Viridor allowed to give ‘absurd’ name to incinerator road

Sutton Council’s attempts to whitewash the incinerator could backfire

BELLE MONT, our Sutton reporter, on how the council has opted to name the service road to the Beddington Lane incinerator after a bird species that has been almost wiped out locally, in part, at least, as a consequence of Viridor’s development of the site

There is dismay and disgust, in about equal measure, over Sutton Council’s choice of name for the access road through to the Viridor incinerator off Beddington Lane.

A number of loyalists to the LibDem one-party state in Sutton are still trying to pretend that burning 300,000 tons of rubbish every year will not cause serious air pollution and harm to the environment right across south London, potentially wrecking all of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s cleaner air targets.

Sources within Sutton Council suggested that they wanted to name the road in honour of local MP Tom Brake, who has done so much for the local environment, especially through EcoLocal, the charity of which he is a trustee and which so generously took The Lodge in Carshalton off the council’s hands at around £1million less than its true value.

Eco ‘warrior’: Tom Brake MP

Others wanted it named “Ruth Dombey Path”, after the council leader who has taken Sutton in one direction towards turning Beddington into London’s incineration hot-spot.

Dombey has done that while ignoring all suggestions that the sometime chairman of her local party, John Drage, really ought to have declared his life-long friendship with Viridor chief Colin Drummond when he was a member of the South London Waste Partnership committee that handed the £1billion contract to Viridor.

The road will have to withstand thousands of HGV lorry trips each week, as they truck in rubbish from across south-east England for burning, and then take away the ash waste product.

Some in Sutton suggest that with a slight adjustment in the letters chosen, the name of the road could pay proper tribute to Brake, Dombey and their old mate Drage equally, as illustrated above.

Under their contract with the South London Waste Partnership – which is made up of Sutton, Croydon, Merton and Kingston – Viridor’s incinerator was meant to be fully operational in 2018.  

But then, under other agreements signed by Viridor, they were meant to enhance parts of the Beddington Farmlands site, improving the wildlife habitat on the Metropolitan Open Land that they have used for their multi-million-pound business. But they haven’t fulfilled their promises on that, either. And Sutton has refused to conduct any enforcement action, despite orders from the Local Government Ombudsman.

Sutton Council is still de-designating large plots of Metropolitan Open Land – which has equivalent status to Green Belt – on Beddington Farmlands for industrial use, including one site next to the Viridor incinerator

Instead, there’s been a notable decline in bird species numbers on what was supposed to have become one of the capital’s largest country parks, providing new, green “lungs” to help clean up London’s polluted air.

Sutton Council, who have spent years calling the Viridor plant an “ERF” as they pretend that what they have helped to build in Beddington is not an incineration factory, are clearly still in denial. Because the council has decided to call the road leading to the Viridor incinerator “Corn Bunting Lane”, in a pathetic effort to create some image of a bucolic Shangri La in Beddington.

In an email sent on January 10 from a “data management officer” in the “street naming and numbering” section at Sutton’s Civic Offices, it was written that “Corn Bunting Lane” was the suggestion of the freeholder – which suggests it is the not-so-bright idea of Viridor themselves.

Peter Alfrey: unimpressed with Viridor

The risible decision was reached without any consultation with the councillors for Beddington North ward, where the new road is located.

One of those councillors is Nick Mattey, who was kicked out of the Liberal Democrats after whistleblowing on the £275,000 “gift” made by Viridor’s charity arm to a church hall used by Brake and the LibDems in Wallington for meetings and campaigning.

Today, Mattey, who despite the LibDems’ worst efforts was still re-elected last May as an independent councillor, told Inside Sutton, “The idea that this road should be called Corn  Bunting Lane with its rural connotations is absurd.

“The glaring light pollution from the Viridor Incinerator should convince anyone even at night that they are not in the countryside on a country lane but rather in the vicinity of Sutton’s biggest single source of  PM2.5 and NOX pollutants.”

Mattey has noticed that in the past month, there’s even been further wildlife habitat destruction on the approach road to the incinerator, as more trees have been hacked down, presumably to make the approach route to the incinerator easier for HGVs laden with rubbish. It certainly won’t provide any additional nesting sites for the ever-rarer corn bunting.

The Viridor incinerator on Born Cunting Lane, a histile environment for all wildlife. Andpeople

But Peter Alfrey, a locally based conservationist, suggests that, as a memorial to the bird life being marginalised by the Viridor development and its resultant pollution, “Corn Bunting Lane” might be bitterly appropriate.

