The industrial-scale waste incinerator at Beddington Lane is set to be fired up for the first time in the next couple of weeks, Inside Croydon has learned.
“It’s the sort of Christmas present no one in south London would want,” one campaigner against the incinerator said this morning.
No one, that is, perhaps with the exception of multi-national rubbish burners Viridor.
Viridor will be getting £1billion of public money from Croydon and three other south London councils in a highly profitable deal to operate the incinerator over the next 25 years – which works out at £10million per year for Croydon and each of the three other boroughs, Sutton, Kingston and Merton – for the duration of the agreement.
But at least the company will be providing the first 15,000 items to stick in the Beddington furnaces: their own propaganda leaflets which are to be distributed to households in Sutton in the weeks between now and Christmas.
Built at a cost of £210million, the incinerator plant is sited near the Beddington Farmlands land-fill site, which was supposed to have been reclaimed as a country park. Instead, it could prove to be an environmental disaster in a highly populated part of the capital for generations to come. The trial burn happens to coincide with London Mayor Sadiq Khan running a high-profile campaign claiming that he wants to take radical steps to reduce the illegally high toxic emissions in the capital’s air.
The Beddington incinerator scheme was given the go-ahead by Sutton Council, as the local planning authority, under controversial circumstances, with Liberal Democrat councillors failing – as is required by law – to declare their close personal relationships to the company’s chief executive, and Viridor doling out hundreds of thousands of pounds of “charity” aid to a local church which is very closely linked to LibDem MP Tom Brake.
Now, residents in Sutton and the surrounding areas, including down-wind Croydon, will find that there’s more in the air in the days before Christmas than Santa’s reindeers.
The incinerator plant is due to go on-stream fully next year, but it is undergoing testing, and is to start “hot commissioning” in the next couple of weeks, according to senior councillors in Croydon.
Viridor, which persists with the delusion that their incinerator is an “Energy Recovery Facility” today confirmed that the furnaces are about to be fired up.
In a statement to Inside Croydon, Viridor said: “Construction at the Beddington Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) is progressing well and the facility is now entering its commissioning phase when each component is tested to ensure it is operating correctly and within the strict emissions limits. This established process must be completed before the ERF can become operational.
“All tests will be carried out safely and securely and as part of the commissioning process the facility will burn waste for the first time. The commissioning process is scheduled to take place over the coming months with the Beddington ERF due to become operational in summer 2018.”
Viridor also confirmed that they are to conduct a carpet-bombing of leafleting to 14,500 households in the Beddington and surrounding areas.
Peter Underwood, from the Croydon and Sutton Green Party, said: “”It’s the sort of Christmas present no one in south London would want. We have been campaigning against this incinerator ever since it was first planned as it will reduce the amount of waste we recycle and spew polluting particulates into the air we breathe.
“It’s traditional at this time of year for all the presents we want to come down the chimney. Unfortunately this year the gift we don’t want will be coming up and out of the top of the incinerator chimneys.
“It is sad to see the incinerator starting up but our protests won’t end here.
“We will keep campaigning to improve our air quality and to end this poisonous source of pollution.”
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