In January, the South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) – which manages waste on behalf of Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton – vowed to oppose any further expansion of the facility (see letsrecycle.com story).
A spokesperson for Viridor told letsrecycle.com the company had applied to vary its permit to enable “enhanced operations” at the Beddington facility.
The company says that, by increasing the capacity of the plant, it will be able to treat waste from other areas of London and the south east where “large quantities” are still sent to landfill, without causing environmental harm to the wider area.
The waste management company has applied to the Agency to apply for the increased limit along with other minor operational adjustments. The regulator has now launched a consultation to run until 23 December.
The Viridor spokesperson told letsrecycle.com they had submitted the application for a permit variation following “extensive reviews” of the Beddington facility’s performance which concluded it was able to “treat additional waste safely and in full compliance with the site permit”.
“The emissions limits applied to the permit will remain unchanged under this variation,” the spokesperson said.
“As a region, the South East and greater London area continues to see an increase in residual waste volumes with large quantities either being exported to European energy recovery facilities or directed to UK landfill.
“If approved this variation will enable waste to move higher up the waste hierarchy by diverting it away from landfill, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and produce vital energy from what remains.”
An Environment Agency spokesperson said when launching the consultation: “An environmental permit sets out stringent conditions that all waste sites must adhere to.
“We will not issue an environmental permit for a site if we consider that activities taking place will cause significant pollution to the environment or harm to human health.
“Public consultation lets people and organisations take part in our decision making. We welcome specifically, comments on environmental and health issues and where people have particular local knowledge.”
The SLWP named Viridor as preferred bidder for the facility in 2011 (see letsrecycle.com story) and approved the plant the following year, with a then capacity of 275,000 tonnes.
If the final capacity increase is approved, it means the capacity of the plant would have grown by more than 100,000 tonnes since then.
When Viridor notified the SLWP of the most recent plant to increase capacity, this was met with disappointment.
A spokesperson for the SLWP said at the time that whilst it recognises the need for additional capacity in London and the south east, “we are concerned about the impact any increase in capacity at the Beddington facility would have on local traffic congestion and vehicle emissions.”