Campaigners lose incinerator appeal, refuse to give up

Stop the incinerator campaigners. Pic: Emmet Simpson

Green activists have lost a seven-year battle to stop an incinerator from being built in Croydon, after the High Court threw out their appeal on Tuesday.

Shasha Khan of the Green Party, who is running in the coming general election to represent Croydon North in Westminster, said he was “very down, very disappointed” at the court decision. He started the Stop the Incinerator campaign seven years ago and started legal proceedings last year.

Barristers are exploring if the European Court of Human Rights will now hear this case.

The incinerator is to be built by Viridor Waste at a cost of £1 billion in Beddington Farmlands, two miles west of the centre of Croydon.

Campaigners fear the incinerator’s emissions could be harmful to both humans and wildlife. It would burn an estimated 302,000 tonnes of waste each year for 25 years. Incinerators have a bigger carbon footprint than coal-fired power station and therefore pose a bigger threat to the environment.

Activists also object to the site of the incinerator, which they say form part of the protected Wandle Valley Regional Park.

The court appeal included procedural errors by Sutton Council, which approved the building of the incinerator, over its waster policy and the lack of an environmental impact study. This and other arguments were dismissed by the judge.

On Wednesday, Croydon Advertiser reported that Labour Party officials apparently tried to make a secret deal with the Greens, by asking Khan and other Green Party members to run as independents during council elections last year.

In return, Labour would pull out of the South London Waste Partnership, an agreement between Croydon and three other boroughs that led to the plan for the incinerator.

Khan reportedly turned down the offer. Labour won the council, but stuck to the plans since pulling out of the contract would have cost between £60 million and £80 million.

Labour Party has dismissed suggestions of a secret deal.

Activists have announced they will not give up until construction begins. If the European Court dismisses their case, the Surpreme Court could be next.

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