Monthly Archives: February 2015

Council Questions

We encourage everyone to do what campaign member Maeve has done and that is hold your council to account by asking them questions at their next full council meeting.

There are four councils complicit in the building of the South London Incinerator – Sutton, Croydon, Merton and Kingston.  Details of how you can ask them a question can be found on the relevant council website and also on our web site here.

Here are the questions Maeve asked at the last Sutton Council meeting along with their ‘answers’!

2 Question from Maeve Tomlinson, 83 Onslow Gardens, Wallington, to

Councillor Jill Whitehead, Chair of Environment and Neighbourhood


Disposing of our waste by incineration is one of the most expensive options for

residents due to the high gate fees, while also being damaging to our health and

environment, so how can the council justify using public money to fight Shasha

Khan’s continuing legal challenge to stop the incinerator?

Reply by Councillor Jayne McCoy, Chair of Housing, Economy and Business


Thank you, thank you Ms Tomlinson for your question. Mr Khan has indeed cost

Sutton Council and local taxpayers a considerable amount of money with his Stop

the Incinerator campaign. And it’s a common and perhaps deliberate

misunderstanding that the judicial review that he brought as part of his campaign is

a challenge to the decision to use incineration to dispose of local waste that would

otherwise go to landfill. In fact, the judicial review was brought in respect of the

decision to grant planning permission for this waste management facility. And a

challenge can only be brought on the assertion that the council did not follow

planning process. That judicial review has now been concluded with the judge

throwing out all of Mr Khan’s arguments as having no grounds whatsoever and

confirming that Sutton as the local planning authority had correctly followed the

proper procedures and given due consideration to all planning aspects of the


Appendix A to Council:

Public Questions

19 January 2015

Given that this is a challenge to the professional of our planning department, we

are duty bound to fight to maintain the Council’s professional integrity. However,

it’s obviously fair and right that there is a form of legal challenge to planning

applications available to the public in the form of a judicial review that can be used

in the appropriate circumstances and when major applications are made, this

Council’s aware of that risk of judicial review and does set aside a contingency

budget for just that situation.

However, I cannot let the assertions in Ms Tomlinson and the Green Party’s

question that incineration is the more expensive option for our residents and that

this energy from waste facility will result in an increased risk to residents and to

residents health and the environment because both these statements are in

contradiction to the expert and professional advice formally received in respect to

the energy from waste facility and the actually financial implications of awarding

the contract. Thank you.

 Supplementary Question asked by Maeve Tomlinson

Are you aware of Public Health England’s report from April 2014 in which it

highlighted to Local Authorities that air quality, there’s a lot of pollution in air quality

and we need to be working towards improving air quality via traffic and I think, and

also creating energy through incineration is going to contribute to more air

pollution. So I’m just concerned about the 600 lorries a day that are going to serve

this incinerator which is going to further increase air pollution and also there’s

going to be about 75,000 tonnes of ash created from all the waste that’s burned,

and that’s got to also be taken away from the incineration plant and taken

elsewhere, so all the lorries that are going to be carrying that waste is going to

make more air pollution and there are alternatives for getting rid of waste in a more

clean way. So I just wanted to know what is the Council doing to improve air quality

in the London Borough of Sutton?

Reply by Councillor McCoy

Thank you for your supplementary question. I am aware of that report and I can

advise that the health impacts of the proposal were considered extensively through

the planning process. Key stakeholders including the Environment Agency,

Sutton’s own environmental Health Team were consulted and a specialist Air

Quality Consultant, and they advised the Council’s Local Planning Authority. There

was some concern about the traffic impacts and the application was reconsidered

in the context of additional advice, and as part of this meeting, nation advice from

the Health Protection Agency, from the Department for the Environment, Farming

and Rural Affairs, were that any health impacts of any well managed energy from

waste facilities are very small and unlikely to be detectable and the Council’s Local

Planning Authority was satisfied that taking into account this expert advice there

would be no material harm to public health. With regard to your statement about

the traffic movements as part of the planning process a lot of information was

gathered in respect of the traffic movements and it is anticipated that over the

period of the waste facility being implemented that the traffic movements ought to

be less than they are currently, because all that’s happening is the that the waste

that’s being delivered to that current landfill site will be diverted to the incinerator,

as you refer to it, but over time because of the processes it will actually be

reduced. So we should be reducing that, so it should have a beneficial impact on

air quality. Thank you.

