Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Can we stop the incinerator

 Can we......

We are led to understand that the Mayor of London's office will announce today its decision on whether to approve the Beddington incinerator. Technically Boris' office [quoting from an email received from the case officer - Samantha Wells] must make the decision on whether Sutton Council's recommendation will stand, or that he (the Mayor) shall act as the local planning authority for the purposes of determining the application (known as Stage 2). The Mayor's determination must be based on issues of strategic importance to London, and he has the power to either direct a Council to refuse planning permission or become the local planning authority for the purposes of determining the application.

The Mayor's duties when considering the application at Stage 2 is to consider the scale of local opposition, and when the time comes to reporting the case to the Mayor, officers will explain in further detail the scale of the local opposition to the proposed development.

To this end we the Stop The Incinerator group collected many signatures and have sent thousands of letters to the Mayor. Our London assembly members have also been doing the best to support the campaign (see press release below).

If the Mayor's office approves, and we understand whilst Boris is holidaying in Australia it his deputy Edward Lister who will make the decision, it is from today that the application to build a giant incinerator in Beddington is finally approved, hence, all the campaign groups that are part of the Stop The Incinerator network have 3 months (from today)  to go down the judicial review route.

That said they might refuse, and they should do, because the application goes against the grain of the Mayor's climate, waste and energy strategies.

Mayor’s office will make Sutton Incinerator decision, tomorrow

The Mayor’s office (1) is due to make a final decision on the Viridor Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) incinerator in Sutton tomorrow afternoon, Wednesday 21st August. The proposed incinerator if given the go ahead will burn waste from four London boroughs (Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton and Sutton). London Assembly Member Jenny Jones has strongly urged the Mayor to reject this application in her letter (2) and then followed up with a Mayor’s question (3)

Jenny Jones said:

“Building a giant incinerator on metropolitan open land is not only contrary to the Mayor’s own planning policies and his waste hierachy, but it’s a recipe for a disaster for wildlife and local residents who will be exposed to unacceptable levels of air pollution coming from the chimney stacks”

“The Mayor has an opportunity to reject this proposal tomorrow. A rejection will send a clear signal to the waste industry and councils that signing new contracts that will see hundreds of thousands of tonnes of perfectly recyclable waste burned is completely unacceptable”

1) In Boris Johnson’s absence, Edward Lister the Mayor of London’s Deputy Mayor for Planning will make the decision on behalf of the Mayor of London.

2) Jenny Jones’s letter of objection to Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson
Mayor of London
City Hall
The Queen’s Walk
London SE1 2AA

29th May 2013

Beddington Farmlands Waste Management Facility
Planning application No: D2012/66220

I am very concerned at the type of waste facility proposed at the existing landfill and recycling site in Beddington. Specifically, its detrimental impact on the natural environment, on local air quality, and on undermining the waste hierarchy.

Metropolitan Open Land: this is an inappropriate development on Metropolitan Open Land and contrary to London Plan policy 7.7 which gives MOL the strongest protection.

Air Quality: Contrary to London Plan policy 7.14, the development proposal will lead to further deterioration of local air quality from both vehicle movements associated with the delivery of waste and removal of ash, and from the flue gases emitted through the chimney stacks, particularly as this is already an Air Quality Management Area.

Biodiversity and conservation: The site is of exceptional importance for birds in London, with nationally important populations of several species and one of the longest species lists in London (82 bird species were recorded at the Beddington SMI during the 2011 breeding season). As a Metropolitan wildlife site, it is part of the key strategic framework for biodiversity described in policy 7.19 and is in the Mayor’s Biodiversity Strategy. The scheme will result in the permanent loss of wildlife habitat and a change in absolute character of the Beddington Farmland. It also does not address the issues of the failed Conservation Management Plan and current decline in the conservation target species. It is therefore contrary to London Plan policy 2.18 and 7.19.

Waste issues:
The Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) is a combined heat and power incinerator proposed by Viridor, the South London Waste Partnership’s preferred bidder for the treatment of four London council’s (Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton and Sutton) with a maximum waste capacity of 302,000 tonnes per annum (tpa). According to Viridor they expect to incinerate 200,000 tpa of residual municipal waste collected from households from the partnership area.

Type of waste facility: The Mayor’s London Plan (para 5.86) policy on energy recovery from waste states that ‘energy recovery should be carried out through advanced conversion techniques, ie gasification, pyrolysis or anaerobic digestion’. The ERF is therefore contrary to this policy.

Residual waste: Only genuine ‘residual waste’, the element that cannot be recycled or composted, should be considered for energy generation. However, as the South London Waste Plan has not set out plans to maximise recycling/composting targets, which according to the Scottish Government and Welsh Assembly are in the region of 70 per cent, or even 80 per cent according to the Friends of the Earth, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of recyclable and compostable material will be incinerated over the period of the contract. 

The resolution passed in May 2012 by the European Parliament calling for a limit on incineration with energy recovery to ‘non-recyclable materials only’ by 2020 needs to be taken into consideration. Particularly as it is likely to pave the way for far more ambitious and stringent incineration polices in the forthcoming review of the EU Waste Framework Directive, and within the lifetime envisaged in this application. 

Waste capacity and 30 year contract: Whilst incineration may offer the easiest alternative to landfill and avoiding escalating landfill charges, this short term solution, will have long term detrimental consequences. It won’t provide incentives to maximise recycling/composting rates, nor will it discourage unsorted residual household black bag waste. Instead, vast amounts of climate changing carbon dioxide and pollution will be produced and valuable natural resources that could be recycled will be incinerated.

Greenhouse gas emissions and carbon intensity floor assessments (CIF): Viridor’s ERF plan does not offer significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Their ‘Needs Assessment and Carbon Balance’ document only compares the ERF to the landfill site, not other available waste treatment options such as recycling, reuse or other renewable energy sources. The Working out of CIF is based on the displacement of gas, however, well within the lifetime of the plant renewable energy is very likely to outstrip gas as the major supplier. There is a good chance the ERF could be displacing and preventing energy that could come from more environmentally friendly options.

For the reasons set out above, I strongly urge you to direct refusal.

Jenny Jones
Green Party Member of the London Assembly

3) Mayor’s Question submitted for 19th June Mayor’s Question Time

Sutton incinerator 
Question by Jenny Jones AM:
The proposed Energy Recovery Facility in Beddington, Sutton, will incinerate hundreds of thousands of tonnes of recyclable waste over the period of the contract. A resolution passed in May 2012 by the European Parliament called for incineration with energy recovery to be limited to ‘non-recyclable materials only’ by 2020. As this is may pave the way for far more stringent incineration polices within the lifetime of the proposed facility, following the forthcoming review of the EU Waste Framework Directive, will you consider this as a material consideration in your forthcoming Stage II decision?

Answer from Boris Johnson:
I was consulted on the planning application for the energy from waste facility at Beddington Lane and provided my initial comments on 20 September 2012. I raised a number of issues relating to waste planning, Metropolitan Open Lane, biodiversity, sustainable development, design, air quality and transport. I am aware that the Council has resolved to grant consent and that the application is due to be referred back to me once the section 106 is drafted, therefore I cannot comment specifically about the merits of this proposal.


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1 comment:

Hyman said...

This is great!

Standing up for what matters