Incinerator should be Croydon North’s burning issue

BRENDAN WALSH is a Green party member from Croydon North who is disappointed, but unsurprised, that the issue of a £1 billion waste incinerator to be built on the boundary of the constituency has barely been mentioned by most of the candidates declared so far

Grant Shapps, the Conservative party co-chairman, doesn’t want one in his own back yard. He doesn’t even want one in Michael Green’s back yard. The minister without portfolio became a surprise backer of the anti-incinerator movement when he denounced the decision to allow an “Energy from Waste” facility in Hertfordshire as fundamentally the wrong decision based on flawed mathematics.

I must confess I did have to bathe in bleach when I discovered that I was effectively a political bed-fellow of Shapps on this issue, but it did make me wonder who else out there are on the anti-incinerator bandwagon. Well no one in Croydon North by the sound of things. Hardly a word has been mentioned in a single campaign launch. Winston McKenzie, who earlier this year said “To be honest, ref, I’m not too hot on this issue”, can’t be writing all the speeches can he?

Every candidate is telling us how they will stand up for the people of Croydon North. Well, they are unlikely to say otherwise, are they? Conservative Grant Shapps’ damning verdict echo’s the Conservative-led GLA report which sent the Beddington Lane ERF proposal back for a rethink. We like to say that Boris rejected it, but that’s really for our own amusement, in reality I’m sure he knows nothing about it one way or another. A bit like Mr McKenzie I would say.

I would love to hear how Andrew Stranack feels about the issue. Surely no right-minded person can believe this money-for-old-rope proposal is a good way to spend our hard-earned cash. Not unless the old rope is flogging you into line.

When the LibDems’ Brian Paddick was in Croydon before the mayoral election he told Inside Croydon “the last thing we need is an incinerator”. A quite reasonable remark until he found out it was a being built in LibDem-run Sutton. So where does Marisha Ray stand?

Even Labour need to properly get to grips with this issue. Tony Newman’s previous position of “not this technology, at this time, in this location” allows way too much wriggle room for my liking. Labour members should challenge their prospective candidates to rule out all forms of incineration and back that candidate when picking their next MP this weekend.

When we find the stated positions of all these people I would invite you to compare it to the track record of Shasha Khan, Croydon’s “Green Knight”.

Shasha Khan has been at the centre of the Stop the Incinerator movement since the Green party discovered the plan in 2008. He has fought every stage where it mattered, he has discovered the contracts, he has made and organised objections in the consultations, he was the only Croydon political representative at the hearings of the Plan in Merton, he has scrutinised and organised objections to the Planning Application before Sutton Council and has even handcuffed himself to the public gallery of Croydon Council to find out and then expose the secret dealings of the South London Waste Partnership.

Now ask yourself. Who would you trust to carry that fight all the way into Westminster?

Click here for our archive of other articles on the candidates of all parties for the Croydon North by-election

  • Inside Croydon: For comment and analysis about Croydon, from inside Croydon
  • Post your comments on this article below. If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at

About insidecroydon

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 2012 by-election, Andrew Stranack, Croydon Greens, Croydon North, Environment, Marisha Ray, Shasha Khan, Winston McKenzie. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply