THE Environment Agency (EA) has said it is "minded to grant" a permit to the controversial proposed incinerator just across the Sutton border in Beddington Lane. The Government agency said yesterday it still has "an open mind" but will grant the permit unless it is persuaded otherwise by June 11. The proposed Viridor facility would burn 250,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste each year from south London and Surrey, and turn some of the energy into electricity and heat. Its many opponents fear its fumes will harm locals' health and are not convinced it is an efficient long-term answer to dealing with the area's waste. In its draft decision published yesterday, the EA said a permit would "ensure that a high level of protection is provided for the environment and human health." Sutton councillors are due to meet tonight (May 15) to decide wether to grant planning permission to the proposed facility. Development committee members deferred the decision when it was first put to them last month, when the chair chose not to exercise his casting vote. Sutton council planning officers have recommended the facility be approved. Robert Ryan, Viridor's Head of Projects, said he hoped the EA's indication would "reassure" councillors about the facility. He added: "We hope that Committee members will be reassured of the facility's safety by the Environment Agency's decision which is based on technical and scientific evidence and assessments. "The ERF will deliver real economic, social and environmental benefits to the local community; a view that has been supported by the London Borough of Sutton's own planning officers."
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