3 Question from Maeve Tomlinson, 83 Onslow Gardens, Wallington, to

Councillor Jill Whitehead, Chair of Environment and Neighbourhood


Collecting segregated recycling saves the most public money, so what steps is the

council taking to improve these recycling rates in Sutton?

Reply by Councillor Jill Whitehead, Chair of Environment and

Neighbourhood Committee

Thank you. The benefits of collecting segregated material against those of comingled, that’s collecting all together, collections will be explored through Sutton’s

inclusion in the South London Waste Partnership’s ongoing procurement exercise

for waste collection and street cleansing services. This process will explore the

different regimes and challenge bidders to provide the most appropriate and cost

efficient services for the partner boroughs. Through this procurement, the South

London Waste Partnership (SLWP) will seek innovative solutions to reduce the

cost and increase the environmental performance of waste and cleansing services.

Sutton continues to appreciate the importance of increasing recycling and has

successfully bid for funding from the Department of Communities and Local

Government (DCLG) to minimise waste and enhance our recycling performance.

This project is also supported by Sutton’s inclusion in the SLWP commissioned

communications campaign called “Kerching” in the summer of 2014.

Supplementary Question asked by Maeve Tomlinson

As has been seen in other areas of London, when an incinerator is used to dispose

of rubblish, the recycling rates tend to go down, so what is Sutton Council going to

do to combat that?

Reply by Councillor Whitehead

As I mentioned, all our solutions for segregating material will be undertaken by the

South London Waste Partnership and this is a shared partnership arrangement

between the London Borough of Sutton, the London Borough of Merton, the

London Borough of Croydon and the London Borough of Kingston and in fact we’re

having a meeting tomorrow to discuss this very thing.

Supplementary Question asked by Councillor Tim Crowley

Appendix A to Council:

Public Questions

19 January 2015

Thank you your worship. What I was going to ask was, in the light of Councillor

Whitehead’s answer, that we’re going to seek innovative solutions, does she think

that it is correct then as was mentioned in last week’s Environment and

Neighbourhoods Committee, that we’re increasing the cost of trade waste by only

2% this year, but we’re increasing the cost of recycled waste to trade customers by

over 30%? Thank you.

Reply by Councillor Whitehead

As Councillor Crowley knows, our fees and charges were based this year on what

had been increased in previous years and what had not been increased in

previous years. As last year, we increased recycling, this year we needed to

increase the trade waste so that means we’re now up-to-date with our price

increases as they should be.


How many lorries will there be?

Whilst the wonderfully demonic number of 666 lorries a day going to and from the fiery pits of the incinerator might seem like Viridor have a sense of humour after all, the truth is they are perhaps even more dangerous than what comes out the incinerator chimneys.

Maeve, a supporter of STI has recently done a FOI relating to the number of lorries, raising concerns about what the true number really is. You can see the request and their response here.

Below are the concerns Dr Stan Prokop has raised about the lorry movements, a number of which will be carrying hazardous waste.

The ash lorry numbers are extremely relevant. The lorries and their diesel engines will be doing enough damage by raising general air pollution levels locally, but there will be a special extra danger.

THE LEGAL VIEW OF AIR/INHALED DUST TOXICITY AT CORBY is of more than Incidental interest;

20 LORRIES at 20 tonnes = 400 tons a day of very toxic ash….they’d better be dustproof..if I were them I would be knobbling the Public Health doctor’s collection of miscarriage, congenital malformation, stillbirth, neonatal deaths and infant mortality as we speak.

There’s been a lot of judgements coming down recently….perhaps people will forgive me quoting extensively from one in 2009 that may even seem irrelevant.

What’s Corby got to do with Beddington?

Through Corby drove convoys of ill-protected loads of contaminated mud from the demolition of the Corby Steel Works…a number of children were born with limb deformities (we know little of the other ill-health that would have resulted locally).Their parents took Corby Borough Council to court.

THROUGH LOCAL ROADS will be coming convoys of lorries carrying loads of exceedingly toxic FLY ASH. How is the safety of these loads to be guaranteed? Will they have HAZMAT warnings on them? What will the accidental spillage procedures be? Who will be responsible for damages in the legal sense?

