Category Archives: All you need to know about the South London Incinerator

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)


New challenge for Sutton Council

Once again, thank you everyone for all your donations and contributions. Along with a payment of £5000 from the court order, relating to the judicial review, a letter was sent to the authorities. The key points of the letter are covered in this news article on Inside Croydon.

dirty water dirty air no web site


Dear Mr Fellows,

Further to our conversation of Tuesday, 24th November, I have successfully raised £1770 as a result of your demand. Additionally, I have been approached by an individual who has loaned me an amount sufficient to make up the shortfall in my funds to allow me to pay the £5,000 court costs now due to Sutton Council. I am prepared to make this payment, without prejudice, should any future legal challenge prove that the council, councillors or council officers acted illegally in the award of the waste contract to Viridor Limited and subsequently in the planning application approval.

In particular, but not exclusively, I refer to the non-disclosure of the £275,000 donation from Viridor Credits to Holy Trinity Church, Wallington and the coercion of Councillor Stephen Fenwick in the days before the second hearing of the planning application. If any actions by the council, councillors or council officers or information withheld before the hearings would have affected the outcome of the Judicial Review or the Court of Appeal hearing I reserve the right to reclaim your £5,000 costs plus my own costs

I ask that this £5000 that I transfer to you be used by the Beddington Village Residents Association in concurrence with Sutton council to undertake independent air monitoring once the 300,000 tonnes Viridor waste incinerator is operational. In commenting to the press regarding the demand for £5000, I note that Sutton council said that it “upholds the importance of public scrutiny.” I hope this level of scrutiny is made available to residents in Beddington, Carshalton, Wallington, Hackbridge and the wider area.

I am not prepared to pay the interest charge demanded. When I entered into the legal process it was made absolutely clear to me that there was a cap of £5,000 that could be awarded against me for costs. Not £5,000 plus interest. It is not my fault that Sutton Council have chosen to delay requesting the costs for 12 months, undoubtedly in the knowledge that the sum due was earning interest at a rate much higher than could be achieved elsewhere in the market. I reserve the right to contest the demand for interest in the courts if the council insist on this payment. From my point of view I was under the impression that I was liable for the capped £5000 only after April 28th 2015 when the attempt to send the decision to the Court of Appeal was refused by Justice Sales. From that point on, no solicitor has been under instruction. It was my expectation that I would receive a letter from Sutton requesting the payment of £5000 advising who precisely to pay, although I was also advised at the time that potentially Sutton would not request the £5000 costs.

To accentuate the point I make above, following a conversation with you now, you have advised me that I have to pay London Borough of Merton, which I never would have predicted.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan


Sutton Council have rejected the suggestion. See here


How many life years will be lost?

Mr Nicol, the ‘A’ level Physics teacher within our campaign, has sent us the following:

I have read the Health Impact Assessment again and urge others to read it.

It assumes the filters will work all the time, every time. The reality is when the filters fail and breach safety levels, the contract allows 4 hours of continuous dangerous emissions.

A sentence from page 53 reads:

The calculation of loss of life years through exposure of additional concentrations of PM2.5 from the ERF [incinerator] is approximately 2 hours for each person in the population considered 2,655,000, assuming that the distribution was an even one.

We are often accused of hysterical over claims that people will die as a result of the incinerator; however, the Health Impact Assessment states that there will be a modest impact of an average of 2 hours of life curtailed, when spread over 2.7 million people.  However, this represents almost 700 life years lost, and it is unlikely that this will be spread evenly over a quarter of London – the question to put to the public, is who are going to be the unlucky ones who take more than their fair share of the ‘life years lost’ ?

By Shasha Khan