The Labour party in Carshalton and Wallington courted controversy on Monday at the Carshalton Environmental Fair by wearing face masks and industrial suits to protest against the decision by the local council to grant planning permission to the Beddington Lane incinerator.
Sutton Council is under LibDem control, and the council has entered into a business contract with the incinerator operators, Viridor. Last week Sutton’s decision to grant planning permission was effectively rubber-stamped by London Mayor Boris Johnson, when his deputy decided not to over-rule Sutton’s decision.
At the busy Carshalton Environmental Fair, attended by hundreds of families with small children on Bank Holiday Monday, the local Labour party’s posters showed the Liberal Democrat “bird of liberty” wearing a gas mask. The LibDems who voted through the planning application were described as “environmental vandals”.
There was also a banner which read: “WARNING – Liberal Democrat approved incinerator. Hazardous pollution ahead. Masks must be worn at all times in this area.”
Sutton LibDems also had a stall at the fair. They were selling jam.
Beddington North councillor John Keys, who resigned from the LibDems in disgust at the impact of the incinerator on his local community, joining the Labour party, was in no mood for giving any apology for the posters. “They are on the mark with local people’s feeling is in Beddington and Waddon,” Keys said.
“We have to take the fight on to the streets. We will do what is necessary to heighten people’s awareness of what this incinerator means.”
Keys also attacked Conservatives in Waddon ward in Croydon, including council cabinet member Simon “Cheap But Not Free” Hoar, for delivering leaflets on behalf of the incinerator operators, just a couple of years after being elected on a platform which stated that they would oppose any incinerator in or near the borough of Croydon.
“With Viridor having their leaflets delivered there, it’s very insensitive,” Keys said.
These shock tactics are in contrast to the low-profile, almost muted public campaign of their Labour party colleagues in Croydon, with just two poorly attended public meetings on the incinerator and the party’s efforts otherwise confined to debates at council, and a few press releases.
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