The illustrations below, is of levels of metals due to be coming from the Beddington chimneys (Viridor’s numbers) and of nanoparticles in the lungs.

dust pics 1adust pics 2a

This is some of what Justice AKENHEAD had to say

Dr Flaks, correctly in my judgement, identified PAHs, dioxins and heavy metals as the likely teratogens. The former were present at the BSC site largely as a consequence of the coke making processes used on the site over many years whilst the latter were the by products of the iron and steel making process. Also, dioxins and furans (PCCDs and PCDDs) were produced in the electric arc furnace process as well as in the sintering process. Dioxins and furans accumulate in the body and are only very slowly eliminated.

So far as dioxins are concerned, Dr Flaks commented, based on papers and research, that it should have been obvious that the BSC site would be contaminated with dioxins when it closed, it being inevitable that dioxins would have been produced during the steel works operation (in particular the sintering plant); dioxins were and are known to be extremely stable in the soil.

Decommissioning should have taken this into account so that any patches of heavily contaminated soil could have been identified and disposed of by incineration. The toxic characteristics of dioxins had been widely published since the 1970s and the technology for analysis and disposal was readily available in the early 1980s when remediation work at Corby was proposed. The toxic characteristics of dioxins include damage to human health (and potential damage to the embryo). I accept this evidence; it is logical and backed up by numerous papers and research.

Dr Flaks was of the view, which I accept, that embryos and foetuses are much

more sensitive to toxic chemicals than adults. The dosage of a teratogen required to induce birth defects can be much lower than that which would be required to cause toxic effects in adults and, although its teratogenic effects may be the result of induction by high doses, they may also be induced by low level exposures.

During the period from conception until implantation, insults to the embryo are likely to result either in its death and miscarriage or resorption, or

in its intact survival. At this stage, the embryo is able to repair itself by multiplication of its undifferentiated cells. The embryonic period, from 18 to 54-60 days after conception, is the period when the organs are developing and is the period of maximum sensitivity to teratogenesis, since tissue damage becomes irreparable. The foetal phase, from the end of the embryonic stage to birth is the period when growth and maturation of previously formed organs takes place, and exposure to teratogens is likely to affect foetal growth, or the size or function of a specific organ, rather than to cause gross structural defects.

Human teratogenicity is indicated by a recognizable pattern of anomalies, a statistically higher prevalence of a particular anomaly in patients exposed to an agent (which is an epidemiological facet), the presence of the agent during the stage of development of the affected organ, a lower incidence of the defect in the population prior to the introduction of the agent, and production of birth defects in experimental animals by the agent.

To induce a teratogenic effect, teratogenic substances must be administered during organogenesis, the period of embryological differentiation. The critical period of organogenesis in humans is 20-55 days (or 35-70 days after the last menstrual period). The nature and incidence of effects are dependent on the particular developmental stage when exposure occurs.

During embryonic differentiation or organogenesis, the embryo is highly susceptible to teratogenic insult. Following differentiation, the foetus becomes progressively less susceptible to teratogenic stimuli, although increasing the dosage may or extend the period of susceptibility.

Most known teratogens have been identified through experimental animal studies. It is of course not ethical for any teratogenic tests to be done on pregnant mothers let alone on embryos and foetuses. A problem with this is that there is no exact or mathematical correlation between what will affect a mouse foetus and a human foetus. Only about 19 drugs or groups of drugs and three other chemicals (methyl mercury, toluene and polychlorinated biphenyls) have been established as teratogenic agents in humans (by clusters of abnormalities being observed by physicians) whereas about 1,500 teratogens have been identified in laboratory animals (mainly by laboratory testing).

A teratogenic response depends upon the administration of a specific treatment of a particular dose to a genetically susceptible species when the embryos are in a susceptible stage of development. Susceptibility to teratogenesis by a particular chemical depends on differences between species and between strains within a species. Variables determining strain susceptibility include maternal parity and weight, foetal weight, number of young, size of the placenta, foetal and maternal production of hormones, and maternal utilization of vitamins and other essential nutrients. This is modified by environmental factors, such as diet, season and temperature.

