Dombey’s dodgy LibDems’ handbrake turn over dirty diesel

Burned: protestors, including independent councillor Nick Mattey, voicing their objections to the LibDem-backed Viridor expansion plan at this week’s Sutton planning committee

Viridor and Ruth Dombey’s dodgy Liberal Democrats are so worried about the latest attempts to increase the volume of rubbish burned at the Beddington Lane incinerator, and the use of vast amounts of dirty diesel to do so, that they pulled an application for a new storage tank that was due to be considered at a planning committee this week.

And Helen Bailey, the council’s chief executive, even sent LibDem councillors scurrying around to a back entrance to avoid a raucous anti-incinerator demo outside the Civic Offices in Sutton.

In rapid time since the local elections last month, the LibDems have managed to forge together an unlikely alliance of Labour, independent and Tory councillors, all opposed to Viridor’s latest toxic polluting proposal and all angry at the way Dombey and Bailey have stitched up the composition of the council’s various committees.

Time for a change: one protestor with a message for Sutton’s pliant LibDems

As reported by Inside Sutton a week ago, the objections to Viridor’s planning application to allow them to double the diesel storage on the site of the Beddington incinerator included one councillor’s claims that the fuel is to be used as part of even more increased waste burning, and to allow Viridor to boost its business with lucrative deals to burn medical waste, including human body parts, and radioactive materials at their plant.

Viridor operates the incinerator on the Sutton-Croydon borough boundary on behalf of SLWP, the South London Waste Partnership, the unaccountable local authority quango formed by Kingston, Merton, Sutton and Croydon councils.

SLWP has a 25-year contract with the American-owned business already worth £1billion.

New presence: Labour councillors Dave Tchil (left) and Sheldon Vestey (centre) have radicalised the opposition to the incinerator

Now Viridor is looking to improve its corporate profits at the expense of even worse air quality across south London.

Viridor already has an application to vary its licence, increasing its burning capacity at Beddington by 10per cent to 382,000 tonnes per year, lodged with the Environment Agency. It is Viridor’s second application to increase capacity at Beddington Lane in two years, having previously been granted permission for a 15per cent capacity increase in December 2020.

It was soon after Inside Sutton’s report was published that Viridor and the incinerator-friendly LibDems at Sutton Council did a handbrake turn and pulled the planning application from this month’s meeting.

“Even though they’ve rigged the composition of the planning committee, excluding any Labour councillors from sitting on this important committee, the LibDems are clearly worried that they won’t be able to deliver to Viridor the approval for the diesel tank that they are demanding,” one Sutton source said.

“They decided that they need more time to try to cook the books over the application just a bit more.

“Either that, or they took fright of the notion of Nick Mattey reading from his 20 pages of objections to the application,” said the source, referring to the independent councillor for Beddington ward who has been campaigning against the incinerator and the damage it is causing his and neighbouring communities for a decade.

Democracy up in smoke: the LibDems have stitched up Sutton’s council committees

Sutton now also has its first Labour councillors in 20 years, and after their demonstration outside the Civic Offices on Wednesday, they issued a statement which read, “Viridor is set to burn more waste at the expense of residents, while Labour and independent councillors are being prevented from having their voices heard on committees.

“Residents have expressed their concerns over the Beddington incinerator for years. Now, after going live, waste burning is already set to increase by 40per cent in a few short years as emissions breaches run rampant, the most recent of which resulted in acidic hydrogen chloride being expelled into the air we breathe.

“At the recent election, residents voted for change, yet now residents’ voices mean less.

“This planning application is another step towards more burning and more pollution from Viridor, while not a single benefit has been delivered. The Beddington Farmlands regeneration is languishing and no pipeline has ever been built for the supposed ‘green energy’ district heating network SDEN that was in part used to justify the incinerator.”

Sutton Council has yet to provide a date for when the Viridor diesel storage tank planning application will come before the committee.

Read more: Cancer warning over radioactive waste plans for incinerator
Read more: ‘Nuclear’ Newman goes radio ga-ga over radioactive deal
Read more: Viridor incinerator given 20 warnings in just 15 months
Read more: Viridor breaking rules over incinerator’s pollution reports

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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
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2 Responses to Dombey’s dodgy LibDems’ handbrake turn over dirty diesel

  1. Lewis White says:

    Question 1- What happens to the radiocative dust that remains after the radiocative waste is incinerated. Where does it end up? Landfilled in one of the few remaining deep holes in Surrey or Kent or Bedfordshire, such as worked-out brickworks’ clay pits?

    (Or is there a high-pressure nozzle atop the incinerator spraying the dust into the atmosphere on windy, moonless nights when no-one can see it?. If anyone complained, it could get blamed on the skip lorries in Beddington Lane).

    Q 2: How many tonnes of rubbish are sent each year to the incinerator by the 4 member boroughs, individually and in total, and what is this total figue as a percentage of the total weight of stuff burned by the incinerator in 12 months?

    Q3-: Burning body parts needs to be done somewhere, but where exactly is appropriate?

    Such questions a thoughtful teenager might say “as far as possible from where people live”.

    Can anyone enlighten us please ?

  2. Jim Duffy says:

    If radioactive waste was to be burnt at the incinerator, the particles would fly downwind and settle in whoever’s lungs were unlucky enough to be on the receiving end.

    Studies have found excess cancers downwind of nuclear power stations which also give off radioactive emissions.

    And this was part of the reason Germany has abandoned nuclear power.

    They found a doubling of childhood leukaemia near all their reactors in their government KiKK study.

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