help from a most unexpected source: Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
The Greater London Authority has submitted a detailed report which found eight significant points under which the plan by waste management giants Viridor, the contractors selected by Sutton’s Liberal Democrat-run Sutton council and Conservative-run Croydon, can not progress under Boris’s London Plan.
Sutton Council issued a statement last night, which did not take much reading between the lines to sense the embarrassment at such weighty objections.
Ransford Stewart, Sutton’s interim executive head of planning and transportation, said: “The Mayor of London has provided a very detailed response to Viridor’s planning application for an Energy Recovery Facility in Beddington.” Ahhh. Still can’t bring themselves to call an incinerator an incinerator.
“It’s important that everyone has the opportunity to have their say on this important and complex proposal,” Stewart said, probably wishing that Boris Johnson hadn’t been one of those who decided to have their say.
“Sutton Council will continue carefully scrutinising the contents of the planning application, seeking expert technical advice where necessary, to ensure there is a sound basis on which to make a planning decision. We will also review all of the comments made by residents and public bodies.
“When this process has been completed, a report will go to the council’s Development Control Committee, who will decide whether permission should be granted, granted conditionally, or refused after considering all of the evidence and the comments received from residents and others.”
This, to paraphrase Churchill, is not even the beginning of the end for the incinerator saga: in all likelihood Viridor will now go away and modify their application in order to try to address the GLA’s objections. With contracts worth £1 billion over the next three decades at stake, they and the local councils who have backed this scheme are not going to let this drift away without some effort.
Yet there is a growing realisation about the health risks of waste incinerators, the contradictions over the use of proposed parkland near Mitcham Common, and increasing acknowledgement that the boroughs in the South West London Waste Partnership will be unable to generate enough waste to feed the incinerator – seeing local authorities from across southern England “export” their crap to this corner of London.
So any additional delays will not assist the incinerator’s cause, and objections from someone as influential as the Mayor of London’s office will be much more difficult to brush aside than those from “mere”, well-meaning action groups of ordinary people concerned about the health of their children and grandchildren.
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