BBC Presenter devastated at the approval of Beddington Incinerator.

BBC ‘The One Show’ broadcaster and presenter, David Lindo, also known as The Urban Birder, today said when he heard an incinerator was sanctioned at Beddington Farmlands he found the news simply “devastating.”

He said, “My heart sank when I heard that the council, GLA and the Secretary of State have sanctioned the construction of the incinerator at Beddington Farmlands. This news is simply devastating”

Beddington Farmlands is home to more than 100 of species of birds, and one of the largest populations of the rare tree sparrow in the UK. Tree sparrows have seen a dramatic drop in their numbers nationally over the past 40 years, and Beddington boasted one of the few places in the UK to have retained breeding pairs in any significant numbers.

Mr Lindo added, “I used to regularly watch birds at this amazing site since the early 80’s. To this day, it still remains a giant in the London birding scene and an important area for wildlife in general. Unfortunately, its fantastic potential as a major site for Londoners and for youngsters especially to learn about the beauty of nature has already been blighted. Beddington Farmand’s nationally renowned Tree Sparrow colony – a rare species in the UK – is already in steep decline. We cannot standby and let this wonderful area be destroyed. Everybody needs to get behind the Stop The Incinerator Campaign. I am.”

Viridor, who want to build a 300,000 tonne per annum waste incinerator at Beddington, claim to care about the environment, but their actions speak louder than words. Earlier this year, before the breeding season began, they cut down a sizeable area of trees used by the birds for roosting at the site.

Paul Pickering, chair of the local Stop The Incinerator campaign explained: “Viridor hoped for early approval of their planning application to Sutton council and wanted to ensure there were no obstacles that could delay site development.  This cynical act has left the once thriving colony of tree sparrow all but extinct on the site”.

This act of environmental vandalism has had a dramatic impact on tree sparrow numbers.

Peter Alfrey, member of the Beddington Farmlands Bird Group, commented: “Of the eleven special bird species that breed on site that were protected under Viridor’s previous planning permissions, all eleven have either declined or become extinct. Most alarmingly the Tree Sparrow- an iconic species for the site (the largest population in the South East) has reduced from nearly 1000 in 2007 to only 15 today”.

Local concerns about the impact of the incinerator on health and the environment, and the loss of rare species are not going to stand in the way of Viridor’s plans for their money making incinerator. The plans to burn domestic, commercial and industrial waste from four London boroughs and beyond for the next 25 years are a disaster for the environment and human health, but very profitable for Viridor. The alternative strategies of waste reduction, re-use, recycling and composting have not been adopted by Viridor. We are left with a waste strategy designed to maximise profits for Viridor’s shareholders, rather than serve the interests of the people of Sutton and Croydon, our wildlife and the environment.

The Stop The Incinerator Campaign are raising money to challenge the decision to build the giant incinerator through judicial review.