All posts by Paul Pickering

Burners to be fired up imminently.

chimney smoke

Those of us involved in the campaign are used to one thing being said and another being done. The latest example is the actual commissioning process for the incinerator. Originally set for 2018, it seems the burners will be fired up in the tail end of 2017.  An image of what the incinerator looks like is here (apologies we’ve used up all our space and new images cannot be uploaded).

Local news and reaction covering how this news came to light can be found here and here.

Viridor have sent newsletters out to local residents and have been tweeting from the Viridor ERF SLondon account. They advise that during the coming weeks components at the site will be tested and this may result in “audible noises” and “visible steam venting from the chimneys.” This is all necessary to ensure the incinerator is within the “strict emission limits.”

The commissioning stage of an incinerator, before it is fully operational, is broken up into ‘cold’ commissioning and ‘hot’ commissioning. The more dangerous period is the latter, when feedstock is sent for incineration for the first time. With all that combustible material near a burner, the risk of fire is greater.

I understand from UKWIN that incinerator operators may have greater latitude in terms of environmental parameters when testing an incinerator. This is worrying in terms of air quality. “


Demonstration planned outside Sutton Civic Centre

4th Anniversary of that fateful moment… Shasha Khan

When all is said and done, the construction of the incinerator and its imminent operation could have been prevented if THREE of  the FIVE Lib Dem councillors on the Planning Committee voted against the incinerator. Read more about what happened here.

It’s four years since that fateful moment.  To mark the anniversary we will be demonstrating outside the Sutton Civic Centre at 6:45pm on the same evening the Planning Committee meet.


Address: Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA

The meeting is listed on the Council web site here:






Object to underground pipes for the incinerator

Hackbridge & Beddington Corner Neighbourhood Development group have had a meeting with Sutton council about the SDEN* planning application to start building part of the pipe line that could be connected to the incinerator. Sutton council give the incinerator the misnomer ‘Beddington Energy Recycling Facility (ERF)’. The consultation period has been extended to 15th February 2017, so there’s still time to comment.

The link to to make or comment or object is here:

Application to Install underground heating pipes 

Lewisham council did a report and found that in residential properties there are problems of overheating, as heating is not constantly required from decentralised energy networks from incinerators. The heat is expensive. The carbon saving figures are not accurate. Halting the awful incinerator would help us reduce carbon. We have too many incinerators already and there is not enough materials to feed them. Also the building developer does not have to build energy efficient properties if there’s an incinerator heat network. Further making a demand for expensive inefficient energy. Also the energy network lasts twice as long as incinerators and would give the council an excuse to keep the incinerator going for longer. Old power stations from decades ago are far more efficient in producing energy than incinerators. The stack of the Beddington incinerator is already to be twice the size of St Paul’s Cathedral. Policy needs to change to kick incinerators out of the energy mix, by these companies who’ve lobbied parliament to drain more money from the public purse for their own gain at the expense of the every day person and the environment. Burning our rubbish costs at least 5 times more than landfill.

Here’s Lewisham council’s report.

* SDEN – Sutton Decentralised Energy Network

Thanks to Maeve Tomlinson for the above details.


Campaigners to demonstrate outside incinerator

michael ryan harlescott incinerator


Press Release immediate.

Campaigners are calling for a peaceful demonstration today (Wednesday 29th June) at 7pm on Beddington Lane, outside the site of the South London incinerator (1). The demonstration is designed to send a message to Viridor shareholders who meet two days later on Friday 1st July in Exeter for their AGM (2). It is also an opportunity to raise the issue with UK law makers and the newly appointed Mayor of London.

Whistleblowing Sutton Councillor, Nick Mattey, who was expelled by the ruling Liberal Democrats, said,

The EU is a 100% backer of incineration and encourages its use throughout countries many of which do not have strong environmental controls. Its bank, the European Investment Bank, has recently supported Viridor with a huge £110 million package for its Cardiff incinerator. (3) Burning one tonne of waste instead of recycling, produces around one tonne of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. If we are serious about halting global warming and improving air quality then we need to stop incinerating. The EU has very low efficiency standards for evaluating incinerators. This allows waste companies and councils like Sutton to call these plants ‘Energy Recovery Facilities’ instead of waste incinerators . Following the Brexit vote we have an opportunity to insist on much higher standards which will halt the expansion of the incinerator industry . Brexit will hit the profits of incinerator operators hard and force councils to recycle instead .

The protest on Wednesday is going to be an important opportunity to let the community know about the dangers of incineration and to hold Sutton Council to account for allowing Viridor to build this plant.”

Campaigner Shasha Khan, who challenged Sutton Council in the High Court said,

There exists a misconception that energy from waste plants are soft, cuddly and green in comparison to the old style mass burn incinerators. It is possible that ethical investors are being duped in this way. We want to send a message to Pennon Group shareholders that all is not what it seems. Holding shares in Viridor’s parent company Pennon is no different to holding shares in tobacco companies. Additionally, Viridor have defaulted on their environmental responsibilities at the site resulting in wildlife being destroyed.(4)”

“The new London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, must be made aware of these details too, and today’s demo will do this.”

Construction at the Viridor site is evident and the incinerator is taking shape. I hope many will join us for the demonstration.”



1) Gathering for a photo call on the public footpaths near the Viridor Incinerator entrance opposite 154 Beddington Lane, CR9 4QD

2) Pennon Group Plc twenty-seventh Annual General Meeting 11am on Friday 1st July, with these
shareholders investing in Viridor meeting at Sandy Park Conference Centre, Sandy Park Way, Exeter, Devon EX2 7NN


4)  and








Do you live within the incinerator plume?

Plume Plotter got in touch a short while ago to share a plume animation which is based on actual historical weather conditions.

Similar work in Plymouth by Plume Plotter has hit the headlines over in Devon. Emissions for Plymouth’s “giant incinerator” are the highest ever recorded for a UK residential area.

See link here: Plymouth Herald

Worryingly, the “giant incinerator” in Plymouth is actually smaller in capacity – by 57,000 tonnes – than the South London incinerator, set to be operational in 2017.

The South London incinerator animation is below:

Plume Plotter’s work is similar to a graphic created by Smogbad in 2008/9. His wind rose can be viewed here: Wind Rose

Meanwhile Cardiff council has published a submission by Cardiff Against The Incinerator (CATI). Cardiff’s Labour controlled council granted permission to Viridor for the Splott incinerator a few years back.  Despite being on a coastal location with higher wind speeds, residents have been experiencing visual, odour and  dust pollution.

The submission can be viewed here: 


Wave after wave of negative publicity for the authorities and Viridor.


Over the last few weeks there have been a number of articles on the South London incinerator. Here are some of them:

Viridor spy on Mayoral candidate (Inside Croydon)

Viridor accused of wiping out birdlife at incinerator site. (Private Eye)

Sutton Council refusing to pay for independent air quality monitoring (Sutton Guardian)

Cllr Nick Mattey expelled from Liberal Democrats for opposing the incinerator (Private Eye)

How Croydon Council has set a course to maximise incineration (Inside Croydon)

No one wants to buy the waste heat from the incinerator (Sutton Guardian)

Cllr Nick Mattey’s appeal against the expulsion (Croydon Advertiser).

Cllr Thomas says  re incinerator,  “Wind doesn’t blow over Croydon”Cllr Thomas says  re incinerator,  “Wind doesn’t blow over Croydon” (Inside Croydon)

Local MP Tom Brake’s personal ties with Viridor (Guido Fawkes)