Consultation opens on waste facility
A facility designed to burn 275,000 tonnes of waste a year is NOT an incinerator claim councillors who promised to oppose one in or near the borough.
Viridor revealed plans for facility in Beddington Lane, Sutton, on Monday as part of the beginning of public consultation.
The incinerator planned for the border of the borough is expected to have a 100 metre high chimney.
A full planning application is due in June, alongside an environmental impact assessment.
Waddon conservative councillors Coun Tony Harris, Simon Hoar and Clare George-Hilley have each stated they are in favour of Viridor’s plans after the company opened public consultation on the £200m facility, on Beddington Lane, Sutton.
Pre-election literature distributed by Croydon Conservatives in 2009 stated: "We have made it absolutely clear that Croydon Conservatives do not support incineration at all and will absolutely not have an incinerator in our borough or support one close to our borders.
They followed this up with the statement: "Croydon Conservatives believe that incineration will never be a sensible option in this densely populated part of the country and have already made it very clear that we will not introduce an incinerator (or an incinerator by another name) anywhere in the borough whilst we are in control."
On the Croydon Conservative website Waddon councillors pledge to: "Oppose any incinerator being built in Croydon or on the border of Sutton."
The new facility will burn not only waste from Croydon, Sutton, Kingston and Merton but also at least 60,000 tonnes of business waste a year.
Viridor claimed the incinerator, which will emit gas consisting of flue gases including traces of nitrogen, CO2 and water vapour, is more environmentally friendly than landfill in terms of emissions, as well as alternative forms of dealing with waste.
Grace Onions, who has stood as a candidate for the Green Party in Waddon ward in the local elections in 2010 said: "It appears that our councillors have been less than honest with us. Their pledge to oppose any incinerator appears to have been nothing more than a ploy to get votes in the local elections of 2010. It’s disgraceful."
Victor Perez-Mares, a spokesman for Viridor, said: "All of the credible scientific evidence shows that modern, well managed Energy Recovery Facilities are safe.
"A Health Protection Agency review of the evidence in 2010 confirmed this.
"If planning permission is granted the Energy Recovery Facility proposed for Beddington would use the latest technology to thoroughly clean any emissions before they leave the facility.
"The proposed facility would also have to operate under an Environmental Permit issued and regulated by the Environment Agency - the government body charged with ensuring that local air quality is not compromised.
He added the company expect the incinerator to increase traffic to the site by up to 10 per cent when the incinerator is first built.
But it expected traffic to the site to reduce, as the landfill site is converted back into park land.
A public exhibition will be held at Croydon Central Library, Katharine Street on Monday March 26 between 3pm and 7pm.
We asked councillors representing Waddon - Is this an incinerator?
Coun Clare George-Hilley said she has a clear conscience about her election pledge.
She said: "I don’t feel I have let anyone down. This is not an incinerator this is an energy recovery plant and it is not being built in Croydon. It depends on what you call close - it is actually closer to Broad Green. You have to remember the Labour group was saying there would be an incinerator on Factory Lane, then saying there would be two, they were scare-mongering."
Coun Tony Harris, who has lived in Waddon for 34 years, said: "I hate to use the word incinerator. Unfortunately a lot of people see the word incinerator and think of a 60’s incinerator. The technology has moved on from then. It is a heat and energy plant. Let’s face it we have got all these coal and oil and gas powered stations which do exactly the same thing and I’m sure create more pollution."
Coun Simon Hoar, who is also cabinet member for community safety, admitted technically the plant incinerates waste but he believes the process is safe He said: "Strictly speaking yes it does burn waste but the energy recovery facility (ERF) is really nothing like the old style incinerators. I think it is disingenuous to lump the two together. Personally I will be supporting the ERF. I think it is the right option, the end result is non toxic gas it is stuff you breathe every day, I don’t see personally the downside, it is less polluting than landfill and saves money."
Gordon Ross, is the Green Party GLA candidate for Sutton and Croydon He said: “In the eyes of EU regulations it is an incinerator. A plant creating energy from waste by burning is classed as an incinerator.
"When they go to planning it has to be approved by the health protection agency and the license it will need to obtain is one to operate an incinerator. Viridor and the South West London Waste Partnership may want to use these fancy word like energy recovery to placate the public but you can’t hide what it is – an incinerator.”