The battle to stop the building of an industrial incineration plant on a nature reserve at Beddington Lane could be drawing to a close, after the Stop the Incinerator Campaign’s appeal against the refusal of its Judicial Review was turned down by a High Court judge.
Shasha Khan, the Green Party activist who brought the legal action, still has an opportunity to make an oral appeal, but the chances of blocking the £1 billion local authority deal with Viridor appear increasingly remote.
Local community groups raised tens of thousands of pounds towards the legal costs of taking the battle to the High Court. The action was brought last autumn following Sutton Council, the planning authority, granting permission to build the incinerator on the Beddington Farmlands site. The incinerator site is close to the borough boundary with Croydon and adjoins a nature reserve in Metropolitan Open Land – which is supposed to have the same planning status as Green Belt – and which has been earmarked to be part of the Wandle Valley regional park.
Viridor has a 25-year contract to operate the incinerator on behalf of the South London Waste Partnership (SLWP), made up of south London boroughs Sutton, Merton, Kingston and Croydon.
Labour was elected to Croydon Council last May on a manifesto pledge to block the incinerator; but since then they have continued to follow the previous Tory administration’s waste incineration policy, claiming that penalty clauses if they withdrew from the incinerator deal would be too great, while also claiming not to have seen the contract which includes those penalty clauses.
Khan said, “Our legal team intend to press the matter at an oral hearing as we are entitled to do. I understand it is not uncommon to be refused on paper and get permission at an oral hearing.”
Sutton Council has spent more than £70,000 of Council Tax-payers’ money to frustrate the community-led legal action, while Viridor has also been represented by an expensive legal team.
“Fundraising continues through various means on the stoptheincinerator.co.uk website to ensure the chasm in spending power between sides is narrowed,” Khan said.
- Read the latest judge’s ruling here: March 4 incinerator judgement
- Secret Part B agenda, but no Plan B, at councils’ incinerator meeting
- £1bn Incinerator deal could collapse as Viridor get greedy
- Incinerator campaign seeks justice by going to Court of Appeal
- Flawed inspection regime highlights health risks of incinerators
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