Viridor has applied to the Environment Agency to expand the capacity of the plant by 10% to 382,000 tonnes.
The company said that by doing so it will be able to treat waste from other areas of London and the south east — where “large quantities” of waste are still sent to landfill — without causing environmental harm to the wider area.
The move by Viridor follows a similar step it took in December 2020, to increase the capacity then by 15% to 347,422 tonnes.
The SLWP, which manages waste on behalf of Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton, issued a statement this morning (26 January) where it said it was “disappointed” Viridor has made the application just over a year since it last applied to increase capacity.
The SLWP said it was concerned about the impact any increase in capacity at the Beddington facility would have on local traffic congestion and vehicle emissions.
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 in this time.
We are disappointed that Viridor is making this application
A spokesperson for the SLWP said 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”.
The spokesperson added: “As a partnership we will want to fully understand the implications that this increase would have on traffic movements and emissions. We expect the Environment Agency to view this as a ‘Substantial Variation’ to the permit, which means there will be a period of consultation, most likely taking place in summer 2022.
“This will be an important opportunity for local residents and stakeholders to review the technical information that has been submitted by Viridor in support of the application, and share feedback with the Environment Agency directly, who will ultimately make the decision on whether to approve the application or not.”
This will enable waste to move higher up the waste hierarchy
A spokesperson from Viridor however said the company had undertaken “extensive reviews of the performance” of the plant, which concluded it will be able to process more waste.
This can be done without “causing negative impacts to the surrounding environment or the operating efficiency of the plant”.
The spokesperson added: “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 ERF’s 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 produces electricity.”
Viridor’s plans for Beddington have surfaced as the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) formally signs a contract with Acciona to build the new Edmonton plant, with more than 700,000 tonnes of capacity.
Other plants in London see Cory operating a plant in Belvedere, south east London, and it has a second plant approved. Combined, these would have a capacity of more than 1.1 million tonnes.
Veolia also operates the South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP) plant in Lewisham. Some London waste also goes to the Viridor/Grundon plant just over the West London border in Colnbrook.