Sutton Council put on notice over incinerator Judicial Review

Justine Thornton, the barrister wife of Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour Party, has today overseen the issuing of formal notice to Sutton Council that a Judicial Review is to be sought over the decision to build a multi-million-pound waste incinerator on Beddington Lane, close to the borough boundary with Croydon.

Justine Thornton

Barrister Justine Thornton: has put Sutton Council on notice over a Judicial Review

The letter refers to council planning decisions dating back 20 years which established a policy of preserving and enhancing the Beddington Farmlands as an area of Metropolitan Open Land, the urban London equivalent of Green Belt.

The letter was issued by lawyers acting on behalf of Shasha Khan, the leader of the Sutton and Croydon Green Party and one of the founders of the Stop the Incinerator Campaign. The lawyers threaten to file a judicial review in the High Court unless Sutton Council withdraws planning permission for a multi-million pound incinerator.

You can read the lawyers’ “letter before claim” in full by clicking here.

Sutton has two weeks to respond to the legal arguments.

Sue Willman, Khan’s solicitor, said, “We believe Sutton has acted unlawfully. They have failed to demonstrate the very special circumstances needed to build an incinerator on Metropolitan Open Land.

“Mass burn incineration is an outdated and unsustainable technology and there are major questions about its effect on people’s health. This case is just one of many which local people are bringing across the UK to stop an army of waste incinerators being built when councils should be focused on cleaner renewable energy and recycling.”

Khan is still fund-raising to pay for the legal costs of the court challenge. “We hope the thousands of Londoners who care about clean air and migrating birds and open space will support our legal case,” he said.

“This mass burn approach also puts off recycling efforts. Sutton should be forward thinking like Southwark who have just developed a modern and sustainable solution that separates out the contents of black bag waste for recycling and reuse of raw materials.”

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9 Responses to Sutton Council put on notice over incinerator Judicial Review

  1. davidcallam says:

    Bravo Mr Khan!
    Unlike Croydon Labour Parry, you have put your money where your mouth is and done something.
    As a result I will seriously consider voting for you and yours in the forthcoming council election.

  2. I agree with David, Mr Khan puts our local Labour and Conservatives to shame. I am not impressed with Croydon Labour’s grandstanding on this issue. Unless I see evidence of them putting their money where their mouth is and financially supporting the judicial review, I will be voting Green

    • Hi David and Paula.
      Just to correct you Croydon Labour Party has delivered thousands of leaflets to residents about the incinerator, has run three public meetings and raised hundreds of pounds towards the legal costs at our anti-incinerator fundraiser.

      I spoke at Sutton’s planning meetings, as did other Labour members, and right throughout have worked with the Stop the Incinerator Campaigners.

      This issue is beyond party politics, it’s about the health of our residents for generations, and as a councillor for Broad Green, I will will continue to work with the Stop The Incinerator Campaigners.

      I hope to see you both at their next fundraiser when we can discuss the difficult challenge that lies ahead in forcing Sutton to drop this health hazard.

  3. davidcallam says:

    Stuart, I’m surprised that you and your Labour chums are hiding your light under a bushel.
    Politicians failing to claim credit, whether they deserve it or not.
    Well done on raising some money, but why haven’t you added your name to the judicial review request?
    That would show your unequivocal support for the cause. Maybe that’s the problem.

    • I can’t, and won’t, speak for Stuart on this, but I do happen to know that there is only one name on the Judicial Review.

      That is not a party, nor a campaign, but a single individual.

      This has done for strategic legal reasons.

      The Judicial Review process is supposed to be there to allow ordinary citizens to hold local authorities to account. That it costs north of £15,000 just to launch such a review puts it out of sight for most, and the risk of having astronomical costs awarded against the people bringing the review case make it even less viable for “ordinary, hard-working people”.

      Sutton Council has already given notice that it intends to “go after” the Stop The Incinerator Campaign for their legal costs in the event that the council should win the case. Here:

      By limiting the Judicial Review to a single individual, in this case Shasha Khan, the legal view is that Sutton Council’s options for pursuing costs in the event that they win the case would be far more limited.

      So it’s nothing to do with “commitment to the cause” or political posturing, David, and all about finding a way to make the legal system work for, rather than against, the people.

  4. davidcallam says:

    Thank you for the explanation.

    I find it interesting that Mr Khan has to shoulder the legal risk rather than someone from one of the major parties.
    Once again, well done Mr Khan.

    • At risk of labouring the point, David, Shasha’s role in this has little to do with his being a member of the Greens. That’s certainly the case if the solicitors’ press release this week is anything to go by, which barely mentions his political position.

      We found there’s an arbitrariness to the selection of the person to “front” the JR with the attempt to run a legal challenge with the Riesco collection: you need someone prepared to do it, but who is not seen to be linked to a political party (which would rule out any sitting councillors) or with a reputation for being an irritant.

  5. Shasha Khan says:

    Thank you for your kind words Paula and David. Acknowledgement for getting to this stage should be spread far wider. Councillor Collins has played a creditable role in helping to raise money and awareness. The cover photo of my Facebook page features a picture of Councillor Collins alongside me and other Stop The Incinerator campaigners when we did our ‘Money Talks’ protest at a Sutton Council meeting. We are happy to work with everyone who feels the same way as we do, be it the Croydon Labour Party, Sutton Labour Party, Sutton Conservative Party or the Merton Conservative Party. It is the issue that remains our focus, not the party politics.

  6. Pingback: Father sues Council in battle against incinerator in London’s newest country park | STOP the South London Incinerator

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