The Government has finally given the green light for Cory Environmental to build London’s first river-served energy-from-waste plant at Belvedere.
A 30-year contract worth £700 million will see 585,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste processed annually, the majority of which will come from the London boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, Lambeth and Wandsworth.
Cory’s subsidiary Riverside Resource Recovery will run the operation, transporting waste along the River Thames via the Western Riverside Waste Authority and generating 66MW of electricity annually.
Cory chief executive Malcolm Ward said: “We are delighted to have been given the green light. The decision is a clear endorsement that strictly controlled incineration with energy recovery has a major role to play in waste management.
“This will make a major contribution to helping London meet the European landfill diversion targets and will save millions of pounds in fines which would then have been levied on London council tax payers.”
After a clean bill of health from the Environment Agency and a licence from the Port of London Authority to use the River Thames, work on the site in the London Borough of Bexley is due to start in about six months.
But while Cory officials were celebrating at the news that will see river tugs and barges save an estimated 100,000 lorry journeys a year through London’s congested street’s, others reacted with fury.
London Green Party MEP Jean Lambert labelled the decision as “outrageous”.
She said: “Today’s approval to build an incinerator in London makes a mockery of the recent progress the capital has made in meeting its recycling targets. I regret today’s decision that will undoubtedly see other, more sustainable waste management options closed off forever.”
While Lambert suggested that the move would undermine the recycling programmes of Bexley, which was named as London’s best recycler, her Green Party colleague and assembly member Darren Johnson called the move a “disaster”.
“It is devastating for the people of Bexley that they will be forced to live with the side effects of burning waste from the other side of London. We desperately need a single waste authority in London to provide a strategic approach and prevent this from happening”, he said.
The facility will see unrecyclable waste used as a fuel to generate 66MW of electricity annually.