Dr Flaks’ view, which I accept, is that the most likely teratogenic agents are Dioxins, PAHs and particular heavy metals, namely CHROMIUM, NICKEL and CADMIUM and respective compounds of these metals. It is at least theoretically possible that other agents might also be active. This does not exclude other agents that might have been present Dr Flaks could not identify what was likely to be the effective dosage of any one of these agents for human teratogenesis because the information does not exist. Further, the precise mechanism whereby any of these teratogens act is largely unknown. Toxicological coupled with epidemiological evidence can provide useful evidence as to the cause of birth defects.

Air Pollution and Safety Risk Management

Since the primary case made by the Claimants is that the birth defects were caused by the inhalation by the Claimants’ mothers during pregnancy of air borne contaminant bearing dusts, the evidence from the experts in the area of air pollution is important to determine how and in what circumstances dusts from the site could or would reach the mothers.

Dr Cox MBE, the expert in this field for the Claimants, secured his PhD in air pollution predictive modelling from Imperial College, London in 1975 and, as a

chartered mechanical Consulting Engineer, has spent much of his professional career in risk analysis as well as risk management. He has had to address the dispersion and release of gases and the impact of biocidal products and for 10 years he served on the Health and Safety Executive’s Advisory Committee on Dangerous Substances. He “spotted” a serious error in published papers by Ove Arup and IEA upon which Ms Heasman and Dr Searle had relied relating to the distance which small particles (under 10 microns) may travel. This had not been picked up either by Ms Heasman and Dr Searl; Ms Heasman ultimately accepted the error. He gave his evidence in a relaxed and self deprecating way and did not seek ever to exaggerate his views.

Before reviewing this area of the case, it is necessary to make findings at least broadly as to what levels of contaminated dust were likely to be present, where and in what quantities. In my judgement, there was a virtually constant generation of contaminated mud and dust from and including 1985 onwards to at least June 1997. There was almost constant work over this period by CBC and its contractors, but, even when there were slacker periods, dust would still have been released from the CBC sites or some of them, particularly Deene Quarry. Substantial quantities of contaminated material were carried on and on to the public roads mostly with unsheeted lorries.

The main roads on which they were carried were Gretton Road, Gretton Brook Road, Phoenix Parkway, Steel Road, Shelton Road, Geddington Road and Weldon Road. It is clear and I find that the sweeping of the roads was inadequate and often not done to all. Once deposited on the roads, the mud and dust would inevitably be spread even further around the roads and the town by other vehicles passing over it. There is every reason to conclude in addition that dust was generated in drying and drier weather off the sites during demolition, excavation, transporting, depositing and grading and levelling operations involving the substantial quantities of contaminated materials. In similar conditions, where slurries had been exposed to the air (as on Willowbrook North A) or spread and deposited on the surface (as when Toxic Ponds 3and 4 were deposited in the north-east corner of Deene Quarry) there would be contaminated dust generated from those sites. It would be facile to

believe or expect as a matter of fact that at any one material time during this overall period there was only one precise point source of contaminated dust being generated.

As Dr Cox said, not only would vehicles carry material some distance, it would either come off because it was blown off the back or by way of being dropped off the wheels or undercarriage; if the material was wet, it could also spill over at the edges of the lorry. Any material dropped onto the ground including the roads or pavements could then be re-mobilised either by wind or by passing vehicles.

One needs to bring together the findings overall, There was a statistically significant cluster of birth defects between 1989 and 1999. Toxicologically there were present on and from the CBC sites over the whole period from 1985 (and possibly before) until 1997 the types of contaminants which could cause the birth defects complained of by the Claimants.

There was an extended period between 1983 and August 1997 in which CBC was extensively negligent in its control and management of the sites which they acquired from BSC and otherwise used. That negligence and, as from 1 April 1992, breach of statutory duty on the part of CBC permitted and led to the extensive dispersal of contaminated mud and dust over public areas of Corby and into and over private homes with the result that the contaminants could realistically have caused the types of birth defects of which complaint has been made by the Claimants (save in limited respects).

It cannot however be demonstrated that after August 1997 the birth defects in children conceived thereafter could be caused by any breaches of duty or public nuisance occurring before that time; there can have been no significant

emissions of the relevant contaminants after that time which could have caused birth defects of the types with which this case is concerned. CBC is liable in public nuisance, negligence and breach of statutory duty, obviously subject to it being established in later proceedings by individual Claimants that their particular conditions were actually caused by the defaults identified in this judgement.”

