Meeting demand for waste treatment facilities

All existing waste treatment sites in the boroughs of Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton are to be protected from other types of development, and an additional 11 industrial areas have been identified as suitable locations for up to seven hectares of new waste treatment facilitates to be built on over the next ten years.

These are the key recommendations of the South London Waste Plan, an important planning document that is being jointly prepared by the four boroughs. Following many years of research, development and revisions, including three stages of public consultation, the South London Waste Plan is now ready to be put before Council Committees for consideration.

In addition to securing sufficient land availability for future waste treatment needs, the South London Waste Plan also puts in place robust planning policies against which planning applications for waste facilities will be considered. This includes some very specific policies to minimise the impact that new facilities will have on local people and the environment. It will place the four councils in a much stronger position when considering planning applications of this nature.

Councillor Mark Betteridge, Merton Council deputy leader, explains:

“For decades, much of the waste we generate in our every-day lives has been buried in landfill sites. Landfill is now widely known to be environmentally damaging. It is also becoming financially unviable as the ‘gate fees’ charged to local councils and private waste firms for burying their waste in the ground rise sharply. In the future, instead of being sent to landfill, more of the waste produced by households, business and industry will need to be re-used, recycled, composted or treated in some other way.”

New waste treatment facilities will be required across the country to meet the increased demand. This is why, in addition to protecting existing waste sites, the South London Waste Plan has concluded that an additional seven hectares of land will be required in the four boroughs over the next 10 years to accommodate new facilities.

Demand for industrial land in South London is so high that it has not been possible for the Waste Plan to identify enough individual sites for future development. Instead, 11 industrial areas (measuring approximately 190 hectares in total) have been identified from which up to seven hectares (less than 4% of the total land area) of waste development will be permitted.

The 11 additional industrial areas identified in the Waste Plan are:
· Purley Way (Lysander Road and Imperial Way Industrial Area), Croydon
· Factory Lane Industrial Estate, Croydon
· Factory Lane (South Side), Croydon
· Purley Oaks High Way Depot, Croydon
· Chessington Industrial Area, Kingston
· Garth Road Industrial Area, Merton
· Willow Lane Industrial Area, Merton
· The Durnsford Road / Plough Lane Industrial Area, Merton
· The Wandle Valley Trading Estate (part of), Sutton
· Kimpton Industrial Estate (land North of Minden Road), Sutton
· Beddington Industrial Area, Sutton

Earlier drafts of the Waste Plan had identified a need for 20 hectares of land for new waste treatment facilities. However further detailed analysis of the future waste treatment needs of the four boroughs has seen this figure more than halved to no more than seven hectares in the latest version.

Thanks to the efforts of residents, the four boroughs are making steady progress in reducing the amount of waste households generate. Even though most households are generating less waste, rising population in the area means that overall the amount of waste generated in the four boroughs is still on the rise – albeit it at a slower rate.

Councillor Mark Betteridge continues:

“There are currently 15 waste treatment sites in the four boroughs that are able to treat around 440,000 tonnes of waste every year. But almost 1.2 million tonnes of waste are currently produced in the area and this is expected to rise to almost 1.4 million tonnes over the next 10 years. This clearly demonstrates the need for additional waste treatment capacity. The South London Waste Plan has a vital role to play in identifying and protecting suitable land for this type of development and putting in place robust policies that maximise benefits and minimise negative impacts on local communities.”

The South London Waste Plan ‘Proposed Submission’ will be considered at the following Committee meetings:
· Croydon Council, Cabinet (11 October)
· Kingston Council, Executive (2 November)
· Merton Council, Executive (8 November)
· Merton Council, Full Council (24 November)
· Sutton Council, Cabinet (29 November)
· Croydon Council, Full Council (6 December)
· Sutton Council, Full Council (6 December)
· Kingston Council, Full Council (7 December)

The next stage of the process is for the Plan to be submitted to the Secretary of State for further deliberation, including an examination in public by an independent planning inspector. Before this however, the four boroughs must formally publish the Waste Plan for a period of six weeks. During this Publication Period, residents and other interested parties can submit representations which will be forwarded to the Secretary of State.

The Waste Plan is due to be published by the boroughs in January before being submitted to the Secretary of State in March. It is then due to be formally adopted by the boroughs in winter 2011 when it will form part of each borough’s legal planning framework.