Monthly Archives: June 2014

Less talk more action

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee met this week to discuss air pollution.

A long time supporter of our campaign, Dr Stan Prokop, submitted a report to the meeting about the effects of air pollution on children’s brains and cognitive powers.

His concerns were echoed at the meeting by top air pollution medic, Prof. Mudway, who also emphasized that exposure of infants to air pollution creates life-long health problems for many.

Research out this week shows air pollution may be more important in infant mortality than deprivation.air pollution kills more than deprivation

Incinerators do increase air pollution and this is shown to be a fact in a number of research papers. One study in Sweden used an x-ray spectroscopy to show the emissions from waste incinerators made up 30% of the particulate matter (PM) in the local percentages

This study shows the influence of the waste treatment industries on the PM10 concentration measured at the London Borough of Lewisham’s Air Quality Monitoring Site (AQMS) in Mercury Way.

During the 19 month study, between 15th February 2010 and 20th September 2011, the local waste management businesses were found to contribute 27% of the mean PM10 daily concentration measured at the AQMS in Lewisham.

The Department of Health’s own report on particulate air pollution confirms that “there is no evidence for a threshold below which effects would not be expected.”

All of which begs the question why won’t the government stop talking about it and actually do something about it?


Controversial Poster Withdrawn.

Written by Dave Pettener, member of Stop the Incinerator.

I recently put up a poster on line in response to the council’s latest recycling campaign entitled ‘KER-CHING’. You may have seen the posters around, if not you can see the poster below. It’s one of a series that proclaim how much money we are saving by recycling.


This is the same council who have also agreed to a plan for Viridor to burn our rubbish. The issue I have with their poster is a simple one: the rubbish will not be properly sorted before it goes in to the incinerator, therefore, rubbish that could be recycled, re-used or treated in less harmful ways will get burned.

And so I came up with a response that played on the wording of their posters. However, I was advised by our legal team that the poster I had made might be ‘problematic’ and I withdrew it.

Originally I had put that Viridor would be making £5 billion profit from burning our rubbish and this is not correct.

If Viridor’s incinerators in Cardiff, Runcorn and Sutton all go ahead they will have contracts worth nearly £6 billion from burning rubbish that could otherwise be treated in less harmful ways. (1)

I appreciate that the Kerching poster campaign is a local one and so I have changed my version to reflect this.  I hope you enjoy it!

kerching sti 990 million

Below are more posters I have done in response to previous recycling campaigns.  They show what will happen to our recycling if the incinerator is built.

metal recycle 1

plastic recycle 1

How do Viridor make their Millions?

Viridor tie councils in to long term fixed base load contracts which guarantee them a set amount of rubbish to burn for a set amount of time.  This means that regardless of how little rubbish we produce, we have to ensure there is enough of it for them to burn.  This can be achieved by burning recyclables or by importing more and more rubbish from outside the area.

Viridor will charge a certain amount per tonne of waste that comes through their site known as gate fees. You can see what the average gate fees are in the latest WRAP report here and in the table below.

wrap figure 2013

EFW’s (incinerators) can charge the most per tonne compared to other forms of waste treatment; which might explain why Viridor offered this up as the only solution to our waste problem!

An MRF (Material Recovery Facility) is where the rubbish is properly sorted. Not only is this the cheapest option it also creates 10 times more jobs and means the full value can be extracted from the rubbish.

Put simply, only once you have sorted the rubbish do you know what you need to do with it – whether that’s turning it in to a new product or putting it in to IVC (In vessel composting) or AD (Anaerobic Digestion) both of which can create energy and produce an inert product at the end – compost.

With 90% of all rubbish being recyclable or re-usable at the very least we would have to burn a considerably smaller amount than is being suggested at the moment.

over capacity

Now that the EU is pushing for 70% recycling incinerating rubbish that could otherwise be recycled is not the way forward.  Especially when there is already an over-capacity of waste treatment facilities, why build more?

incineration-worse-than-coal-The rest of Viridor’s £990 million contract comes from money given to them by the government for producing renewable energy. However, we argue that something which produces toxic emissions, hazardous waste and very little energy for the amount of fuel stock it requires is not the way forward and should not be rewarded.

Waste incinerators hardly perform any better than conventional fossil fuelled power stations and in some cases worse.


(1)          £1.1 Billion Cardiff:

£3.8 Billion Runcorn:

£990 Million Sutton:




High Court green light to challenge waste incinerator

A senior High Court judge has given Croydon resident Shasha Khan permission to proceed with a judicial review of Sutton Council’s decision to allow a waste incinerator to be built at Beddington Farmlands in south London, on land earmarked for London’s newest country park. Despite lengthy legal arguments by QCs for the council and the developer, Mr Justice Collins decided the case is arguable, observing “The possible conflict of interest in the defendant’s roles and the contractual relationship is all too obvious.” The Order can be accessed here. There will now be a full hearing of the case later this year.

