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Incinerator's critics taking case to Boris

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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 Viridor's energy recovery facility (ERF) plan for Beddington Lane the green light.

The incinerator is intended to burn non-recyclable waste from four boroughs: Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston. The 97-hectare facility would burn 275,000 tonnes of waste a year.

The decision now has to be ratified by the Mayor of London and members of the Stop the Incinerator campaign are urging people to object on the basis that the incinerator will be built on Metropolitan Open Land.

They claim that building on such a key open space, which is due to become a regional park, has not been justified.

Campaign leader Paul Pickering said after the meeting: "We feel that the decision was a foregone conclusion; most committee members were just too limp to refuse the plans. Things will not stop here and we want to persuade the mayor to reject the scheme."

About 100 people packed the public gallery for Wednesday's meeting, called after the committee deferred a decision on April 24 due to a split vote.

At that stage, Wallington South councillor and committee vice-chairman 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 using 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 for the existing landfill site.

Officers told the committee there were no planning grounds for refusal on either issue, while it heard that 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: "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.

"This is a real opportunity to embrace localism. There is a real chance to put the interests and wishes of residents first."

All five Liberal Democrat members voted in favour of the application and the committee's two Conservative members voted against.

Incinerator's critics taking case to Boris


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