Sadiq Khan confirms judicial review into incinerator across river from Rainham
PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 August 2020
A judicial review into a controversial decision to rubber-stamp a new waste-burning incinerator on the banks of the River Thames across from Rainham has been granted.
In correspondence sent to Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas and seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan confirmed a review into the incinerator at Belvedere will be held in October after his appeal to the High Court was approved.
In his letter, the mayor states the initial decision to approve was “made in haste” and failed to address the potential environmental impact of the project.
He added “building another waste incinerator will worsen London’s already toxic air quality and will have detrimental impacts on local biodiversity”.
READ MORE: London mayor joins Dagenham and Rainham MP in calling for incinerator plans to be scrapped
The judicial review is the last opportunity to object against the proposal, and comes after the Secretary of State earlier this year approved the plans following a government inquiry in 2019.
Mr Cruddas said: “How the Tories thought they could get away with this I do not know, pushing through plans which will seriously reduce air quality for thousands of people at a time when we are facing a respiratory crisis beggars belief.
“This latest news is a real win for local people who have fought with me since the beginning, but the fight isn’t over yet.”
Energy-from-waste experts Cory Riverside Energy had applied for permission for a second incinerator to be built at its Belvedere base as part of its plans to create the Riverside Energy Park.
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Cory says the development will divert up to 805,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from landfill and convert it into low-carbon renewable electricity.
The firm has previously praised the expansion, saying it would play an important role in boosting the amount of electricity it could pump into a power grid.
However, it has faced long-running opposition from nearby communities and their politicians over concerns it would negatively impact air quality on both sides of the Thames, as well as at the nearby Crossness Nature Reserve.
Erith and Thamesmead’s Abena-Oppong-Asare, whose constituency includes the Belvedere site, said she believed the high levels of air pollution across London “should be considered a public health emergency” which should be addressed before new projects like the incinerator were approved.
“Our efforts should be on tackling existing environmental issues not adding to them with the development of a second incinerator,” she said.
She added the judicial review was a “testimony” to constituents who had campaigned against the development.
READ MORE: Rainham and Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas’s petition opposes plans for Bexley Energy Park over air quality concerns
Cory Riverside Energy have previously rejected allegations the project would negatively impact air quality and the environment.
“The Secretary of State has clearly recognised that there is need for more residual waste processing capacity in the UK, and has granted us permission to develop the Riverside Energy Park in accordance with its Development Consent Order,” a spokesperson for the firm said.
“It is not true to suggest that energy from waste facilities suppress recycling rates. Instead, energy from waste not only complements recycling but it also offers a more sustainable solution than either landfill or the export of our non-recyclable waste, because it converts it into low-carbon energy to help power the national grid.”
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