MEPs condemn “dangerous” Beddington incinerator proposals

The Greens and the Labour party in Sutton are keeping up the pressure as the proposed Viridor Beddington Lane planning application gets set to be considered (and passed) by the pro-incinerator LibDem-controlled Sutton Council at a planning meeting scheduled for April 24.

Viridor claims that they have improved their planning application such that their local pollution will only be the equivalent of 1 per cent of the pollution in the already heavily polluted Beddington Lane area. Higher chimneys are now proposed so that emissions are spread further away into Croydon.

Viridor is also now offering an improved habitat for sparrows, which seems rather incidental to the matter in hand.

The Stop the Incinerator Campaign has dismissed the changes as “confectionery”.

The campaign, made up almost entirely of Croydon Green Party members, last week staged a die-in outside Viridor’s offices in West Malling in Kent. The resulting video, while slightly comical, is deadly serious in its intent in making the campaign’s case that the nano-particles emitted will endanger health of vast numbers of south Londoners for generations to come.

Bringing the message home: Protesters outside Viridor's offices in Kent last month. Picture by Emmet Simpson

Bringing the message home: Protesters outside Viridor’s offices in Kent last month. Picture by Emmet Simpson

London Green MEP Jean Lambert and South East England Green MEP Keith Taylor, who are both backing the campaign,  say that, “incinerators, like the one Viridor is planning to build at Beddington Lane, do not provide a green or responsible waste solution.

“Incineration technology necessarily requires waste input – and diverts materials which should be sent for recycling. We need a plan to reach zero-waste, where virtually all materials are recycled. Some countries are well en route to this, but plans like this, which lock demand for waste into incineration technology, are not the answer – and will undermine more ambitious recycling.”

The two Green MEPs are also worried about extra traffic in the area, bringing in refuse for burning and taking out ash, as well as the risks to health from emissions. “Air pollution causes over 4,000 premature deaths in London each year, with older people and children particularly at risk,” they said.

“Beddington Lane is already in an air quality management area: air quality in the area will deteriorate further and is likely to breach EU standards.”

Claude Moraes, a Labour MEP for London, has also seen a European angle to the anti-incinerator campaign and has tabled a parliamentary question to the European Union’s environment commissioner in Brussels asking what action the commission can take to prevent the opening of a waste incinerator in south London.

Moraes condemns Viridor’s proposal in his February report to Londoners: “The prospective site lies within an Air Quality Management area, which has been identified by the EU as a heavily polluted and dangerous environment to live in.

“The proposed incinerator would pump thousands of tonnes of fine particle pollution (such as NO2, PM10 and PM2.5) into London’s atmosphere.”

In Sutton, John Keys, the Labour councillor for the Beddington North ward where the incinerator is to be based, will tonight present a petition against the incinerator at a full council meeting.

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2 Responses to MEPs condemn “dangerous” Beddington incinerator proposals

  1. Having read a previous posting on this subject I followed your link to the excellent and highly detailed Stop the Incinerator Campaign website.

    The most important thing I learnt there is that another incinerator is unnecessary because we already have enough capacity in Greater London to deal with all the rubbish we can’t recycle.

    In general, if someone wants to start a business I’m content for them to do so – it’s up to them to calculate whether there’s a market for their product or service and face the consequences if they’re wrong.

    But in this case it seems our politicians are ready to license a potentially polluting incinerator in a soon-to-be country park, even though there’s no apparent need for it.

    Is there something we haven’t been told?

  2. The world of air pollution and the world of planet wide waste do seem to be meeting.

    Last week was the Parliamentary premier of the new film Trashed, with Jeremy Irons, at Portcullis House. Now it is to be shown in Croydon on March 8.

    It is about (amongst other things) incinerators, ultrafine particles that reached the brain and the cancer dangers and birth deformities of dioxins (specifically made by burning chlorinated plastics). Zac Goldsmith said that it was impossible to regulate something as simple as the plastic bag because of the intense lobbying of Parliament by the industry, warning of the Treasury’s interference with the plastic bag levy.

    It’s up to you, he said !!!

    Trashed could also have added the “ordinary” mortality and morbidity, so evident in London and Croydon, from traffic pollution. Each incinerator adds a large transport “train” of diesel lorries to the local roads, as well as large amounts of toxic gases and particulates on its own account.

    Last week’s 2013 WHO report examining the extra new dangers of London air pollution needs came out as well, coincidentally. It highlighted the importance of spikes of pollution, also confirmed by the recent King’s report. These start the very damaging, autonomous, inflammatory reactions that include the placenta (see ozone section of WHO Europe)

    King’s Population exposures…see particularly schoolchildren and toddlers

    WHO 2013 (press release)

    and the initial report

    With diesel traffic already at increased levels in outer London, and the extra lorries the Sutton incinerator will bring, the health of the whole north of the boroughs of Sutton and Croydon is being put at risk.

    Recent researches have thrown a spotlight on heart attack induction and post heart attack survival and air pollution.

    The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (by the way, this is a domestic repeat of US research published last year) had a representative on BBC London news last week. The relevant researcher mentions INFLAMMATION as the core mechanism for early deaths and then reinfarction.

    Here are some non-BBC sources:

    The real point is that the mechanisms of inflammation are very powerful, extensive and very little known to the lay person. So brain, placenta, heart and lungs may appear not to be connected.

    I hope this news item will start its own “cascade”…it follows the news on pregnancies of last week, and brain is soon to follow, no doubt.

    All the chickens are coming home to roost.

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