Open land policy could prevent Beddington Lane incinerator
Planning policy on the protection of Metropolitan Open Land could be the biggest stumbling block to a proposed waste incinerator.
Public consultation was opened last week on waste management company Viridor’s plans to build an incinerator in Beddington Lane on the border of the borough.
The plans have been a source of controversy with campaigners against the scheme concerned about health risks from emissions, increased traffic and damage to the environment.
Sutton Council's planning department will assess the application and have said existing planning policy will be crucial in discussing the merits of the scheme.
A council spokesman said: "Sutton Council is required by law to decide applications in accordance with local, regional and national planning policies, unless 'material considerations' indicate otherwise. "Material considerations include issues like traffic, noise, design, metropolitan open land and safety."
Council sources revealed objections to the fact the application is for a site which is designated to be parkland in 2022 could hold more weight than concerns about public health.
4000 letters have been posted to residents in both Croydon and Sutton surrounding the site advising them of how they can comment on the plans.
The site is designated as Metropolitan Open Land, which carries conservation protection rules similar to Green Belt land.
Viridor, as part of its application, would take control of the site until 2042, an additional 20 years of waste management at the site.
The company, in the application, recognises the importance of the Metropolitan Open Land protection policy but points to "very special circumstances" that should allow waste management to continue, including the precedent of the land already being used to handle waste, and an "urgent need to divert residual waste arisings from landfill."
Environmental planning concerns will be dealt with primarily by the Environment Agency, who must issue an Environment Permit to allow the facility to operate .
Campaigners against the incinerator have already begun raising funds for a legal challenge should planning permission be granted.
Members of the Stop the Incinerator campaign believe they will need at least £5,000 to fight the plan Dave Pettener, from Waddon, said: "With the planning application having now been submitted we urgently need to raise funds to launch a legal challenge." Consultation is set to run to mid September; a date has yet to be set for when the plan will go before Sutton Planning committee but it is unlikely to be before the end of the year.
Comment on the application at firstname.lastname@example.org or at sutton.gov.uk quoting planning reference D2012/66220/FUL