Boris’s deputy gives green light to £1bn incinerator scheme

Five brief paragraphs.

Viridor are working on a 25-year contract with four councils, worth £1 billion, which depends on the area re-cycling less, and burning it instead in an incinerator

Viridor are working on a 25-year contract with four councils, worth £1bn, which depends on re-cycling less, and burning it in an incinerator

That is all it took in a letter today to Sutton Council to give the go-ahead for the £1 billion Viridor incinerator on Beddington Lane, approving three decades of tens of thousands of HGVs importing to the area the waste and crap from across south-east England, all to be burnt, with the resulting noxious fumes being pumped out over residential areas in Sutton, Croydon and beyond.

The decision was due to have been made by London Mayor Boris Johnson. But he opted to distance himself as much as possible by going off on holiday to Australia.

In his stead, Boris’s £139,000 per year deputy, Sir Edward Lister, the former Tory leader of Wandsworth Council, signed off on the deal.

“I am content to allow Sutton Council to determine the case itself, subject to any action that the Secretary of State may take, and do not therefore wish to direct refusal,” Sir Edward wrote in his letter.

LibDem-controlled Sutton Council has already formed a business partnership with Viridor, to exploit the commercial income from any heat generated from the current landfill site and the incinerator’s future operation.

Today’s decision has been described as “an environmental disaster” by the Green party’s latest member of the House of Lords, London Assembly Member Jenny Jones.

“The Mayor’s decision is an environmental disaster for south London and the recycling and composting industry,” Jones said.

Billion-pound backing: Edward Lister, right, was left to do the Mayor's bidding while Boris Johnson went off on holiday

Billion-pound backing: Edward Lister, right, was left to do the Mayor’s bidding while Boris Johnson went off on holiday

“The Mayor has failed to observe his own planning and waste policies which state that incineration is the least desirable form of waste management. Instead he has put the interests of big business first, before legitimate environmental concerns and the interests of local residents that will be affected by his decision.”

While the Mayor’s office summary letter was brief, the accompanying report runs to 34 pages.

This includes the listing of submissions to the Mayor of London, whether objecting or supporting the proposal.

Objections on grounds of additional heavy traffic; increased air pollution; the diversion of
waste from recycling, composting and reuse; and inappropriate development on Metropolitan Open Land, with impact upon wildlife and open space were received from a Sutton councillor, a London MEP, and a range of interest groups including Beddington Residents Association; the Mitcham Society; East Coulsdon Residents’ Association;
the Mitcham Common Conservators; the Wandle Forum; and the Broadgreen Business Forum.

According to the report, “At the time of writing, over 2,600 letters or emails had been sent to the Mayor… with requests made for the Mayor to direct refusal”. The Mayor’s office had also received a petition with more than 1,200 signatures and another with more than 500 signatures: so in total more than 4,000 objections to the scheme.

The report notes: “Two letters of support have been received for the proposal.”

The Stop The Incinerator Campaign tonight threatened to refer the decision for judicial review. “This will affect the health of tens of thousands of people and for this decision to be made while Boris Johnson is away just displays the arrogance of the political elite,” said Croydon and Sutton environment campaigner Shasha Khan.

  • Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
  • 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 Boris Johnson, Broad Green, Business, Community associations, Croydon Council, Croydon Greens, East Coulsdon Residents' Association, Environment, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Outside Croydon, Planning, Sutton Council, Waste incinerator and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Boris’s deputy gives green light to £1bn incinerator scheme

  1. It is this sort of thing that reduces people’s confidence in politicians and increases the sense of alienation.

    This campaign has seen lots of women involved in politics – and then completely ignored.

    This is precisely the sort of topic which women want to communicate on, it affects:
    * health of young and old;
    * environmental quality;
    * urban space for physical and mental fitness…….

    It is all about money, big business, and civil servants who make decisions about areas that they do not live in.
    This is a terrible decision for democracy.

  2. Pingback: ‘Incinerator is option of last resort’ says Assembly chair – Gaia Gazette

Leave a Reply