I must be frank. I have very little trust that either the councils (particularly Sutton) that make up the SWLP or Viridor will do the relevant monitoring with sufficient rigour and transparency.You would not believe how diluted the regimes have become since the “cutting of red tape” in EU legislation. How will you know? 765.html



Incinerator plans ‘unsatisfactory’ says Viridor

Leaked documents came to light this week showing Viridor don’t like the current plan and want longer opening hours and fewer noise restrictions.

You can read about it here.

The leaked documents came out the same day we had a demonstration planned outside the South London Waste Partnership meeting at Croydon Town Hall. They SLWP represent Croydon, Merton, Kingston and Sutton and on the whole support the South London Incinerator.demo slwp

You can watch the video of what happened below. Part 1 shows the police doing some gentle dissuading, in Part 2 (2mins 29secs) you can hear Stuart Collins explain why there is nothing he can do about the incinerator and in Part 3 (4 mins 16 secs) we attempt to ask the committee about the incinerator.

You can read about how the press reported the meeting here and what the council eventually said about the leaked documents here.


Direct Action Does Make a Difference

Over the years Stop the Incinerator has tried a number of ways to get their message across to the public and our elected representatives.

Members of our group have risked arrest and public humiliation in their quest to spread the word.

Sometimes it is hard to see what progress you are making, whilst at other times you know you’ve hit a nerve.

Planned demonstrations have resulting in a meeting being cancelled at the last minute with us turning up to find only the police waiting for us, and indeed we have even had the police phone us up out of the blue to ask if we’d be attending a specific council meeting.

It seems that our last demonstration has had an impact as the public will now be allowed to ask questions at the South London Waste Partnership Joint Committee meeting . To our knowledge the public have not previously been allowed to do so.

Join us for our demonstration at the next SLWP committee meeting on 17/02/15 and ask a question about the South London Incinerator – we will have questions available for you to ask if needed.demo 17th feb 2015 croydon venue

The South London Waste Partnership Joint Committee meeting “is a public meeting and attendance by the public is encouraged and welcomed.”

However, the meeting is held at 5.30pm on a weekday which makes it difficult for most people to attend. Not only that, it is all but impossible to find out when or where the meetings are supposed to take place!

They have changed the venue for the next meeting from Merton Civic Centre to Croydon Town Hall, however, looking at the Croydon Council website they don’t seem to know anything about this!croydon website 15th feb 2015 SLWP(screenshot from Croydon Council website taken 15/02/15)

Using “South London Waste Partnership Joint Committee” as the search words I have found NOTHING about when or where these meetings will be on the SLWP website, Sutton Website or Kingston Website.

We have only been able to track it down because we have been contacting the committee directly requesting the opportunity to speak at their meeting.

You can see the agenda of the next meeting here. Sadly, as is often the case with this committee, although they are discussing public services in a public meeting, half the points under discussion will be held behind closed doors.

Which begs the question how can we hold them to account?

You can see from this article at Inside Croydon, they are not impressed with the Labour council in Croydon who opposed the South London Incinerator, but now they are in power they have been completely ineffectual over this issue.


Upcoming Events & Ways to get Involved

There are a number of opportunities to get involved in the campaign coming up soon. Firstly there is the quiz night fundraiser on 09/02/15. More details here.

There is a screening of Trashed on 13/02/15 in Colliers Wood. More details here.TRASHED_screensaver_2

We highly recommend seeing this powerful film. It shows the dangers of ignoring our growing waste problem and explains why waste incineration is so bad for your health. Representatives from Stop the Incinerator will be available for a Q & A afterwards about the South London Incinerator.

We have our next demo at the South London Waste Partnership meeting on 17/02/15. The SLWP are responsible for the waste plan that resulted in the South London Incinerator. We were told at the last meeting we would be allowed to speak at the next one but so far we have had no response to our request.

demo 17th feb 2015

Find out why the SLWP doesn’t work:

Another way you can help is to submit questions about the incinerator at the next full council meeting. Details of how you can do this and a list of questions you can use are available here.

Word of mouth is fantastic so let your friends and family know. If you belong to a group let them know too. You can use this draft letter for sending out to groups and politicians.

We are planning to have our next meeting on 07/03/15 to coincide with the climate change march which we are attending. For more details on the march see here.

Find out about other ways you can get involved on our  how you can help page.   If you feel able to, please donate to the legal challenge fund. You can do so here.