Our local MP Tom Brake has published his opinion on the Beddington Farmlands incinerator here :
TOM BRAKE BEDDINGTON FARMLANDS ERF STATEMENT
A response to Tom's points here:
Incineration is better than landfill
Yes indeed. However the EU waste directive 2008 introduced a waste hierarchy which puts incineration as one of the worst possible options for dealing with waste (below 1-5, most favourable to least favourable)
1) Prevention (using less material in design and manufactering),
2) Preparing for re-use (e.g. refurbishment),
4) Other recovery (including pyrolysis, anaerobic digestion and also incineration with energy recovery)
5) Landfill and incineration without energy recovery.
The Regional Park will still be Progressed
The Regional Park at Beddington Farmlands was originally due to be completed in 2015 (next year) complete with public access, hides, footpaths, cycle paths and a mosaic of habitats that met Biodiversity Action Plan targets providing a regionally important resource for people and nature.
The incinerator applicant has overseen a period of delayed restoration and also a near complete failure of the conservation management plan which has resulted in the extinction or near extinction of the majority of important wildlife on site.
Considering the applicant has failed to meet earlier planning conditions and the local authority have failed to enforce those conditions, any current promises to develop the park have very little substance.
Provision of heat for 30,000 homes
The CHP network to provide heat for homes is at a very undeveloped stage and is not certain to come about. Environmental statements have not even been produced for the route of the pipeline as those routes have not been finalised so basic preliminary planning has not even started.
A district heat network was also promised as part of an ERF project in Southwark which was given permission for 10 years ago- that district heat network has not yet materialised.
Savings to local authorities of £4.5 + million a year
Yes but dealing with waste with options higher up the EU waste directive would also save that same money and have less negative impact on the environment.
The establishment of a community fund (£350,000 lump sum payments and £15,000 a year)
The ERF contract is worth £990 million (call it a billion) and will cost £200 million to build. The ERF is being built on public land due to be returned for the Wandle Valley Regional Park. The Environmental Statement clearly states that the ERF will change the fundamental character of the park and the ERF is due to be built on the most important nature habitat on site (an area proposed for wet grassland). The ERF will unequivocally have a negative impact on the Regional Park.
The community fund represents a 0.035% in the contract value for the public. 1.6 million people were estimated to be using the Regional Park resource so that's about 2p each.
The community fund has been described as offering people confectionery in exchange for increased air pollution and damage to the regional park. In short, the community fund is completely inadequate and is a tiny fraction of what financial contribution would be required to offset some of the negative impacts that the ERF will create.
Incinerators are safe to human health
This is still a matter of heated debate. Birth defects and cancer have been linked to incinerators in certain studies.
The scientific community are not in complete agreement about the risks to human health and considering incineration is so low down the EU waste directive priorities it doesn't make any sense at all to take the risk when safer options are available. (Options that also do not involve so much destruction to wildlife habitat).
The incinerator applicant have near completely failed in meeting previous environmental obligations (related to the conservation management plan) so it is unwise to trust them with the air quality for the population of South London.
Omissions will be monitored by the environmental agency to monitor air quality safety
Environmental conditions have been monitored at Beddington Farmlands for the past 15 years and the monitoring has documented a decline in most of the targets for conservation and restoration targets for the regional park. The local authority representatives have commented that even though breaches in conditions are occurring they cannot afford to take Viridor to court to enforce the conditions.
The track record of the applicant and the enforcement bodies cannot be trusted to uphold environmental standards based on past experience.
A bit more on the negative impact on the ERF here: