On 24 April, Croydon resident Shasha Khan filed judicial review proceedings challenging Sutton Council’s decision to allow a municipal waste incinerator at Beddington Farmlands in south London, on land earmarked for London’s newest country park. He faces a fierce legal battle- Sutton council and interested parties Viridor and Thames Water Utilities Ltd are all represented by corporate law firms.
Mr Khan is challenging planning permission for the £990m incinerator on the basis Sutton made a serious error by applying the wrong planning policy to the incinerator and that local residents have a legitimate expectation that the site would become part of the Wandle Valley Regional Park, a haven for wildlife and migrating birds.
Mr Khan said, “It’s been a long, hard fight so far, not only for me, but other key figures in the campaign. Now that I’ve actually handed in the papers to court I’m nervous but remain optimistic that justice will prevail.”
“I’m doing this to protect my family and others from the incinerator’s emissions but it’s also about what’s right. Years of broken promises have led us here and if Sutton Council had done what they said they would do – which is end waste treatment on the site and turn it in to a country park – then I wouldn’t be taking them to court.”
Father of a 22 month old daughter, a founder of the Friends of Thornton Heath Recreation Ground and co-coordinator of the Croydon and Sutton Green Party, he added “Going to court against a Council who has the backing of a FTSE 250 company is a scary thing! I couldn’t have done it without all the generous donations I’ve received and the messages of support I’m getting on a daily basis. Please help by going to http://www.stoptheincinerator.co.uk/”.
Sue Willman, representing Mr Khan said “We believe Sutton has acted unlawfully by misinterpreting their own planning policies. There are serious questions to be answered by local councils across the UK treating incinerators as a source of renewable energy instead of investigating cleaner alternatives. We hope the court process will result in the parties being asked to look again for a more sustainable solution for dealing with South London’s waste.”