SLWP to fight Beddington expansion during consultation

The South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) hopes a public consultation will convince the Environment Agency to reject Viridor’s bid to increase the capacity of its Beddington plant.

If the expansion is approved, Viridor's Beddington EfW plant will have a capacity of 382,000 tonnes

Viridor has treated the South London councils’ residual waste at its energy from waste (EfW) plant on Beddington Lane, Croydon, since the facility opened in 2019.

In 2020, the Agency allowed Viridor to increase the capacity of the Beddington EfW by 15%, from 302,500 to 347,000 tonnes per year, to maximise the facility’s “efficiency”.

Then, in December 2021, Viridor again applied to the Agency to increase the amount of waste the plant can process to 382,000 tonnes per year.

The SLWP vowed to oppose this further expansion, citing concerns around traffic congestion and vehicle emissions (see story).

In February, the SLWP began exploring what “leverage” it had to influence the regulator’s decision, concluding it was “limited” given the plant was a commercial facility. However, the SLWP then started looking into previous alteration permits granted by the Agency and “the likelihood of public consultation influencing the decision”.

Minutes from an SLWP committee meeting which took place last month show the councils expect the Agency to consider Viridor’s application a “substantial variation” to the waste management company’s permit. This means the regulator will run a public consultation on the application, which the SLWP expects to take place this autumn.

The minutes read: “The SLWP continues to work with the EA and Viridor in order to explore how we can raise awareness in the local community of the consultation (at the appropriate time), and provide opportunities for residents to better understand and interact with the consultation process.”

Diesel storage tank

Meanwhile, the SLWP also discussed Viridor’s planning application for a new diesel storage tank at the Beddington site at the meeting in July (see story).

Red diesel
Viridor needs the new tank to comply with a recent change in law which means the waste management company can no longer use red diesel (picture: Shutterstock)

The new tank would sit alongside an existing one. It is needed to help Viridor comply with a recent change in law which means the waste management company can no longer use red diesel.

The new tank would store white diesel, while the existing tank would be re-purposed to store a specialist fuel called ‘furnace flame’, which the SLWP says is used to support EfW operations during start-ups.

At a meeting on 8 June, Sutton council deferred a decision on the application, “due a late representation that needed to be considered”. The council will take its decision at an unspecified future date.

The minutes from the SLWP’s own meeting in July read: “Members agreed that Viridor’s carbon reduction ambitions were welcome, but drew attention that carbon was not the only pollutant emitted from the Beddington site.

“It was confirmed that the SLWP had written to Viridor asking them to reconsider this decision and to explore other options.

“The Partnership Director added that the SLWP would have liked to have been more sighted on the Viridor application.”

The diesel storage tank planning application is unconnected with Viridor’s application to increase capacity at the Beddington EfW plant.

South London

Formed in 2003, the SLWP is made up of four local councils – Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton – who work together to provide waste management services to their residents.

Earlier this month, the SLWP said it was to penalise Viridor over exceeding emissions limits between May and June (see story).

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