Green ambitions go up in smoke as Croydon burns its rubbish

Croydon’s Labour-run council, which was elected on a manifesto of being “ambitious” to be the cleanest and greenest borough in London, has been sending residents’ domestic waste to an incinerator for more than a year.

The Viridor incinerator at Colnbrook, near Slough. They call it "lakeside", because it sounds prettier, and "ERF", because they don't want to say incinerator

The Viridor incinerator at Colnbrook, near Slough. They call it “Lakeside”, because it sounds prettier, and “ERF”, because they don’t want to say “incinerator”

Work has only recently begun to build the vast, industrial-scale waste incinerator on Beddington Lane to fulfill a £1 billion, 25-year public contract with Viridor.

But according to an answer provided by “Clean and Green” Stuart Collins, the council cabinet member responsible for the borough’s rubbish, to a Town Hall question, for the past 18 months, at least one-fifth of all Croydon’s rubbish has been trucked over to the picturesquely titled “Lakeside ERF”, near the far from picturesque Slough (qv Betjeman).

“ERF” is the misleading acronym adopted by Viridor to disguise their plant’s function as an incinerator; it is supposed to mean “energy recovery facility”, though the evidence that burning of rubbish does anything but generate lots of potentially deadly pollution is scarce.

Croydon, with Sutton, Merton and Kingston, is part of the South London Waste Partnership. The boroughs have bandied together to try to reduce the punitive amounts of landfill tax they pay to the Government – currently £82.50 for each ton of crap that gets thrown down a hole in the ground. Burning rubbish does not attract any such levy.

According to Collins, “Through the partnership’s contract with Viridor, residual waste has consistently been diverted from landfill where possible and in 2014-2015, 20 per cent of the partnership’s waste went to the Lakeside ERF. The partnership is exploring options for waste disposal for residual waste during the construction period for the ERF,” meaning the Beddington Lane incinerator, “… as, now that the facility will be completed later than initially anticipated, it may be necessary to have an alternative provision in place; this could include sending more waste to an alternative ERF for a brief period.”

This strongly suggests, as the anti-incinerator campaign has long maintained, that there is already plenty of incinerator capacity in London and the south-east, and building a new one on Metropolitan Open Land and the site of what was supposed to be a country park is entirely unnecessary and a complete waste of £1 billion of public cash.

It also points to the landfill site at Beddington, which Viridor has the contract to manage, is getting very close to capacity, suggesting that our council and its other local authority partners will have to send even more rubbish to incinerators before the local plant is ready to start spewing its fumes into the atmosphere over Croydon.

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2 Responses to Green ambitions go up in smoke as Croydon burns its rubbish

  1. Please don’t mess with Croydon. Even a T shirt was printed to say “Don’t mess with Croydon” .

    Croydon’s rubbish councillors (those who are responsible for keeping Croydon clean) are working very hard to keep Croydon clean.

    They even collect old Santa trees (I can’t say Christmas as it may offend those who don’t believe in Christmas).

  2. I really don’t know what the problem with the incinerator is….all the best people say its ok. I understand that carpet-gnome is planning to help the government’s primary school places shortage by building an additional annex to Fiveways in the nature reserve at Beddington,what could be greener? (joke)
    Back in the real world I would highly recommend:

    Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis

    with its detailed examination of how Reaganomics have trashed US public schools and society,leading to a class apartheid that is disastrous for family and child alike.On this side of the pond,our Margaret,then Blair and now Dave are pursuing policies that are having the same effect.even if they are couched in different rhetoric. To see what I mean about ghettoisation of the middle class,could you imagine a policy that bussed Coulsdon Kids into Fiveways? Or Shirley kids into Beddington? Primary School catchment areas of 300ft in Notting Hill give you an idea of how to keep undesirables at bay.

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