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BBC's 'Urban Birder' Dave Lindo speaks of South London Incinerator heartbreak
A BBC presenter has branded plans to build an incinerator on Beddington parkland "devastating".
David Lindo, better known as the Urban Birder on his regular One Show slots, said he was a regular visitor to Beddington Farmlands as it is home to more than 100 species of birds and described it as "a giant in the London birding scene".
How the incinerator will look by night
But he has criticised plans to build an energy recovery facility (ERF), which will burn waste from Sutton, Croydon, Merton and Kingston to produce heat and electricity, in Beddington Lane amid fears it will harm local bird populations, which he says are already in decline.
Sutton Council and the Greater London Authority have given waste management company Viridor planning permission to build the ERF on a site off Beddington Lane. It will replace the existing landfill site, which will be converted into parkland, as was the original agreement when the landfill site was originally built.
Campaign group Stop the Incinerator fear the incinerator will emit harmful pollution and say the site should be wholly given over to parkland.
Mr Lindo said: "My heart sank when I heard that the council, GLA and the Secretary of State have sanctioned the construction of the incinerator at Beddington Farmlands. This news is simply devastating.
"I used to regularly watch birds at this amazing site since the early 80's. To this day, it still remains a giant in the London birding scene and an important area for wildlife in general.
"Unfortunately, its fantastic potential as a major site for Londoners and for youngsters especially to learn about the beauty of nature has already been blighted. Beddington Farmland's nationally renowned tree sparrow colony - a rare species in the UK - is already in steep decline.
"We cannot stand by and let this wonderful area be destroyed. Everybody needs to get behind the Stop The Incinerator campaign. I am."
Peter Alfrey, a member of the Beddington Farmlands Bird Group, said the area's tree sparrow population has gone from 1,000 in 2007 to just 15 this year after Viridor felled trees used by the birds for roosting.
A tree sparrow
The plant will burn up to 302,500 tonnes of non-hazardous rubbish at the plant each year and will generate up to 26mw of electricity which will go back into the National Grid. It will also create heat and Sutton Council plans to set up its own company to distribute the heat to the nearby Felnex development.
Stop the Incinerator plans to challenge the decision to grant planning permission to the site via a judicial review and has enlisted the help of Labour leader Ed Miliband's lawyer wife Justine Thornton and campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, who successfully convinced the Bank of England to include Jane Austin on the new £10 note.
The planned site of the incinerator
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