Beddington incinerator is out-of-date before it is even started

CROYDON COMMENTARY: After travelling past the Beddington Lane incinerator yesterday in the knowledge that the furnaces are about to be fired up for the first time, SHASHA KHAN, pictured right, who has been prominent in the campaign opposing the Viridor project for almost a decade, is more worried than ever

After first being consulted upon in 2008, with details hidden deep in a dodgy waste review, it has taken nearly 10 years for this incinerator to finally reach completion. During this time, the world has moved on.

Television programmes like Blue Planet have highlighted to a wider audience the need to move away from plastics. The days of single-use plastics – presently sent for incineration because it has no further use – are numbered as we move towards a circular economy, where waste becomes a resource and not a “feedstock” to burn in this incinerator. 

Supporters of the Stop The Incinerator Campaign became aware of the levels of plastic in our oceans when we screened the movie, Trashed, in Fairfield Halls.

The Viridor incinerator at Beddington is ready to be fired up for the first time

Similarly, supporters of our campaign who attended the screening were made aware of the harmful health effects of poor air quality, especially to mums-to-be.

This incinerator is out-dated technology even before it starts its 25 years of operation.

The South London Waste Partnership is the organisation of four south London boroughs – Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston – who commissioned the building of the incinerator with £200million of public money, to be operated for 25 years by Viridor on a contract worth £1billion, paid for by local tax-payers. SLWP hired a company, Eunomia Consulting, to compile a report which says that there will not be not enough residual waste generated by the four client boroughs to feed the incinerator beyond 2030 – less than halfway through its operational contract.

So what is Plan B? Will we, post-Brexit, be importing rubbish from the EU, and paying a hefty tariff? Or will we pay off the incinerator contractor Viridor?

The commissioning stage of an incinerator, before it is fully operational, is broken up into “cold” commissioning and “hot” commissioning. It will be hot commissioning that is undertaken in the next couple of weeks, when feedstock – rubbish – is sent for incineration for the first time. This is a more dangerous period, with all that combustible material near a burner, and a greater risk of fire.

I understand from UKWIN – the UK Without Incineration Network – that incinerator operators may have greater latitude in terms of environmental parameters when an incinerator is being tested. This is worrying in terms of air quality for people in south London.

  • Shasha Khan is a leading member of the Stop The Incinerator Campaign, and led the High Court fight against the scheme, taking Sutton Cuncil and Viridor to the High Court, ultimately unsuccessfully

  • Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
  • Inside Croydon is the borough’s only independent news source, and still based in the heart of Croydon
  • 1 MILLION PAGE VIEWS IN 2017 (January to September)
  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Environment, Shasha Khan, Waste incinerator and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Beddington incinerator is out-of-date before it is even started

  1. Nick Mattey says:

    Sutton Liberal Democrats asked for money to be donated to churches they attend. Their prayers were answered when Viridor’s charity handed over vast amounts of cash. As soon as they saw the cash the Liberal Democrats campaigned for the incinerator. Tom Brake, the local LibDem MP, supported the incinerator.

    What about all the carcinogenic material this incinerator will spew out? Will the Liberal Democrats compensate cancer victims?

Leave a Reply