A well-respected naturalist has accused Viridor, the incinerator operators, of further breaches of their promises and obligations at the Beddington Farmlands nature reserve in Sutton.
Peter Alfrey recently highlighted how Viridor’s neglect of its contractual duties over the use and restoration of the landfill sites has all but wiped out one of the last remaining breeding colonies of tree sparrows in London.
Now, Alfrey says that Viridor is deliberately restricting access for his team of volunteers to the nature reserve, which is located on the Croydon-Sutton boundaries. He says that the multi-million-pound waste management corporation is doing so “to limit the impact of the local community on Viridor’s unrelenting drive to deliver maximum commercial output and minimal commitment to the restoration”.
Alfrey, the publisher of The Birds of Beddington Farmlands, is on the local authority’s environment development group and a member of the conservation science group for the development of Beddington Farmlands into an important urban nature reserve.
Viridor is overseeing the construction of a industrial-scale incinerator at Beddington Lane, on what was supposedly protected Metropolitan Open Land, after having been given planning permission by Sutton’s LibDem-run council. The Viridor incinerator is to burn 300,000 tons of crud a year, trucked in from across south London and south-east England, for the next 25 years, under a £1 billion contract with four local councils, including Croydon.
Alfrey is soon to provide an annual report for a Viridor-funded environmental group, though he reckons he’ll have trouble getting much of his true thoughts past the sponsors’ censors. Alfrey accuses Viridor of “managing a slow, sinister decline of the local environment and community resources, managing local expectations and any resistance by creating a veiled oppression through creating states of depression and learned hopelessness within the local population”.
Using social media yesterday, Alfrey wrote: “Viridor delivered a further contribution at the end of the year by cutting the number of key holders to the bird and wildlife group by 50 per cent, from 30 key holders to 15.
“Despite a case being presented that an essential core of volunteers was needed to achieve the group’s aims and objectives, no further communication with the group was made. The reason given for dismantling the group was health and safety concerns regarding the construction of the incinerator.
“Supporters of the reserve could only suspect the real reason was for Viridor to limit the impact of the local community on Viridor’s unrelenting drive to deliver maximum commercial output and minimal commitment to the restoration, managing a slow sinister decline of the local environment and community resources, managing local expectations and any resistance by creating a veiled oppression through creating states of depression and learned hopelessness within the local population.”
Alfrey blames “an impenetrable planning and democratic system, rigged in favour of maximum capital output and enforced by a capital controlled legal system in order to maximise company profits while slowly and systematically destroying local communities, people’s quality of life and wellbeing, opportunity, equality and the local wildlife.”
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