Beddington Energy Recovery Facility

Beddington Energy Recovery Facility

This summer (2015) work will start on building an Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) in Beddington. This webpage will tell you all about the project. For further details about the works and how to get involved visit Viridor’s website.

Why is the ERF being built?
Sutton Council is committed to improving the environment by reducing the amount of waste we are disposing of in landfill. We aim to achieve this goal borough-wide by encouraging waste reduction, recycling and by managing the remaining waste more sustainably.

We are a member of the South London Waste Partnership (SLWP), along with Croydon, Kingston and Merton Councils. Each year the four councils handle in the region of 300,000 tonnes of residual and recyclable waste, with residual waste sent to the landfill site at Beddington.

Waste that cannot be reused or recycled has traditionally been buried in landfill sites. Landfill produces incredibly damaging greenhouse gases such as methane, which is 24 times stronger than carbon dioxide (CO2), and contributes more towards global warming than vehicle emissions. As a result, in 2018 when residual waste from the SLWP is treated at the ERF, CO2 emissions will reduce by 128,000 tonnes each year.

Both the UK and the European Union have brought in legislation, backed by financial penalties, to reduce the amount of waste disposed of in landfill. As a result, landfill is becoming increasingly expensive. With the Beddington landfill due to close and an annual SLWP landfill tax bill of more than £18.5m for 2014-15, we have needed to find alternative arrangements.

Part of these alternative arrangements is the Beddington Energy Recycling Facility (ERF), which has been designed to complement high levels of recycling and reduce our reliance on landfill. Once all recyclable and compostable material has been removed, the remaining waste has to be disposed of as safely and cleanly as possible.

It will also save the four councils £200m over 25 years – money that can be used to protect frontline services

Who is building and running the ERF?
Following a competitive, transparent and robust procurement process that was monitored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the SLWP identified Viridor’s proposal as the one that offered the best and most economically advantageous solution.

Community benefits
Sutton Council is keen to see Viridor support regeneration in South London. In particular, the landfill restoration that will be accelerated as result of the ERF will make an important contribution to realising the shared vision for a sustainable and high-quality regional park in the Wandle Valley. Viridor has agreed to a number of financial commitments that will support this vision.

  • A community fund of an initial £250,000 is being established for local community projects. This will be followed by annual payments of £25,000 for the 25 years of the contract.

  • An additional lump sum of £100,000 (index linked) will be made available by the end of 2024. A panel is being established to consider applications and to distribute the funding.

  • Viridor will operate a community liaison group relating to its current operations and this will recommence to cover ERF and other site operations with regular meetings throughout the year. The group will discuss the progress of the construction and have the opportunity to feed back any observations or concerns from the local residents and communities they represent.

  • Viridor is to develop an education and visitor centre within the ERF building to provide local residents and school groups with an opportunity to learn about: Waste prevention, recycling and resource management in the SLWP area; The ERF; Nature conservation objectives and restored wildlife habitats; and The Wandle Valley Regional Park.

  • Viridor will fund the employment of a wildlife warden to oversee the restored site, including the provision of an office at the proposed education centre.

  • To ensure that the ERF continues to meet the highest standards, Viridor has agreed to provide funding to the London Borough of Sutton for the operation of an air quality monitoring station in the vicinity of the site.

  • Further to the requirements in the London Borough of Sutton’s Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document, further support will be offered towards sustainable transport in the area.

  • Viridor is seeking agreement with Thames Water to secure land in the Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) area to the south west of the site. Should an agreement be reached, Viridor has agreed to provide an additional public access route from the restored land through to Beddington Lane.

  • A section of land located within the area known as 100 Acres will also be offered, subject to agreement with Thames Water, for nature conservation management.


When will the ERF be up and running?
The facility is due to be completed in 2018.

What is an Energy Recovery Facility (ERF)?
An ERF is a waste treatment facility that uses non-hazardous residual (post-recycling) waste as fuel to generate energy. There are over 20 facilities already operating in the UK and hundreds more across Europe.
The ERF supports Sutton Council’s commitment to encourage the borough to reduce waste and to increase recycling. When operational it will generate around 26 megawatts of electricity annually, which will help towards the Mayor of London’s target to achieve 25 per cent of London’s energy supply from decentralised energy resources by 2025.

We, as part of the SLWP, have chosen Viridor to handle the residual waste for a 25-year period. Viridor currently operates seven ERFs in the UK, with four under construction. Across Europe, there are more than 400 ERFs in operation. The Beddington ERF project will:

  • Save money
  • Help divert 95% of household waste away from landfill
  • Produce low carbon energy
  • Reduce CO2 emissions
  • Create jobs
  • Deliver significant benefits to the local community


Where will waste for the ERF come from?
At present more than 233,500 tonnes of residual waste that cannot be recycled from households in Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton is sent to landfill (47,000 tonnes to Lakeside ERF and 186,500 tonnes to landfill in Beddington). This will provide most of the Beddington ERF waste, with the remainder from local businesses.

Is the recycling removed before the waste is taken to the facility?
Sutton and the other three SLWP boroughs operate a separate recycling collection service for municipal waste. Once the recycling has been collected the remaining residual brown bin waste will be the source of feed stock for the facility. Waste arriving at the facility will be regularly checked to ensure it meets the specification required to fuel the facility.

