South London Waste Partnership

A View from St Georges Tooting A marks the Viridor Incinerator B marks St Helier – which of the three does not care for people’s health?

Viridor and Veolia with the South London Waste Partnership

When Viridor was acquired by and American investment house, KKR, they said their rationale for purchase was the strength of Viridor’s contracts with local authorities.

There was plenty of controversy about the Planning Consent for the incinerator in Beddington and when a process is opaque in public life, such controversies will persist.

But the reality is that the London Borough of Sutton and its partners in the South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) are tied into a 25-year contract and part of Sutton’s own rationale for allowing the build was the establishment of their own heat network – SDEN.

A failing / failed system, the ruling administration has just rescheduled its loans meaning a 47 year pay back – pretty clever on the back of a 25-year incinerator contract – is there something we don’t know?

But on top of that, Viridor have just applied to the Environment Agency for their second increase in volume since the incinerator went into operation.  So, forget about what is coming out of the chimneys, that is more pollution from HGV’s as they deliver the waste through Sutton streets.

And those streets have their very own rubbish issues – not just the potholes that are made worse by the HGV’s, there is the litter and rubbish.  Admittedly Veolia don’t create the litter (apart from collection days when they leave a trail from casually emptied domestic bins) but whatever happened to street cleaning?

Reliance of local residents doing litter picks on roads, paths and parks is well and good but those same conscientious residents are rewarded by limited access to Sutton’s main waste depot and fines if they put their bins out on the wrong day.

We are a laughing stock – more waste goes into Beddington than the rest of the four member boroughs of the SLWP put together and if you think recycling will help – it won’t because the contract with Viridor is for a tonnage that will be made up from external sources if the SLWP does not provide enough.

Another root and branch review is needed and changes made – it may be better to pay a price today rather than leave a tainted and poisonous legacy for our children.

A too common site in Sutton

Leonie Cooper AM, Chair of the Environment Committee, London Assembly: “We have got to get a grip on the amount of waste being sent to incineration……….. Incineration can no longer be relied upon to manage our waste effectively……this should really be an option of last resort.”