The South London Waste Partnership, the joint committee of four boroughs – Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston – that wants to start industrial-scale waste incineration in the midst of a high-density residential area, is to hold its next meeting in Croydon on Tuesday night.
Since taking up their positions on the SLWP, Croydon’s Labour council, having been elected last year pledging to oppose the development of the incinerator at Beddington Lane, have now tamely gone along with the scheme.
A recent Inside Croydon poll showed that 84 per cent of our readers want Croydon Council to pull out of the incinerator agreement.
Elected last May on a stated ambition to make Croydon the greenest borough in London, by going along timidly with the incinerator project, the Labour-run council is burning a hole in its manifesto pledges.
As recently as last March, Tony Newman, the leader of Croydon Labour, described the Beddington Lane incinerator scheme as “an environmental crime”.
Now, as leader of the council and in a position to do something about it, Newman has decided to continue implementing the policies of his Tory predecessors.
His best hope seems to be that “something will turn up” with the on-going legal challenge brought by local environmentalists, the Green Party, and councillors from his own party.
Less than a year ago, Newman wrote: “The true extent of the environmental crime about to be perpetrated on the people of Croydon is only coming to light now… It is clear this incinerator will play no part in the long-term environmental solutions Croydon needs.”
Membership of the SLWP causes some seat-squirmng moments for “Clean Streets Stu”, Councillor Stuart Collins, Newman’s trusted deputy leader in charge of slogans and T-shirts, as this video from the last SLWP in December demonstrates…
Newman, Collins and Labour claim that were Croydon Council to exit the incinerator deal – which in any case might not be enough to de-rail the scheme altogether – they do not know how much the penalty clauses might be for the borough, since they have been denied access to the contracts.
What is calculable is the cost of going along with the incinerator scheme: £10 million per year payment to incinerator operators Viridor, for Croydon Council and each of the SLWP boroughs, every year for 25 years.
What cannot be calculated is the total tally in terms of the cost in death, ill-health and misery from the pollution likely to be caused by the incinerator, not only from what it pumps into the atmosphere, but also from the fleet of HGVs which will be ferrying domestic and other waste through Croydon to Beddington Lane for years to come.
The next SLWP meeting was originally scheduled to be held in Merton.
But following the demonstration in December, it has now been switched to Croydon Town Hall, at 5.30pm this Tuesday, when it will be open to the public and allow questions.
- Labour’s Newman waves the white flag over the incinerator
- Incinerator campaign seeks justice by going to Court of Appeal
- Flawed inspection regime highlights health risks of incinerators
- Inside Croydon Events: for dates and links to what’s happening in and around Croydon, updated daily, click here
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