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.
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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