Concern Over Traffic if Beddington Incinerator Boosts Capacity

Increase in lorries driving through the area likely

The Beddington Incinerator
The Beddington Incinerator. Picture: Viridor

February 28, 2022

Plans to burn thousands more tonnes of waste a year at Beddington incinerator has sparked fears of an increase in traffic through Merton.

The change would mean more waste, including rubbish from other parts of the country, would be sent to the site.

The centre is used by boroughs that are part of the South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) : Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston. Known as the “energy recovery facility,” general waste is incinerated rather than sent to landfill.

At a SLWP meeting on Thursday (24 February) night, Merton councillor Natasha Irons said, “We ultimately have that site to deal with waste from the partnership and it is in a location that’s sensitive. We want to control the traffic around there and the kind of vehicles that are going in there.

“For all we know that extra capacity is going for other commercial ventures that we have no control over.

“[With the incinerator] being in the heart of the partnership, I don’t think it is fair to carry that burden for Viridor to reap that benefit.”

And Sutton councillor Ben Andrew echoed the concerns about an increase in traffic. He said, “The objection is really traffic and congestion. Most people don’t notice the ERF, there is a thorough cleaning process of what comes out of the chimney so I wouldn’t want to accidental alarm people without being clear what the concerns are.

“We want to be super clear this is about traffic and congestion, it is a big deal and has an impact on air quality.”

Viridor, which runs the facility, has applied to the Environment Agency to process up to 382,000 tonnes of rubbish a year.

When it was originally proposed, the initial capacity was 275,000 tonnes a year, though the facility could process 302,500 tonnes a year, and this was increased to 347,000 a year in 2020.

A spokesperson for Viridor said, “As part of the planning permission for the Beddington ERF, traffic assessments were completed to assess the potential impact of the facility on the existing road network.

“These assessments factor in predicted traffic volumes over the years that the ERF will be operational to ensure there is no significant impact to local road network, the projected vehicle numbers associated with the permit variation are included within these original assessments.

“All vehicles travelling to the Beddington ERF are not permitted to travel through Beddington village unless they are collecting waste from homes in Beddington or Hackbridge.”

Tara O'Connor - Local Democracy Reporter