Green campaigner Shasha Khan, dubbed Croydon’s Green Knight, explains why he spent years fighting plans to site an incinerator in the borough and continues to protest.
“If you’ve driven along Beddington Lane recently to go to Asda or Wickes, you might have noticed a huge construction site which dominates the nature reserve known as Beddington Farmlands. Some describe the construct as an Energy from Waste plant. I prefer to call it an incinerator, as does the Environment Agency who issued a permit for incineration to Viridor, the waste contractor that won the £1billion contract to operate the site.
“The incinerator will burn all the domestic, commercial and industrial rubbish that is collected in Croydon, Sutton, Kingston and Merton and beyond for 25 years. This includes any recyclables which end up in black bin bags.
“In 2018, when the site becomes operational, an off white gas will be spewing out from its twin 100 metre chimneys. Much of the gas is water vapour, but even Viridor’s own Air Quality and Human Health Assessment report identifies nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, arsenic, mercury, lead and carbon monoxide as air pollutants within the plume.
“Furthermore, the prevailing north westerly winds mean much of the air pollutants and harmful ultrafine particles will be dumped over Thornton Heath.
“Barely a week goes by without another fact about air pollution. The latest statistic is 40,000 people die prematurely due to dirty air. What if it was dirty water?
“You may be asking was there any attempt to stop the incinerator? Well over the last eight and a half years a number of us battled hard, risking arrest at times, but sadly in 2013 a High Court challenge I led was defeated.”
Action continues and a protest is planned for May 10. For more info visit stoptheincinerator.co.uk.
Pictures above show Shasha Khan at the High Court and the likely pollution plume.