Viridor’s charge sheet: incinerator operator’s eco-vandalism

This is the damning litany of charges now facing Valencia, the shell company established by Viridor to take the rap for more than a decade of failures to deliver on the relatively modest terms agreed in return for their original planning permission for the controversial, and polluting, waste incinerator at Beddington.

The incinerator deal for Viridor was worth £1billion over 25 years with the South London Waste Partnership, formed of four councils – Croydon, Sutton, Kingston and Merton – keen to get a cheap way of getting rid of their rubbish. Probably too keen….

Since sealing the deal, Viridor has conducted nothing less than calculated eco-vandalism to what was supposed to be nurtured as a nature reserve for the people of Sutton, and south London.

The multi-billion multi-national has acted with unconcealed contempt for the residents whose air they pollute on a daily basis, for their planning agreement and for the previously pliant local council.

The “charge street” is contained within Appendix A to the official Sutton Council agenda papers presented to the housing, economy and business committee meeting held earlier this month.

The following are widespread planning and resourcing failures (by both Viridor and Valencia Waste Management)

  1. The systematic failure, over many years, to adequately resource the site, including the provision of enough staff on site that knew how to create and manage the agreed habitats, in the correct way and at the correct time, to the supply and maintenance of the necessary machinery by which to implement the necessary habitat creation and management
  2. The systematic failure to provide the Council, despite repeated requests by officers and elected members, detailed and costed timelines, season by season and year by year, how the RMP will be delivered, following the completion of each landfill cell.
  3. The systematic failure to have any contingency plans in place, should weather or other force majeure impacts affect timely restoration, which links to the lack of proper planning to deliver the restoration.
  4. The systematic failure to record or provide dependencies to the Council or stakeholders on how works may only proceed in a sequential fashion, if necessary
  5. Stark realities: what south London gets from Viridor’s incinerator

    The systematic failure to create management plans for each habitat, going beyond the broad brush approach of the RMP, to ensure nuanced and appropriate management took place. These have been drafted by the Council to try to aid the works being undertaken, with little to no input from the owners

  6. The systematic failure to record works across each habitat, and evaluate the success and failure of those works
  7. The systematic failure to fully consider the Council’s planning policies when applying for minor variations to the RMP, such as the installation of hides in different locations, the movement of paths, fencing etc, leading to avoidable delays in submitting planning applications.

1.2 The above has led to:

8. The failure to secure the importation of appropriate soils and INERT material toterrace the southern areas of the site for meadow grasslands as specified in the CMS/RMP, the landscape has been left unsculpted, barren and unmanaged allowing pernicious undesirable weed species to proliferate to the detriment of the intended and surrounding habitats

9. The complete failure to either prepare, treat or even purchase the required seedsnecessary to implement the agreed Acid Grassland High-level habitat or even a‘nursery sward’ which could and would allow for either the agreed Acid Grassland orany number of possible alternatives should they be agreed (by formal decision) of theLPA

10. The lack of any evidence-based calculations that suggested the creation of an acid grassland, whilst acknowledged as difficult to create and maintain, would beimpossible and that a bespoke permit from the Environment Agency would not beforthcoming

11. Neutral grassland habitats have remained incomplete and generally undermanaged,or entirely unmanaged with no records shared for any management works, including cutting, clearing, herbicide treatments etc. or even effective seeding of specific areaswith the variety and types specified in order to carry out the restoration works

12. Wet grassland habitats have continually been allowed to miss the seasonal advantageous stages for landform creation and have not been completed asspecified or managed to resemble the habitats proposed. This includes the provision of effective water control mechanisms (weirs & gauging boards) to allow water to be controlled & monitored within each hydrological unit, with these being installed atincorrect heights (Phase 3) or not being installed at the right time (Phase 1), suffering long delays between any habitat creation and weir installation

14. The lack of long-term and appropriate efforts to establish a reedbed in the southern lake

15. The lack of long-term and appropriate management of the lakes and islands, toprovide suitable habitat for key wading bird species

16. The lack of the necessary infrastructure, including the requisite number of birdhides, the burying of all surface-laid pipework for gas wells and leachate tanks, thelack of suitable fencing to allow grazing and long delays in the completion ofanti-predator fencing

17. The lack of suitable care for whips planted along the SDEN route, allowing significantnumbers to die, then be replanted, for those to die again, requiring further replanting

18. No evidence of a positive response to the issues raised in the Annual Reports (MKAEcology) and the formulation of plans to rectify these issues

Read more: Drage-Net: Complaint filed to police over incinerator lobbying
Read more: Report: Incinerator is ‘as polluting as coal-fired power stations’
Read more: Viridor incinerator breaks its toxic VOC permit for 40th time
Read more: Client councils are failing to hold polluting Viridor in check

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2 Responses to Viridor’s charge sheet: incinerator operator’s eco-vandalism

  1. Lewis White says:

    Wow, That list is staggering.

    Viridor must have a complete contempt for the widlife , the habitat, the Council staff, and all the people who have been trying to hold Viridor to do just one thing– implement what was agreed, as set out in the specification as being required.

  2. Ian Kierans says:

    Contract these two simple facts.
    1.Viridor are a commercial company given a contract. They are not ministers of religion and faith. They have a duty to their shareholders to obtain profit for said shareholders benefit. They also will take decisions on cost benefit analysis. what is the cheapest way to do a task. How much is a fine and % of incidents to getting caught and how much is the alternative to the fine? So I park 40 times illegally saving £400 in fees and get caught twice endering £30 in fines. (but in bigger sums
    2. Sutton (and Croydon) are a Municipal body and local statutory enforcement body with wide ranging powers resources and the ability to investigate. They also issue contracts to Commercial companies and can include penalties for non delivery (said Company can refuse) They have a duty of care to that which they are administrators of and to people within their boundaries.

    So who gave the contract, who contract managed it, who let it run and run and still continues to do so and who does not enforce, does not penalise and does not protect the people and environemnt within their boundaies?

    If we are the Chickens, Sutton Council is the Farmer and Viridor is the Wolf, – Why did the Framer lt the wolf kill it’s own chickens.

    Once again I am minded of Dickins and a Christmas Carol. Certain CEOs of Certain Councils seem to take the view of those vulerable and dying as did ol Ebeneezer on poverty and helplessness – ”if they would rather die they had better do it and decrease the surplus population”

    but frankly one has to ask in modern times – Where is the rule of Law. Seems that the Johnson disease of laws do not apply to lawmakers has spread to Municpial Authorities faster than Covid!

    Think that harsh on Councils? Not as much as does dying slowly from the impacts of that shit!

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