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.