PROTESTERS hope to flood the Mayor of London with up to 20,000 letters urging him to reject plans to build an incinerator on the Croydon/Sutton border.
The campaign – taking the fight to Boris Johnson – has started in earnest after Sutton Council's development control committee approved Viridor's scheme last week.
The so-called Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) is designed to burn thousands of tonnes of non-recyclable waste generated from Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston.
The four boroughs, which form the South London Waste Partnership, argue that the plant is a better and cheaper way of disposing of rubbish than sending it to landfill.
Paul Pickering, chair of the Stop the Incinerator Campaign, said this week that the letter campaign will form the main plank of the protest to the Mayor.
Campaign members will be going door-to-door to homes mainly in Croydon and Sutton handing out letters which they hope residents will send on to Mr Johnson.
The letter urges the Mayor to reject Viridor's application, claiming an incinerator would be an inappropriate use of Metropolitan Open Land.
It rejects the company's claims that toxins would not rise above safe levels, drawing attention to concerns about health risks and claims there would be more pollution and congestion from waste ferried by road.
The letter ends: "I believe that you are a man of conviction and trust that you will share my concerns about this incinerator. It is totally backward."
Mr Pickering said: "We are hoping to get between 10,000 and 20,000 letters delivered to the community and the first 5,000 of these have already been printed.
"We want to get our message out by going on to the doorsteps to speak directly to people."
Fears on health risks, increased pollution and extra traffic were all rejected on planning officers' recommendations at last week's committee meeting.
Robert Ryan, Viridor's head of development projects, said: "It is great news that the committee recognised, by granting us planning permission, that our proposed ERF is the right solution for South London's waste challenge and is one that will deliver real economic, social and environmental benefits.
"It is a safe and cost-effective long-term alternative to landfill, recovering resources and reducing costs to the taxpayer."
The decision has also been welcomed by Councillor Derek Osbourne, chair of the South London Waste Partnership joint waste committee, who said: "I'm very proud of the deal we have achieved for local people.
"This facility is both kind to the environment and it avoids passing on large costs to the taxpayer. Viridor has listened to local people and offered something that makes sense for the entire area."
Powers granted to the Mayor allow him to approve or reject the application, or order a formal hearing at which both applicants and opponents could put their case. It is likely to be the end of next month at the earliest before the Mayor reaches any decision.