Environmental groups protest against plans for rubbish incinerator in Sutton


The council will vote later this month on whether to build the facility.


By Bethan Marsh and Pete Thompson

Environmental groups are opposing plans for a rubbish incinerator to replace a 93-acre Sutton landfill site because of pollution risk.

Sutton County Council will vote on whether the energy recovery facility (ERF), set to burn household rubbish from Sutton, Merton, Kingston and Croydon, will be built in Beddington Lane at a meeting on April 24.

If the plans go ahead the facilities could burn up to 300,000 tons of rubbish every year for the next 30 years and Croydon Greenpeace coordinator Clive Farndon said this is a very worrying prospect.

“The constant line we get from politicians and large companies is that renewable energy is too expensive but this is blatantly not the case,” he said.

“Rubbish isn’t just paper, it’s unsorted rubbish, it’s all the things that are full of toxins and burning these toxins releases it into the air that we all breathe.

“It’s absolute madness and it’s not the way forward. The way forward is through renewable energy.”

A Greenpeace spokesperson said: “Whichever way you look at it, building more incinerators is a thoroughly bad idea.”

The ERF, proposed by waste management company Viridor under contract from the South London Waste Partnership, would create energy and heat for homes in the area.

So far, 191 votes have been cast on Viridor’s website and so far almost 76% agree that an energy recovery facility would be better to build than landfill at dealing with non-recyclable waste.

And Viridor plan to replace the current landfill site with a nature park and argue the facility will produce negligible emissions despite environmentalists’ concerns that incinerators release harmful dioxins.

In a letter to campaign group Stop the Incinerator, Viridor business development director Howard Ellard, said: “We take our responsibilities to both the environment and the local communities within which we operate extremely seriously.

“Energy Recovery Facilities are modern, safe and proven and the UK’s Health Protection Agency supports this view and recognizes that well run and regulated energy from waste facilities do not pose a significant risk to human health.”

Sutton County Council decline to comment on the proposal. The public are welcome to attend the meeting to be held at Sutton library at 8pm on Wednesday April 24.

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