Secrecy and deathly silence on Croydon’s £1bn incinerator

Since our posting earlier this week, there’s more on the Croydonwide interweb about plans to hand a £1 billion contract to Viridor to build and run a waste incinerator at Beddington, which many fear could pump poison into the atmosphere above Croydon for decades to come.

The long-term health of generations of south Londoners seems set to be determined at a secret meet of a cabal of Conservative councillors behind closed doors at the Town Hall on Monday.

Croydon Greens have posted this: “Councillors claim the sensitive nature of the procurement process – an entirely separate process to the consulation – prevents them from answering specific questions with regard to the Plan. Very convenient indeed.”

They also provide a timeline of how debate and discussion on this vitally important planning issue has been suppressed in the past three or four years. Read the post here.

Also on the case ahead of the secret meeting is Councillor Timothy Godfrey, who represents Selhurst ward, where residents will be at risk from the “fall-out” from the proposed incinerator, which will have a licence to handle radioactive waste.

Godfrey highlights a news item on the official Croydon Conservative party website from May 2010 in which the local Tories basically accused the Labour party candidates of lying.

Under the headline: “Labour’s election campaign: built on two big deceptions” – which sounds to us like accusing people of lying – the Tories said before the election: “… it is clear that Labour has a wholly negative strategy, founded on two great big untruths: the the Conservatives have a secret plan for an incinerator in or near Croydon, and that we plan to waste millions of taxpayers’ money on building a new ‘luxury HQ’…”

What else did Croydon Conservatives say in May 2010?

“In neither case is Labour’s claim true.” So they were lying then? There’ll be no incinerator then? Nor any public money squandered on the “council hub”?

Let’s skip forward over the argument of whether the Conservative-run Croydon Council is actually wasting tax-payers’ money on building a vanity project/luxury HQ alongside the Taberner House buildings. No one knows what the scheme is actually costing the people of Croydon, because our secretive council won’t let anyone see the figures or even discuss the scheme.

If you want to read more about the £450 million council hub/headquarters scheme, click here.

On the matter on the incinerator, 18 months ago the Croydon Conservatives were saying, “we have made it absolutely clear that Croydon Conservatives do not support incineration at all and will absolutely not have an incinerator in our borough or support one close to our borders”.

So that there is no misunderstanding, let’s just examine that again:

  • They “do not support incineration at all”. Seems clear enough.
  • And they “will absolutely not have an incinerator in our borough or support one close to our borders”. Categorical, you’d think.

The official Croydon Conservatives website, in reassuring the electorate of the borough, said further: “The only plan is a very public one …  to work with our partners to deliver new means of disposing of the non-recyclables in an environmentally friendly way, but with no incinerator anywhere in our near the borough.” [we think they meant “in or near the borough”]

Councillor Godfrey: denied access to the secret discussion affecting residents in Selhurst

This morning, the Tories’ article was still available on t’interweb. You can read it for yourself by clicking here. Like Godfrey, we wonder how long it will be before Our Brave Leader Mike Fisher orders his web wallah, Tim Pollard, to remove the embarrassing item from the website.

Godfrey’s post makes a number of interesting points on overall recycling policy. On the deception of the people of Croydon on this issue, he says, “No wonder we have a poor recycling system in Croydon, when the very business plan for Viridor is based on incinerating as much as possible from the four boroughs of Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston.”

He also says this: “Here in Croydon, the Tories are using the full force of the Council legal machinery to bully and intimidate councillors in not speaking out at all.”

Whatever could he mean?

On Monday, a cabal of 10 senior Croydon Conservatives will gather in a room at the Town Hall, close the door, and discuss plans to spend £1 billion of public money on building a waste incinerator close to the Sutton-Croydon boundary.

We had a quick look around the blogsphere this morning, but can find nothing posted this week about the incinerator issue on the website of Gavin Barwell, MP for Croydon Central, Richard Ottaway MP (Croydon South), or Waddon Councillor Clare Hilley. None of them could normally be described as shrinking violets when a photo op or an invitation to a Tory fund-raiser with Boris Johnson presents itself.

Waddon councillor Clare Hilley is ready for Christmas. Don't mention the incinerator

The latest contest on Ottaway’s website concerns itself with yet further apologia, both for his dreadful handling of the school transport needs presented by the parents of a four-year-old girl, and an example of his somewhat relaxed attitude to receiving gifts or trips from private companies and interest groups.

Hilley, who is supposed to represent the people of Waddon, leads her website by promoting a Christmas party for an organisation called CF.

We tried Tweeting at Gavin Barwell on the matter, but not response. All are silent on the matter of the secret £1 billion incinerator which Croydon’s Tories pledged would never be built.

A deathly hush. How odd.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Clare Hilley, Croydon Council, Croydon Greens, Environment, Gavin Barwell, Mike Fisher, Planning, Richard Ottaway MP, Selhurst, Timothy Godfrey, Waddon and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Secrecy and deathly silence on Croydon’s £1bn incinerator

  1. It was so obvious that the incinerator would be built in or near Croydon.

    dirty,dirty Croydon. The ‘Royal’ borough of Kingston would never have allowed.

    So the riot damaged,dirty outpost known as Croydon can have it.

    So, a piece of rubbish thrown away in Kingston can be breathed in by a Croydon resident a few days later! Lovely!
    dirty,dirty Croydon

    Is this what is known as inward investment?

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