£2.50 per person – the price Viridor puts on your health

Local environmental campaigners claim that local councils, including Croydon, have handed a £1 billion contract to Viridor to run a controversial waste incinerator all in return for no more than £2.50 per person in the local area in “mitigation”.

incineratorThe Beddington Lane incinerator will operate on behalf of four councils – Labour-run Merton, LibDem-controlled Sutton, and Kingston and Croydon, both Conservative-controlled.

At the planning meeting held by Sutton earlier this year, councillors there maintained that additional demands to guarantee the health and well-being of south Londoners could not be placed on the contractor in case it risked the amount they would pay towards a mitigation fund – effectively a commercial “sweetener” to pay for various community and environmental projects.

The Viridor contract to run the incinerator over the next two decades is worth around £1 billion. It is now known that the mitigation package Viridor is offering totals … £2.3million.

“£2.3 million is chicken feed given the overall contract is worth £1 billion,” Shasha Khan of the Croydon and Sutton Green party. “It’s actually worth £2.50 per person living in the four boroughs of Sutton, Croydon, Kingston an Merton.

“Those complicit in this environmental disaster have put profit before people and have ignored the intrinsic economic benefits of a happy and healthy society,” Khan said.

Viridor claims that the mitigation package offered is ‘fair and adequate’ for the impact of burning rubbish for the next 25 years. Some of this money will go towards setting up a forum to help the local community decide how best to improve the local area.

Shasha Khan: Viridor's mitigation is chicken feed

Shasha Khan: Viridor’s mitigation is chicken feed

“We believe the best way to improve the local area is not to build a mass burn waste incinerator in the corner of our country park,” Khan said.

According to the environmental campaigners, a small amount of the fund has been put aside to replace the air quality monitoring station that was removed from Beddington Lane, the road on which the incinerator is being built, and where dozens of large lorries which truck in rubbish from across south-east England every day once the incinerator is up and burning.

But the amount Viridor has offered towards the monitoring station doesn’t cover the cost of the new equipment.

“Four out of the five councillors who voted for the incinerator did so because they were more concerned about losing the mitigation offered by Viridor than they were about anything else,” Khan said.

“What price would you put on your health? £2.50 is what the council sold it for.”

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