Sutton Council opposes application to treat more waste at Beddington Energy Recovery Facility

02 Dec 2022

Sutton has submitted its opposition to Viridor's application to the Environment Agency to increase the amount of waste being treated at the Beddington Recovery Facility. In a letter to the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, Councillor Barry Lewis, Chair of the Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee, outlines the Council's opposition to the permit and calls on the Environment Agency to reject it. The official response from the Council is in addition to the South London Waste Partnership, made up of Croydon, Merton and Kingston Council's, joint cross-party response to the application.

I’m calling on Sutton residents to add their voices to the consultation and oppose the application from Viridor before it closes on 23 December.

Viridor’s application is to burn more commercial and industrial waste at the Beddington ERF from other parts of the country. It is my view and the council’s view that this is unacceptable.

Below are three reasons why the South London Waste Partnership, which includes Sutton Council, is calling for the Environment Agency to reject the application and I encourage you to do the same:

  • The amount of rubbish we produce  is reducing. Therefore we don’t need the ability to burn more locally, and regionally we don’t need to either if the Mayor of London’s reduction and recycling targets are met.

  • The area where waste arrives at the Beddington ERF was not designed to hold the extra waste this application would allow, and there are already times where this space operates at maximum capacity. Viridor has not demonstrated adequately that it would be possible to receive the extra waste safely and efficiently.

  • Viridor has not been able to produce unequivocal evidence that it can consistently operate the Beddington ERF within its current permitted emissions limits over a prolonged period of time.  On six occasions since May 2022 the emissions limits were breached. The breaches were very short - often only for a few seconds and with no significant environmental or public health impacts - but this is evidence that the current limits are not consistently met and therefore if the application is successful, there may be an increase in the number of breaches.

You can read the full response and reasons for opposing the permit increase submitted by the cross-party South London Waste Partnership here.

The four SLWP boroughs remain certain that the Beddington ERF is an environmentally sustainable, cost-effective and safe way of treating household rubbish. The ERF has delivered significant benefits to the boroughs in terms of carbon reduction and savings. However, approving this permit variation would see the facility expand significantly beyond its original scale and purpose.

Make sure to have your say by responding to the Environment Agency consultation.

Councillor Barry Lewis

Chair of the Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee