OPPONENTS of plans to build an incinerator on the Croydon/Sutton border will take their case to Boris Johnson, after councillors voted to approve the proposal. To a cacophony of boos from the public gallery, members of Sutton Council's development control committee gave the green light Viridor's energy recovery facility (ERF) proposals for Beddington Lane. The incinerator is planned to burn non-recyclable waste from four boroughs; Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston. The decision now has to be ratified by the Mayor of London and members of the Stop the Incinerator campaign are urging people to lodge objections. They are likely to base their case primarily on the fact the incinerator will be built on Metropolitan Open Land. They claim that a strong enough case has not been made to allow building on key open space, part of which is eventually due to become a regional park. Paul Pickering, chair of the campaign, said after the meeting: "We feel that the decision tonight was a foregone conclusion, most committee members were just too limp to make a decision to refuse the plans. "Things will not stop here and we have already launched our campaign to persuade the mayor to reject the scheme." Around 100 people packed into the public gallery for Wednesday's meeting, which was called after the committee deferred a decision on April 24 after a split vote. At that stage, Wallington South councillor and committee vice-chair, Monica Chapman urged the deferral to allow more information to be supplied on the effects of the plant on air quality and residents' fears about more lorries pounding the streets. But a report presented to the committee on Wednesday stated there was no evidence that emissions from the ERF posed "any material health risk." The report also said the number of traffic movements, after the construction phase, would be fewer than those taking place as lorries visited the existing landfill site. Officers told the committee there were no planning grounds for refusal on either issue, while they heard the Environment Agency felt there were no significant pollution risks and was "minded" to grant an environmental permit. Croydon Labour councillor Paul Smith accused officers of patronising objectors. He said: "To me the report is almost like a pat on the head for the objectors. A 'we know best'; a 'trust us'; a sort of 'you don't really understand attitude.'" He told members: "This is a real opportunity to embrace localism. There is a real chance to put the interests and wishes of residents first." All five Lib Dems members voted in favour of the application with the committee's two Conservative members voting against.
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