Hundreds Object to Beddington Incinerator Plans

Consultation on controversial scheme about to close

The Beddington Incinerator
The Beddington Incinerator. Picture: Viridor

December 21, 2022

Hundreds of South London residents have objected to plans for thousands more tonnes of rubbish to be burnt at an incinerator. They fear pollution could increase and it would see more lorries driving through their neighbourhoods.

The Beddington Incinerator has applied to the Environment Agency to burn 34,864 more tonnes of waste. Viridor, which runs the site, wants to increase capacity to 382,286 tonnes a year.

Public consultation on the plans is set to close on Friday (23 December). So far more than 320 people have responded to the consultation, with many mentioning fears about air quality and extra lorries carrying rubbish to be processed.

One Merton homeowner wrote, “As someone who is pregnant, I want to ensure that I am protecting my children from unnecessary toxic air pollution by burning more waste and increasing traffic.”

Another claims that their asthma has worsened since living in Hackbridge. They said, “I think it is appalling this is happening in such a busy area with multiple schools. It is bad enough without them burning more. My asthma has significantly increased since moving to Hackbridge.”

The incinerator, also called the Energy Recovery Facility (ERF), burns rubbish which would otherwise go to landfill. The process produces energy which powers the facility and supplies the rest to the National Grid.

It processes the rubbish of Merton, Kingston, Croydon and Sutton, which make up the South London Waste Partnership. The partnership has objected to the plans saying that when the incinerator was approved there was no mention of the permit increasing in the future.

It said, “Residents of the SLWP region, and Beddington and surrounding areas in particular, are now asking why they should bear the brunt of more waste being trucked in from across London and further afield when the residual waste treatment needs of their boroughs are already being met.”

It adds that it fears the additional waste could mean more breaches to the emissions as this year it has breached its current emissions permit a number of times.

A spokesperson for Viridor said, “We have applied to England’s environmental regulator, the Environment Agency, to make variations to our environmental permit to enable enhanced operations at the Beddington Energy Recovery Facility (ERF). This variation is being submitted following extensive reviews of the performance of the Beddington ERF which have concluded that it has ability to treat additional waste safely and in full compliance with the site permit.

“The emissions limits applied to the permit will remain unchanged under this variation. As a region, the South East and greater London area continues to see an increase in residual waste volumes with large quantities either being exported to European ERF’s or directed to UK landfill. If approved this variation will enable waste to move higher up the waste hierarchy by diverting it away from landfill, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and produce vital energy from what remains.”

The consultation can be found here.

Tara O'Connor - Local Democracy Reporter