“The corn bunting population has crashed at Beddington Farmlands and across the UK due to over-development and intensive farming,” Alfrey said.

“The corn bunting has become a symbol of ecological disaster, so I guess it’s an appropriate choice of name for this service road.

“The greatest loss in the Farmlands area is the 10 acres of nationally important wetland that has been de-designated from MOL and is now due to be developed by Prologis.

“They have put forward an off-setting plan by developing new habitat nearby. But we all know how seriously mitigation measures are taken and enforced by Sutton, so it is probably just more nonsense.”

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 Business, Environment, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Merton, Nick Mattey, Refuse collection, Ruth Dombey, Sadiq Khan, Sutton Council, Tom Brake MP, Waste incinerator, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Viridor allowed to give ‘absurd’ name to incinerator road

  1. Carisse Slattery says:

    Is the image meant to say what it says? Because it sure doesn’t says Corn Bunting.

  2. At least the road name is as disgusting as the project!

    • Carisse Slattery says:

      So it’s ok that it just says cunting right on the page is it.

      • It seems a sad reflection, Carisse, that you seem far more concerned about the use of a bit of Anglo-Saxon to satirise the crass actions of Sutton Council and their multi-billion-pound contractors Viridor, than you do about the ecological vandalism being carried out at Beddington Farmlands, the environmental disaster that is the incinerator, or the absurdity of their choice of name for the road.

        • Carisse Slattery says:

          “Anglo-Saxon”.. lol. This actually enlightened me to what the building was, which I appreciate, as they were passing it off as a recycling plant before. Your ignorance and smugness, however, is just unnecessary, you obviously think you’re better than everyone, have fun on your high horse.

          • Your embarrassment is entirely understandable, Carisse. Not only did you need a joke explained to you, but you hadn’t managed to work out that an industrial scale incinerator was not, in fact, a recycling plant.

  3. Carisse Slattery says:

    So apparently MyLondon are ignorant to it saying C*nt in massive letters on the article image and refuse to remove, acknowledge or explain it.

    • Hahahahahahahahahaha… that’ll teach Retch to use other people’s content – “aggregate”, they call it – to sell their advertising, without ever seeking permission. Hahahahahaha

  4. Ken Burt says:

    Don’t you have an Editor on this site ? As well as being offensive, it’s childish.

    • We do. And any child will be able to point out to you, Ken, that the editor’s name is on every page of the site, at least three times.

      Meanwhile, good to see you take more offence about a bit of Anglo-Saxon than you do about the environmental crimes being conducted by Sutton Council and Viridor.

      Bet you’re real fun at parties, too.

      • Anthony Mills says:

        It’s a real shame that the word is used almost exclusively in a pejorative, dismissive, derogatory way, these days, instead of just as a factual noun. I for one really like them…..

      • Ken Burt says:

        It was a rhetorical question, suggesting that the editor was asleep or failing in his duty by allowing this childish spoonerism to appear.
        Why do you assume that I take more offence at the wording than the environmental damage? Both are offensive to me.

  5. Lewis White says:

    Thank you Inside Croydon for revealing the new fact that Sutton Council want to allow someone to build over the adjacent swathe of semi-rural land.

    In spite of the sewage works and incinerator, and general mess of industrial sheds and fences and litter strewn spaces along Beddington Lane, there lurks a ghost of a quaint, rural past of the pasturelands on the Marsh.

    There is so much scope for planting woodlands inside the sewage plant and the incinerator site.

    It would be a tragedy to build on this land.

    • Too True! I don’t suppose that property developers and speculators would themselves buy homes near such polluted sites. The profits they get would enable them to live in the leafy countryside beyond the M25. Better to leave any ‘spare’ land around Viridor to nature, to try to mitigate some of the environmental damage if possible.

  6. danielstephens4055 says:

    Can people please stop calling the area a wildlife centre, greenbelt, wetlands centre and any other similar term. The area is industrial and has been an area to deposit rubbish since the 1800’s if not before

    • Tough.

      Beddington Farmlands is designated in the Local Plan and by the Mayor of London as Metropolitan Open Land, which has equivalent status in the planning system as untouchable Green Belt. Sutton, and the then Mayor, promised a decade ago to conduct restoration and improvement works on the ponds and wetlands and landfill areas to deliver one of the biggest country parks in London.

      Clearly they, and you, need to be reminded of that more frequently.

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