Stars lose High Court challenge on Croydon incinerator

Mark Butcher Image copyright PA
Image caption Former England cricketer Mark Butcher grew up near the proposed site

A campaign which has the support of former England cricketer Mark Butcher and JLS singer JB Gill has failed in a bid to stop an incinerator from being built in south London.

The group, which was represented by Ed Miliband's barrister wife Justine Thornton, objects to the proposed development near Croydon.

It said Sutton Council had unlawfully acted in approving the waste burner.

But the High Court rejected all grounds of the challenge.

Ms Thornton had told Mrs Justice Patterson that the council had failed to ensure its planning discretion was not influenced by "contractual considerations" for the burner, which will be at Beddington Farmlands, about two miles west of the centre of Croydon.

'Appalling air quality'

She said as well as being the local waste planning authority, the authority was also a member of a consortium "in a contractual relationship with the developer of the waste development under challenge".

Image copyright Viridor
Image caption The plant will process about 275,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste each year

Ms Thornton said another judge, Mr Justice Collins, who gave permission for the legal challenge to go ahead, had noted that "the potential conflict of interest in Sutton's two roles is obvious".

But Mrs Justice Patterson ruled that the planning authority's decision was lawful and properly justified.

Mr Butcher, who was born in Croydon, said: "When I heard about the incinerator I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing.

"It seems every week news reports indicate that London's air quality is appalling, so it seems crazy that the authorities have approved an incinerator that affects the residents of my hometown of Croydon."

However, the judge upheld the view of the project developer, Viridor Waste (Thames) Ltd, which was given permission for the incinerator in March, that the complaints were "without substance".

She also refused to give permission for a judicial review.

Council budgets

Sutton Council said it was delighted with the decision and that it would ensure the development adheres to the planning permission.

South London Waste Partnership said: "Beddington landfill site is almost full and is costing more and more money as the government increases landfill tax to encourage local authorities to use more sustainable ways of disposing of waste."

It added: "What's more the majority of the landfill site will be turned into a new green space with wildlife warden so that over 10 years the area will become a haven for nature.

"Altogether, this new approach will save the four council's an estimated £200m over 25 years which can be better spent on helping people that need our support at a time when council budgets are being cut."

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