The Mayor’s office today granted planning approval for the Viridor Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) incinerator in Sutton for the treatment of four London council’s waste (Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton and Sutton. In Boris Johnson’s absence, Edward Lister the Mayor of London’s Deputy Mayor for Planning made the decision on behalf of the Mayor of London.
The decision does not bode well for any appeal to Boris Johnson on the proposd Harlesden incinerator which means campaigners will have to redouble their efforts to get it over-turned at the reconvened Ealing Planning Committee.
Earlier this month the Mayor's Office decided not to intervene in the Welsh Harp/West Hendon development.
As you will see the Beddington issue contains elements relevant to both the Harlesden Incinerator and the West Hendon Development.
Jenny Jones said:
The Mayor’s decision is an environmental disaster for south London and the recycling and composting industry. The Mayor has failed to observe his own planning and waste policies which state that incineration is the least desirable form of waste management. Instead he has put the interests of big business first, before legitimate environmental concerns and the interests of local residents that will be affected by his decision
Jenny Jones' letter of objection:
Beddington Farmlands Waste Management Facility Planning application No: D2012/66220
I am very concerned at the type of waste facility proposed at the existing landfill and recycling site in Beddington. Specifically, its detrimental impact on the natural environment, on local air quality, and on undermining the waste hierarchy.
Metropolitan Open Land:
This is an inappropriate development on Metropolitan Open Land and contrary to London Plan policy 7.7 which gives MOL the strongest protection.
Contrary to London Plan policy 7.14, the development proposal will lead to further deterioration of local air quality from both vehicle movements associated with the delivery of waste and removal of ash, and from the flue gases emitted through the chimney stacks, particularly as this is already an Air Quality Management
Area. Biodiversity and conservation:
The site is of exceptional importance for birds in London, with nationally important populations of several species and one of the longest species lists in London (82 bird species were recorded at the Beddington SMI during the 2011 breeding season). As a Metropolitan wildlife site, it is part of the key strategic framework for biodiversity described in policy 7.19 and is in the Mayor’s Biodiversity Strategy. The scheme will result in the permanent loss of wildlife habitat and a change in absolute character of the Beddington Farmland. It also does not address the issues of the failed Conservation Management Plan and current decline in the conservation target species. It is therefore contrary to London Plan policy 2.18 and 7.19.
The Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) is a combined heat and power incinerator proposed by Viridor, the South London Waste Partnership’s preferred bidder for the treatment of four London council’s (Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton and Sutton) with a maximum waste capacity of 302,000 tonnes per annum (tpa). According to Viridor they expect to incinerate 200,000 tpa of residual municipal waste collected from households from the partnership area. Type of waste facility:
The Mayor’s London Plan (para 5.86) policy on energy recovery from waste states that ‘energy recovery should be carried out through advanced conversion techniques, ie gasification, pyrolysis or anaerobic digestion’. The ERF is therefore contrary to this policy.
Only genuine ‘residual waste’, the element that cannot be recycled or composted, should be considered for energy generation. However, as the South London Waste Plan has not set out plans to maximise recycling/composting targets, which according to the Scottish Government and Welsh Assembly are in the region of 70 per cent, or even 80 per cent according to the Friends of the Earth, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of recyclable and compostable material will be incinerated over the period of the contract. The resolution passed in May 2012 by the European Parliament calling for a limit on incineration with energy recovery to ‘non-recyclable materials only’ by 2020 needs to be taken into consideration. Particularly as it is likely to pave the way for far more ambitious and stringent incineration polices in the forthcoming review of the EU Waste Framework Directive, and within the lifetime envisaged in this application.
Waste capacity and 30 year contract:
Whilst incineration may offer the easiest alternative to landfill and avoiding escalating landfill charges, this short term solution, will have long term detrimental consequences. It won’t provide incentives to maximise recycling/composting rates, nor will it discourage unsorted residual household black bag waste. Instead, vast amounts of climate changing carbon dioxide and pollution will be produced and valuable natural resources that could be recycled will be incinerated.
Greenhouse gas emissions and carbon intensity floor assessments (CIF):
Viridor’s ERF plan does not offer significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Their ‘Needs Assessment and Carbon Balance’ document only compares the ERF to the landfill site, not other available waste treatment options such as recycling, reuse or other renewable energy sources. The Working out of CIF is based on the displacement of gas, however, well within the lifetime of the plant renewable energy is very likely to outstrip gas as the major supplier. There is a good chance the ERF could be displacing and preventing energy that could come from more environmentally friendly options. For the reasons set out above, I strongly urge you to direct refusal.
Jenny Jones Green Party Member of the London Assembly