Viridor’s heating claims “don’t stand up to scrutiny”

A leading anti-incinerator campaigner claims that plans for waste management company Viridor and Sutton Council to provide heating for local residents “don’t stand up to scrutiny” and that a £1 billion waste incinerator scheme could even be in breach of European law within six years.

Viridor cartoon by Gordon RossAs Inside Croydon first reported, even before planning permission had been granted for the incinerator, Sutton Council had set up a separate commercial company to manage a plant generating heat from the current waste dump at Beddington Lane.

The landfill site and proposed incinerator site  is just the other side of the borough boundary from Croydon, close to a wildlife sanctuary, by some Metropolitan Open Land with Mitcham Common nearby.

Sutton Council, which is under LibDem control, recently granted planning permission to Viridor to build a vast incinerator to burn the rubbish from Sutton, Croydon, Merton and Kingston under a £1 billion contract over the next three decades, despite objections from Tories in Sutton and Merton and Labour groups in Sutton and Croydon, and serious concerns for the long-term health impact from the waste gasses and nano-particles generated by the incinerator.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, is considering the planning application for the waste incinerator, alongside objections including legal opinion from barrister Justine Thornton, the partner of Labour party leader Ed Miliband.

Gordon Ross, the vice-chair of the Stop the South London Incinerator campaign, today questioned the veracity of Viridor’s claims about its ability to generate heat from waste.

“Viridor are claiming the facility will generate electricity and provide heat to the neighbourhood,” Ross said. “Viridor has used claims that this type of facility will provide heat before to convince people of its green credentials, yet out of the 13 incinerators built by Viridor in the UK, only one has ever provided any heat to a customer.”

Gordon Ross: councils are putting wealth ahead of health with the incinerator

Gordon Ross: councils are putting wealth ahead of health with the incinerator

Ross says that only with a small incinerator at a hospital has Viridor’s heat generation promises been realised.

“The claims that they will provide a heat network don’t stand up to scrutiny, as heat networks attached to waste incinerators have failed to be economically viable or technologically feasible,” Ross said.

“An incinerator with attached Combined Heat and Power – CHP – plant is just another incinerator, and as such fails to meet the Mayor’s London Plan, which calls for schemes that cut carbon emissions.

“The proposed incinerator will burn vast amounts of recyclable material. This is not only a waste of useful resources, and a source of pollution, but it is also likely to be illegal under EU law by 2020.”

In May 2012, a resolution was passed by the European parliament calling for incineration with energy recovery to be limited to “non-recyclable materials” by 2020. The Beddington Lane scheme depends entirely on residents sorting their own rubbish – with few, if any, checks on site to ensure that only appropriate waste is sent into the incinerator.

“No independent economic feasibility study has been done for the proposed incinerator in Sutton, and there is no legal guarantee that Viridor will implement the CHP scheme once they get planning permission,” Ross said.

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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
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2 Responses to Viridor’s heating claims “don’t stand up to scrutiny”

  1. This project is a shocking betrayal of the electorate of all four boroughs. It is a foolish missed opportunity to build jobs and industry around recycling.

    When you listen to the arguments what shocks me the most is the way well-informed citizens, who really care about the environment and public health are being ignored, and denigrated by elected representatives and officials who know so little about the subject they really do not know how little they know.

    Long-term strategies have to incorporate recycling and clean air in order to be sustainable – come on Boris vote for a future for all our children!

  2. Shasha Khan says:

    Well said Gordon! Also, Charlotte’s comments are spot on!

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