Mr Khan is challenging planning permission for the incinerator on the basis Sutton made a serious error by applying the wrong planning policy to the incinerator and that they were unduly influenced by their contractual relationship with the developer Viridor. Sutton is one of four boroughs in London who signed up to a contract with Viridor in November 2012 to build the incinerator at Beddington.

RCJ after submitting final resizedMr Khan outside Royal Courts of Justice.

The development was then given planning permission despite it being on Metropolitan Open Land (the equivalent of Greenbelt) and despite it being safeguarded by Sutton themselves to become part of the Wandle Valley Regional Park. The development has produced widespread dismay amongst the local community with thousands of objections and only two letters of support.

Mr Khan said “In World Cup speak, a tricky qualification has been achieved and now we all look forward to the finals. I am so grateful for the hundreds of small donations to finance this case from members of the public like me who want parks for their kids, not waste incinerators.”

Sue Willman commented: “Despite powerful opposition by the council and developers, a senior planning court judge has recognised the strength of the case not to grant planning permission to burn waste on a site which is a haven for wildlife and migrating birds.”

Mr Khan is represented by Sue Willman and Charlie Dobson of Deighton Pierce Glynn solicitors and Justine Thornton, barrister of 39 Essex Street Chambers.


Croydon Green Fair.

Stop the Incinerator had a stall on Croydon high street at this years Green Fair.  We are grateful to Andrew Dickenson and others for putting on a well organised and well attended Fair.  Having a table and gazebo already set up on arrival is a wonderful thing!

I’d also like to say a big thank you to those who helped out on the stall.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Stop the Incinerator has had a stall at the Green Fair for the last three years and we’ve found it a great way of getting our message out to the local community.  In previous years it has been about raising awareness, gathering signatures for our petition and encouraging people to submit objections to the plans.

Created with Nokia Smart CamThis year it was all about the Judicial Review and letting people know the fight continues! Lively debate was had with some people whilst disbelief and disgust was a common theme with many others.

We are very grateful to the people who were kind enough to donate to the Judicial Review and are pleased to say that £91.13 was put in the collection pots at our stall.

I briefly spoke to the council’s recycling stall that was a couple of pitches down from ours but they were reluctant to discuss the incinerator with us!



JR decision could be made next week.

Written by Shasha Khan.

Hi everyone.  Firstly I’d like to thank you all for your continued to support.  I can’t express enough how grateful I am for your donations allowing me to keep fighting the incinerator.

From the messages of support to the generous financial assistance you have provided me it has been a humbling experience.

Now the courts have seen both arguments the decision on whether or not a Judicial Review will be granted could be made as early as next week.

Together we have all raised enough to take this case to court.  Whilst I remain confident that we will win, I also have to be realistic and accept that nothing is certain.

As such I still need more money to ensure all eventualities are covered.

In being the sole person taking on this Judicial Review I am able to cap the costs to £5,000 should I lose.  Although this puts increased pressure and responsibility on me, I believe this gives me a better chance of raising the money I need to see this through.

Based on current projections, I still need a further £2543 to cover all the possible costs involved.

Please keep telling your friends and family about the cause and ask them to donate whatever they can.

dirty water dirty air no web site


Air Pollution Changes Brain

We all know air pollution is a killer.  That’s one of the main reasons we are against the incinerator.

Air pollution results in the premature deaths of one in twelve Londoners and even short term exposure can result in an irregular heart beat  and lung clotting.

But this new study also shows that air pollution can affect the brain too.

You wouldn’t accept dirty air, don’t accept dirty water.  Help stop the incinerator.

dailymail air pol affects brain



Viridor bring out the big guns.

Deighton Pierce Glynn, solicitors representing claimant, Shasha Khan, have now received replies from the defence teams representing Sutton Council and waste contractor Viridor. A High Court Judge will decide within six weeks from the 21st of May – the date defence responses were filed with the High Court – as to whether the claim is arguable and grant permission for a judicial review.

Viridor has requested in their response that the Court categorises the claim as a significant planning claim.

Commenting on the latest developments, Shasha Khan said:

“Both Sutton Council and Viridor have decided to pull out all the stops in ensuring the High Court rules in their favour.

“Sutton Council and Viridor have hired two Queens Counsels (QCs) and a barrister between them to win the case. Viridor have gone as far as to appoint David Elvin QC, regarded by many has one of the very best with regard to planning law.

“Despite an aggressive approach taken by the QC representing Sutton Council (1), my team, which includes just one barrister, Justine Thornton, are confident that the judge will find the claim arguable and grant permission for a trial.

“It is quite clear that both Sutton Council and Viridor are desperate for this billion pound incinerator to be built and I can only assume that my small yet determined team have presented a compelling case.”

“We continue to require more funds to take our judicial review claim to the wire.”

You can donate here.

(1) Deighton Pierce Glynn described Sutton Council’s response as aggressive. At one point the QC brands Shasha Khan as a “Self confessed serial campaigner” [Shasha tweeted this]