The Stop the Incinerator Campaign has written to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, today to ask formally that he refuses the proposal by Viridor to build an incinerator on land earmarked for the Wandle Valley country park and wildlife reserve.
The site, which has two lakes and a population of rare birds, is sandwiched between Mitcham Common and Beddington Park in south London. Its value to London wildlife was recognised when it was designated as a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation by the Greater London Authority.
David Lindo, the “urban birder”, has identified the site’s potential for further improvement for nature and people when he described it as the “sleeping giant in London’s ornithological world”.
The letter argues that the Mayor should exercise his powers to refuse or “call in” the decision by Sutton Council, because the development would breach London, national and international planning and waste policies.
“Would they grant permission to build an incinerator with 95-metre chimneys on the edge of Richmond Park?” said Paul Pickering, one of the leading figures in the Stop the Incinerator Campaign.
“In 1995, local residents were promised this land would revert to open land. We need to re-use and recycle our waste, and use alternative technology like anaerobic digestion. Burning it will cause more pollution and greenhouse gases. We hope the Mayor will recognise this is a precious habitat for endangered birds and wildlife”.
Pickering and the campaigners have engaged lawyers, including , an energy and environment planning law specialist, to contest the incinerator build through the courts, possibly to a judicial review. , Ed Miliband’s partner
Pickering’s solicitor Sue Willman commented “Viridor has simply failed to demonstrate special circumstances to justifying large quantities of burning domestic and commercial waste on metropolitan land (equivalent to the Green Belt).
“Viridor have said that the incinerator is justified because it will provide heating to the local area but our evidence shows that other incinerator projects have failed to deliver in providing the costly infrastructure to do this.”
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