Viridor turns polluting Beddington incinerator into a sick joke

Incinerator operators Viridor have failed to instal any metal detectors to locate large batteries and other devices which are believed to have caused explosions inside the furnace at the Beddington Lane plant, leading to many of the 40 polluting breaches of their permit in 43 months.

Smoke machine: Viridor’s polluting incinerator at Beddington

That’s according to some of the detailed objections lodged with the Environment Agency over the incinerator operators’ latest request to burn even more rubbish in a heavily populated area of south London.

If approved, it will be the third increase in their permit since the polluting incinerator’s furnaces were first fired up – a total increase of 39per cent from the 275,000 tonnes per year originally proposed.

But rather than instal magnet detector equipment to sort through the mountains of rubbish that Viridor burns, the multi-billion multi-national business has instead spent a few quid on creating a cartoon canister for a public information campaign, in the hope that the south London public will do their rubbish sorting for them.

In a form of sick joke, Viridor have called their cartoon character Noxie – presumably because of the noxious fumes that they frequently emit through the twin chimneys at Beddington.

The incinerator is operated for the South London Waste Partnership – the boroughs of Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston. South London’s councils, MPs and the public have until December 23 to lodge their objections to Viridor’s permit variation request.

The Hackbridge and Beddington Corner Neighbourhood Development Group is made up of volunteers who drafted a Neighbourhood Plan, including planning objectives, policies and improvements for the local area which was formally adopted by Sutton Council in November 2018. Four years on, large chunks of that Neighbourhood Plan, particularly the parts referring to the incinerator and the neighbouring Beddington Farmlands area, have gone ignored and unimplemented by Viridor and unenforced by Sutton.

Killing joke: Sutton Utd’s mascot is having a giraffe, as he does the incinerator polluters’ promotional work for them

In their submission to the Environment Agency, HBCNDG raises a number of key points about the lack of evidence in Viridor’s case for increasing the volume of rubbish that they are permitted to burn – and which will bring in millions of pounds of additional revenue from local councils outside the SLWP area.

HBCNDG writes that one of the objectives of their Neighbourhood Plan “is to ensure the air quality and the impact of this on the health of residents is improved”.

Extraordinarily, there has been no EA-imposed long-term air quality monitoring conducted in the immediate area for the period before the incinerator was commissioned, nor since.

“Air quality monitoring in an area of high air pollution will allow the council and residents to make informed decisions to reduce air pollution,” HBCNDG’s objection to the EA states. The incinerator, they say, “is the single biggest source of air pollution in the borough”.

The Neighbourhood Development Group notes that they “endeavoured to have air quality monitoring put in place before the ERF was commissioned”, to monitor not only the impact of the burning rubbish, but also the hundreds of extra HGV journeys on local roads every day, from the trucks delivering waste for burning at the incinerator, or taking away the resultant ash.

“The whole of the London Borough of Sutton is included as an air quality management area. However, the council’s air quality action plan 2019 is not clear about how Hackbridge is monitored and action on any mitigation taken as it does not include the [incinerator] in its air quality action plan.

“We believe that the impact of burning 35,000 tonnes more waste has not been considered, monitored or benchmarked… The EA should refuse the application as intensifying industry without any form of monitoring being mandated or a method to explicitly prove emissions are not adding to pollutants within the vicinity.”

Read more: Viridor incinerator breaks its toxic VOC permit for 40th time
Read more: Client councils are failing to hold polluting Viridor in check
Read more: Councillor says big-money deals for medical and radioactive waste are at centre of Viridor’s diesel tank planning application


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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 inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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3 Responses to Viridor turns polluting Beddington incinerator into a sick joke

  1. Stephen Fisher says:

    So they get paid twice (council tax and when they resell recyclable) for the public doing most of their actual work then have the gall to not even bother with correct equipment. They also blame the public for ineptitude in sorting. How did they get this contract?

  2. What’s weird about this is that metal detectors should save money on repairs after fires Viridor don’t want. And, surely their insurance would make sensors mandatory?

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