All posts by Paul Pickering

House of Commons told of emissions breaches

The new Conservative MP for Carshalton and Wallington has told an H of C committee about the terrible problems the incinerator is experiencing.

See here:

Is this the reason Pennon Group want to get shot off Viridor – the company that operates this and other failing sites?  Bids of $4billion are welcome. Note how Pennon’s share price went up 8 per cent when news of the sale came out.—reports-910446.html

8. incinerator almost as big

by Shasha Khan


Councils can pull out of contract because of delay

Campaigners understand an unredacted copy of the incinerator contract has been leaked.  Those that have seen it note that there is an exit clause if the incinerator is not operational by August 2018.

Local councillors that have inquired about why the incinerator is not up and running believe the reason is that one of the construction companies contracted to build it have gone out of business.


Viridor reveal cause of fire

taking on viridor


The @TalkERF_SLondon twitter account controlled by Viridor was in overdrive yesterday to alleviate concerns from anxious residents who could see great plumes of dirty smoke from many points across Sutton, Croydon and Crystal Palace.

Many immediately thought the incinerator was ablaze until Viridor tweeted that a, “small fire was reported at its Beddington Lane transfer station” approximately 100 minutes after London Fire Brigade was called to the site.

The waste transfer station is “co-located” to the incinerator site. The incinerator is not operational and still in testing mode.

In another tweet Viridor stated the, “most likely” cause of the fire was “lithium batteries. ”

Coverage on what happened here:


Croydon Councillor says incinerator fully operational in December 2018

Contrary to Nick Mattey’s assertioon that October was the start date, former Chair of the South London Waste Partnership, Councillor Stuart Collins, tweeted this response to me:



Councillor Nick Mattey says burner fires up on October 18th 2018

In May 2018, Councillor Nick Mattey, a prominent voice against the incinerator, was re-elected in the seat of Beddington North as an Independent. Additionally, two other anti-incinerator campaigners, Jillian Green and Tim Foster, also standing as Independents, also won through.

Recently Councillor Mattey has found out that the burner has completed its commissioning phase and will go live on October 18th.

Just this month there have been clashes over the incinerator at Sutton Council


Local residents contact the Environmental Agency

Posted by Natasha Heather on Facebook

Just received a call back from Environment agency. On the day of the smell, the incinerator was burning, and had an alkaline wash through which can produce that awful smell.
They want people to know that they are regulating the site and they need more people to phone them when there are issues like this so that they can make sure the site is performing within its designated limits.
They are now going to look into the issue and data from the site and pollution sensors in the area to get an indication of what went wrong. Spoke to a lovely lady who was very much on the side of residents.

For those asking
Environment incident hotline

Telephone (24 hour service)
0800 80 70 60

Date 9th January 2018

Another resident posted on Facebook:

Hackbridge stunk this morning of burning/burnt diesel this morning.
I noticed it between 7:50am and 8:30am.


Burn begins on 5th January 2018

At least to one campaigner, this moment, right now, feels a bit like the moment Neville Chamberlain had to accept that attempts to stop Hitler invading Poland had failed. Of course the two are incomparable but it is a sad moment when the unthinkable, then becomes inevitable and then a sobering reality. Apologies if the war analogy is too strong but imagine putting 10 years of your life into stopping something catastrophic in the eyes of many.

Fellow campaigner Peter Alfrey noticed the burners were fired up on the 5th of January.

He posted this on the Stop The Incinerator Facebook page. A further picture was posted on the 6th. I’ve now uploaded it here:

More in Viridor’s failings on Peter’s blog:

IMPORTANT REMINDER: During this commissioning phase, please keep a diary of noise, visibility affecting steam and odours. THIS INCINERATOR IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE NUISANCE.

Shasha Khan

PS Once again. no offence was meant to be caused by the analogy.


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. “