How much energy will the ERF generate?
The ERF will be designed to produce 26 megawatts of electricity annually for the national grid – enough to power the facility itself plus 30,000 homes. The ERF will also have all the internal technology needed to create 20 MW of heat energy, which has the potential to provide low-carbon heat (or non-fossil- fuel sourced heat) to local developments.

Using low carbon energy reduces reliance on fossil fuels and the heat and electricity generated will help towards the Mayor of London’s target of producing 25 per cent of the city’s energy from local sources by 2025.

How does an ERF work?
Energy Recovery Facilities burn waste at high temperatures under carefully controlled conditions. The process is extremely efficient, robust and safe. Emissions are treated to meet required standards under the stringent European Industrial Emissions Directive, which is strictly enforced and monitored by the Environment Agency.

The electricity ERFs produce is fed into the National Grid and the heat can be utilised locally, presenting opportunities for additional commercial development and improving resource efficiency. The process also produces bottom ash (the bulk of remaining materials after combustion), which can be recycled for use as aggregate material in the construction industry, metals, which are recycled, and Air Pollution Control residue (APCr), which is either recycled or safely disposed of at licensed facilities.

The technology used at ERFs is well established across Europe. Working alongside high recycling rates, they help to meet landfill diversion targets.

Energy from waste in all its forms already accounts for 2% of UK electricity supply. By 2020 it could account for 6% of total UK electricity.

How visible will the ERF be from nearby properties?
The design of the ERF seeks to minimise the visual impact of the facility through the use of efficient design techniques and use of carefully considered building materials.
A full landscape and visual impact assessment was completed as part of the planning application that was approved by the Planning Authority. This assessment can be found here.

How high will the chimney be?
The chimney will be 95m high, slightly taller than the Croydon Ikea Towers. The height has been determined as a result of an extensive air quality and dispersion modelling assessment and is set to ensure that any impacts upon human health and ecological interests are minimised.

How safe is the ERF and will there be any health risks?
The process is extremely efficient, robust and safe. Emissions are treated to meet required standards under the stringent European Industrial Emissions Directive, which is strictly enforced and monitored by the Environment Agency. A recently published Health Protection Agency report stated that 'modern, well-managed incinerators make only a small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants' and that any potential health impacts, if they exist, are likely to be very small and not detectable.

The facility requires an Environmental Permit in order to operate. This will require compliance with the requirements of all necessary standards protecting health and the environment.

The facility will be closely monitored by the Environment Agency to ensure that it meets the strict emissions criteria set out in the European Union’s Industrial Emissions Directive. In the case of NO2 (nitrogen dioxide), the limits at Beddington will be stricter than the European Industrial Emissions Directive limits.

Viridor's compliance will be regulated by the Environment Agency on a continual basis.

The technology is modern, safe and proven. Viridor currently operates seven ERFs in the UK, with four under construction. Across Europe, there are more than 400 ERFs in operation.

Why was this site chosen?
Viridor’s Beddington site is currently home to major recycling and composting facilities that provide essential recycling services to the South London Waste Partnership authorities and local businesses. 

There is a large landfill operation where non-recyclable waste from the Waste Partnership and local businesses is sent to landfill. The ERF development area is in the north eastern corner of the site, which currently comprises of buildings and structures including dry recycling reception, skip waste compound, part of an in-vessel composting facility and associated vehicle circulation areas.

The site is also close to the centre of the four councils that make up the Waste Partnership, which helps to minimise vehicle mileage.

Beddington Lane is already a busy industrial area including warehouses, a sewage treatment works, other waste management operations and transport depots.

Will there be new jobs created when the ERF is operational?
The ERF will deliver significant local investment and create 40 permanent jobs once it is operational, as well as many more during the construction phase. During the construction phase there will be hundreds of jobs and supply chain opportunities created and, once completed, a further 40 permanent jobs are required to run the facility. There will also be the need for materials, skills and expertise.

Will the amount of traffic increase when the ERF is operational?
No, when the ERF is operational there will be no more traffic than if the landfill operation continued. Once the landfill site has been restored there will be a reduction in traffic levels to and from the Beddington Farmlands site in comparison to the baseline. This is due to a reduction in the amount of traffic related to the restoration processes required at the landfill site, once it is closed. The total level of traffic will reduce once the landfill area has been restored.

What about the amount of construction traffic when the ERF is being built?
Arrangements are being put in place to make sure construction traffic avoids unsuitable roads. Construction vehicles are required to access the site using Coomber Way or approaching from the north from Mitcham Common. This will be enforced using GPS and CCTV and thus will reduce traffic on Hilliers Lane.

When will restoration of the Beddington landfill take place?
The landfill site is being progressively restored with works already underway. Various phases of the landfill will be made available for public access as they become complete. As part of the ERF application, the Restoration Aftercare and Management Plan (RAMP) has been enhanced against that which was previously agreed in association with the landfill.

What measures will be taken to protect birds on the site of the Beddington ERF?
As part of the planning application for the ERF, Viridor has been required to submit and receive approval from the local planning authority, a Habitat Management Scheme (planning condition six) and Tree Sparrow Management Plan (planning condition seven) which detail how it will manage habitats and nesting birds throughout the construction phase and once the facility is fully operational.

How is the 128,000 tonnes of CO2 saving calculated?
The workings for the calculation behind the CO2 saving can be found in the Need Assessment and Carbon Balance report on pages 47, 51 and 57 via the Viridor website.







rating button