21 December 2015 by Daisy Phillipson

Construction work begins at Beddington ERF

Waste and resources firm Viridor has officially commenced construction of its £205 million energy recovery facility (ERF) at Beddington, south London.

(l-r): Gavin McKevitt, Lagan Construction Group, Rob Tubb, Viridor, Terry Paton, South London Waste Partnership

(l-r): Gavin McKevitt, Lagan Construction Group, Rob Tubb, Viridor, Terry Paton, South London Waste Partnership

Representatives of the South London Waste Partnership and Lagan Construction Group were welcomed on 1 December 2015 to mark the start of the site building, which is due to be up and running in 2018.

The plant will convert 300,000 tonnes of household residual waste from Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton in 26 MW of electricity – enough to power around 50,000 homes.

It will also have the capacity to export heat from the process to the local area and will be developed to support the Sutton Decentralised Energy Network – an initiative created by the council to use heat that would otherwise go to waste.

Contract

The four London councils to benefit for the ERF are part of the South London Waste Partnership.

Viridor signed a 25-year, £990 million contract to treat residual waste on behalf of the four councils in 2012, which will see the company handle up to 300,000 tonnes of residual waste annually (see letsrecycle.com story).

As part of the contract Viridor planned the ERF to be built on the corner of the existing waste management hub which currently includes recycling transfer capabilities and an existing landfill site due to close in 2017 after 16 years in operation.

Controversy

Sutton council originally granted Viridor planning permission for the facility to begin construction in 2014. However, the project was delayed as the site falls within a Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) area.

Protest group Stop the South London Incinerator, led by Croydon Green Party parliamentary candidate Shasha Khan, bought a legal challenge against Sutton council after it formally issued Viridor planning permission.

Artist's impression of Viridor's proposed Beddington ERF

Artist’s impression of Viridor’s proposed Beddington ERF

Despite the protest, a senior judge at the Royal Courts of Justice ruled in favour of the facility earlier this year (April 2015).

Progress

Alan Cumming, capital projects director for Viridor said: “It is fantastic that we are making such progress on the Beddington Energy Recovery Facility project. It will secure a sustainable waste management solution for the South London Waste Partnership over the next 25 years. The project will benefit the local community too; supporting over 400 jobs during the construction phase and deliver robust local spending.”

Councillor Terry Paton, vice chair of the South London Waste Partnership, said: “Today is a milestone in the creation of an Energy Recovery Facility which will save the public a significant amount of money and reduce methane and CO2 emissions.

“When the ERF is up and running in 2018, CO2 emissions will reduce by 128,000 tonnes each year and it will not create the methane gas that comes from the landfill. Through benefits such as avoiding expensive landfill taxes, Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton will also save £200 million over 25 years – that’s money that can be used protect frontline services at a time when our council budgets are being severely cut.”

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