Sutton’s Lib Dem Council support up in smoke over controversial incinerator plans

Controversial plans to build an incinerator in Beddington were attacked by cross party parliamentary candidates at a Carshalton hustings this week.

Speaking after the debate in Stanley Park High School, politicians took aim at the Lib Dem Sutton Council for its relationship with Viridor, the company hoping to build the waste facility.

A £275,000 donation from Viridor to The Holy Trinity Church in Wallington – which has been used as a venue for Liberal Democrat surgeries and party action days – was a particular source of concern.

Conservative candidate, Matthew Maxwell Scott, said: “I think there are questions to ask about how they managed to get such a large amount of funding into a church that has such strong links with the local Liberal Democrats.”

He went on to criticise the handling of Councillor Nick Mattey, who was suspended from the Liberal Democrats after openly opposing the council’s support for the incinerator.

Mr Scott said: “It is an unfolding scandal. What we are beginning to learn is the extent to which the Liberal Democrat council prevented the truth coming out, to which it coerced some of its own members into voting the ways they wanted to.”

Green candidate Ross Hemingway argued that the council has ignored resident’s concerns about the incinerator, and claimed the project will result in 600 more lorries travelling through the area and adding to pollution.

He said: “The council talks about being green, but yet what is green about this waste burning incinerator on the borders of Sutton and Croydon?”

Liberal Democrat candidate Tom Brake defended the council’s plans and its dealings with Viridor.

When asked about Viridor’s donation to The Holy Trinity Church he said: “As I understand it, the church that is referred to has apparently also hosted Labour and Conservative party events, so does that make it a political hotbed for the other parties as well?

“If people are going to make allegations I think they need to come forward with some evidence.”

Mr Brake argued Environment Agency regulations will ensure emissions would be kept within national and European limits.

He claimed his political opponents offer no viable alternative to the council’s plan, given that a ban on landfills will be imposed by the EU from 2025.

The Lib Dem candidate, seeking reelection as MP for Carshalton and Wallington, said: “What I would ask them is what is the alternative?”

“If they’re saying well let’s take it to another energy recovery facility somewhere else in the country are they saying just chuck it somewhere else?

“And if they are then the environmental impact of that would be greater than the environmental impact of disposing of it at the Beddington site.”

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