Campaigners have taken the first legal steps to stop the Croydon incinerator, signing papers to start the early stages of a judicial review.
The ‘Stop the incinerator’ campaign hopes to defeat the plans for the incinerator, which is planned on the border of Croydon and Sutton, or at least delay the start of construction until after local elections in May, with hopes that potential new councillors will not let the plans go ahead.
If the plans go ahead the incinerator will be part of the South London Waste Partnership between Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston. It could burn up to 275,000 tonnes of waste a year.
Campaigners believe the facility poses serious risks to public health, citing studies linking incinerators to increased rates of cancer, birth defects and infant mortality.
The incinerator is being also being built on a site that is supposed to be protected from development, as it is both; Metropolitan Open Land and a site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation.
According to Sutton Council, it has followed all the correct procedures.
But Shasha Khan, a long standing member of the campaign, said: “The legal process technically can’t commence until a formal decision has been made by Sutton council.”
Sutton council has yet to announce the decision. The council’s decision is expected by the end of the month, once final negotiations are completed.
A spokesperson for Sutton Council said: “Sutton council has approved the application. Such is the scale of the project, both the Mayor of London and Secretary of State for the Environment had to give their consent. It is understood that the actual approval is being held up by the Section 106 agreement, it is a formality though.”
Khan, who is leading the campaign, said that even though the campaign has engulfed his and his fellow campaigners lives, he was happy to do so: “We all constantly observe unjust decisions being taken by authorities, both local and national, which ignore the needs of the people, and instead favour the interests of big business. The incinerator is one such decision.”
So far the campaign has raised an estimated £3,500, but legal costs could amount up to £30,000-£40,000.