Judge gives all-clear for Viridor to build incinerator

So, Westfield and Hammerson are to build a £1 billion shopping mall in the centre of town, and thousands of new homes are to be built there, too, and they will all have a waste incinerator parked on the borough boundary, pumping smoke and potentially noxious fumes into the atmosphere above Croydon’s homes, schools and hospitals for two decades.

Scales of justiceThat’s the outcome following a High Court ruling, released this morning, in favour of Sutton Council and industrial waste burners Viridor.

With the scales of justice seemingly tipped in favour of big business interests, south London environmental campaigners who brought a judicial review of the local authority’s planning decision were handed down the devastating news in a ruling from Mrs Justice Patterson. Viridor appear free to go ahead and build their industrial plant on a site in Beddington Farmlands, which has been designated as Metropolitan Open Land.

The judge’s ruling may yet create a dangerous precedent and allow industrial development on all Green Belt land across England and Wales.

Shasha Khan, who brought the claim, said, “I find the judgement wholly wrong but as Abraham Lincoln said, ‘corporations have been enthroned’, leaving people little chance to challenge what he described as the ‘Money Power’.

“I feel for all those people who were pinning their hopes on this High Court challenge. I am sincerely sorry this legal process thus far hasn’t worked in our favour.

“It is very hard for an ordinary person to fight two QCs, including the UK’s leading environmental QC David Elvin, plus a barrister, all instructed by two corporate law firms. It is an unequal playing field. I didn’t apply for legal aid, so all bills, including the capped costs of Sutton Council will have to be met by me. However, it is through the generosity of supporters that these bills are largely paid.

Shasha Khan: says that the judge's decision is wrong

Shasha Khan: says that the judge’s decision is wrong

“Anyone thinking of rushing to buy shares in Pennon Group, Viridor’s parent company, should hold their horses, because despite the huge financial and emotional strain I am considering an appeal and I, and fellow campaigners, will not stop until every last option to stop this lung poisoning incinerator is exhausted.

“The judge’s decision doesn’t adequately explain why Sutton Council were able to ignore a policy which meant development on Beddington Farmlands was only allowed until 2023. Nor does it adequately consider the harm the incinerator will cause to the Wandle Valley Regional Park and London’s Green Network. These harms should have been considered by the council at the planning stage.

“Worryingly, the decision handed down by Mrs Justice Patterson allows building on Metropolitan Open Land which carries the same status as Green Belt and that can have an impact on people in other parts of the UK.”

The judge’s ruling can be read in full here.

Khan and his advisors have until Monday to lodge an appeal, although it seems likely that the costs will be prohibitive.

While the planning authority in the case is Sutton, the decision will not only affect the quality of the air that residents breath in Croydon, it is also likely to impact the borough’s finances.

Croydon is one of four south London boroughs signed up to the South London Waste Partnership, the others being LibDem-run Sutton, Tory controlled Kingston and Labour-held Merton.

In 2010, Tories in Croydon campaigned against allowing any incinerator to be built “in or on the borders” of the borough. Once elected, the Mike Fisher-led Conservative group signed up to the SLWP incinerator deal with Viridor, worth almost £1 billion over 25 years.

Stuart Collins (right) has got the slogan and the T-shirt. But just how "green" is Croydon's Labour-run council, which has gone quiet on opposition to the incinerator?

Stuart Collins (right) has got the slogan and the T-shirt. But just how “green” is Croydon’s Labour-run council, which has gone quiet on opposition to the incinerator?

Throughout the past five years, the Labour group in Croydon has campaigned long and hard against having anything to do with the incinerator scheme.

Yet although elected to the Town Hall on a seemingly  anti-incinerator ticket last May, the group leader Tony Newman no longer refers to an incinerator; instead, Newman now uses Viridor’s weasel words, talking in the council chamber about an “energy from waste facility”. He has even chuckled as he has done so, hopefully out of deep shame and embarrassment.

Newman’s deputy is Stuart Collins, who represents Broad Green, a ward which borders the Beddington area where the multi-million-pound Viridor incinerator is to be built. Because of the prevailing winds, residents in Collins’s Broad Green ward are among those most likely to be blighted by the fumes from the Viridor smoke stacks.

Since May, Collins has been given cabinet responsibility for “Clean Green Croydon”. And slogans. He has strenuously denied that the sloganeering and T-shirts are just a cheap publicity gimmick. Now representing Croydon Council on the board of the SLWP, Collins has been notably quiet on the incinerator issue of late.

At the time of publishing, there had been no reaction to the judgement from Viridor nor Sutton Council, although our neighbouring borough did have a news story on its official website encouraging residents to recycle more. Seriously.


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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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in "Hammersfield", Broad Green, Business, Centrale, Croydon Greens, Environment, Refuse collection, Shasha Khan, Stuart Collins, Sutton Council, Tony Newman, Waste incinerator, Whitgift Centre and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Judge gives all-clear for Viridor to build incinerator

  1. The power of money.
    May the tories be rewarded for what they have done to Croydon.
    Money will not buy health.
    May Labour see sense.
    One cannot have a cleaner and greener borough with an incinerator.

    Like

  2. Let us all put our hands in our pockets again and ensure that Shasha Khan’s costs are fully met by our contributions. To lose this case in this way will cost another £5,000. Shasha has stood tall and spoken out for all of us that want to breathe clean air and see a fair society.

    Like

  3. Andy Webber says:

    WRONG APPROACH – THE ONLY LANGUAGE THAT VIRIDOR UNDERSTAND IS THE LANGUAGE OF MONEY – THEY DO NOT GIVE A TOSS ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE!!!
    SO EVERY HOUSEHOLDER WITHIN A 3 MILE RADIUS OF THIS INCINERATOR SHOULD SUE THE COMPANY FOR THE DECREASE IN THE VALUE OF THEIR HOME – UP TO 20% COULD BE LOST OFF THE VALUE OF YOUR HOME AND THAT WOULD ADD UP TO BILLIONS OF POUNDS THAT WE THE PUBLIC WILL LOSE AS A RESULT OF THIS INCINERATOR – LET THEM BUILD IT BUT THEY MUST COMPENSATE EVERY HOUSEHOLDER – UP TO 1 MILLION! EVERY HOMEOWNER WHO LOSES VALUE IN THEIR HOME AS A RESULT OF THIS INCINERATOR -THIS IS THE ONLY ARGUMENT THAT WILL FRIGHTEN THEM OFF!

    ANDREW WEBBER

    Like

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