BBC's 'Urban Birder' Dave Lindo speaks of South London Incinerator heartbreak

Sutton Guardian: 'Urban Birder' Dave Lindo 'Urban Birder' Dave Lindo

A BBC presenter has branded plans to build an incinerator on Beddington parkland "devastating".

David Lindo, better known as the Urban Birder on his regular One Show slots, said he was a regular visitor to Beddington Farmlands as it is home to more than 100 species of birds and described it as "a giant in the London birding scene".

Sutton Guardian: How the proposed incinerator could look by night

How the incinerator will look by night

But he has criticised plans to build an energy recovery facility (ERF), which will burn waste from Sutton, Croydon, Merton and Kingston to produce heat and electricity, in Beddington Lane amid fears it will harm local bird populations, which he says are already in decline.

Sutton Council and the Greater London Authority have given waste management company Viridor planning permission to build the ERF on a site off Beddington Lane. It will replace the existing landfill site, which will be converted into parkland, as was the original agreement when the landfill site was originally built.

Campaign group Stop the Incinerator fear the incinerator will emit harmful pollution and say the site should be wholly given over to parkland.

Mr Lindo said: "My heart sank when I heard that the council, GLA and the Secretary of State have sanctioned the construction of the incinerator at Beddington Farmlands. This news is simply devastating.

"I used to regularly watch birds at this amazing site since the early 80's. To this day, it still remains a giant in the London birding scene and an important area for wildlife in general.

"Unfortunately, its fantastic potential as a major site for Londoners and for youngsters especially to learn about the beauty of nature has already been blighted. Beddington Farmland's nationally renowned tree sparrow colony - a rare species in the UK - is already in steep decline.

"We cannot stand by and let this wonderful area be destroyed. Everybody needs to get behind the Stop The Incinerator campaign. I am."

Peter Alfrey, a member of the Beddington Farmlands Bird Group, said the area's tree sparrow population has gone from 1,000 in 2007 to just 15 this year after Viridor felled trees used by the birds for roosting.

Sutton Guardian: The tree sparrow

A tree sparrow

The plant will burn up to 302,500 tonnes of non-hazardous rubbish at the plant each year and will generate up to 26mw of electricity which will go back into the National Grid. It will also create heat and Sutton Council plans to set up its own company to distribute the heat to the nearby Felnex development.

Stop the Incinerator plans to challenge the decision to grant planning permission to the site via a judicial review and has enlisted the help of Labour leader Ed Miliband's lawyer wife Justine Thornton and campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, who successfully convinced the Bank of England to include Jane Austin on the new £10 note.

The planned site of the incinerator

Comments (5)

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12:08pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Rael00 says...

Very cynical of Viridor to cut down the preferred nesting areas for the Tree Sparrow. This is the same company that like to highlight their environmental credentials in their propaganda videos! This development will result in around 1/3 of the promised wetlands being lost which will have a catastrophic affect on the bird life of this critical breeding site. Everyone can help fund a Judicial Review by donating at www.StopTheIncinerat
or.co.uk.
Very cynical of Viridor to cut down the preferred nesting areas for the Tree Sparrow. This is the same company that like to highlight their environmental credentials in their propaganda videos! This development will result in around 1/3 of the promised wetlands being lost which will have a catastrophic affect on the bird life of this critical breeding site. Everyone can help fund a Judicial Review by donating at www.StopTheIncinerat or.co.uk. Rael00

1:04pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Charlotte Davies says...

If you don't care about the birds think about how the pollution will affect the most vulnerable in our Society.
If you don't care about the birds think about how the pollution will affect the most vulnerable in our Society. Charlotte Davies

4:25pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Krissi says...

typical of these type of companies all they really seem to care about is how can they profit from whatever they do rather than about how to minimise the effect they have in the surrounding area which they already have made what to me seems a disastrous impact- or it is for the birds- we really should think harder when allowing this kind of development in an area known for both it's wildlife and also for it's beautiful parks - I seem to remember when I lived in Beddington the complaints about the smell from the sewage works yet this promises not just smells but probably fine clouds of ash which may be invisible to the human eye- and it will generate extra traffic in an area which has quite enough trouble with it as it is
typical of these type of companies all they really seem to care about is how can they profit from whatever they do rather than about how to minimise the effect they have in the surrounding area which they already have made what to me seems a disastrous impact- or it is for the birds- we really should think harder when allowing this kind of development in an area known for both it's wildlife and also for it's beautiful parks - I seem to remember when I lived in Beddington the complaints about the smell from the sewage works yet this promises not just smells but probably fine clouds of ash which may be invisible to the human eye- and it will generate extra traffic in an area which has quite enough trouble with it as it is Krissi

2:01pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Michael Pantlin says...

Don't be fooled by the artist's manipulated impression that makes it look like a couple of tiny chimneys atop the incinerator building. In fact the chimneys are freestanding and are set way behind the building. They are about the height of the nearby IKEA preserved chimneys and the stuff coming out of them 24/7 is smoke but particles too small for your lungs to filter. The incinerator project looks to me like a slowly evolving train crash of a mistake. It certainly won't ease my severe chronic asthma or my cancers.
Don't be fooled by the artist's manipulated impression that makes it look like a couple of tiny chimneys atop the incinerator building. In fact the chimneys are freestanding and are set way behind the building. They are about the height of the nearby IKEA preserved chimneys and the stuff coming out of them 24/7 is smoke but particles too small for your lungs to filter. The incinerator project looks to me like a slowly evolving train crash of a mistake. It certainly won't ease my severe chronic asthma or my cancers. Michael Pantlin

9:40pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Shasha Khan says...

It would be interesting to see how Viridor respond?
It would be interesting to see how Viridor respond? Shasha Khan

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