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Beddington Energy Recovery Facility is not permitted to receive or treat radioactive waste

May 9, 2019

The South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) wishes to reassure local people by clearly and categorically stating that the Beddington Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) is not permitted to receive or treat radioactive waste; nor will it ever be permitted to treat such waste in the future.

Recent rumours that suggest otherwise are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the contract between the SLWP and the operators of the Beddington ERF, Viridor.  In providing clarification, it is important to note that there are two entirely separate but equally important documents that govern what types of SLWP waste are treated at the ERF.

The first is the contract between Croydon Council (on behalf of the four SLWP boroughs) and Viridor.  This contract was signed in November 2012 and in the interests of openness and accountability has been available to download from the SLWP website since August 2014.  

The contract lists all the different types of waste that Viridor may need to handle on behalf of the SLWP boroughs.  The vast majority of the waste that Viridor handles for the boroughs is residual waste generated by local households and businesses (i.e. non-recyclable ‘black bag’ waste).  It is predominantly this waste that is treated at the Beddington ERF and safely turned into energy.

The contract covers every eventuality.  Should the boroughs find themselves in a situation where they have to deal with radioactive waste, it is important they have suitable arrangements in place.  Under the contract, Viridor are obliged to arrange for a wide range of waste types to be dealt with ‘appropriately’; material that is not suitable for the ERF process is diverted away for safe treatment and disposal elsewhere at an appropriate licensed facility.

The second key document is the Environmental Permit for the Beddington ERF.  Issued, monitored and regulated by the Environment Agency, this permit states what types of waste can be treated at the facility.  It also sets strict emissions limits to ensure the environment and health of local people are protected.

Under this permit, Viridor is clearly not permitted to receive or process radioactive waste at the ERF.  There are radiation sensors fitted at the entrance to the facility scanning all deliveries. Should the sensors be triggered, any delivery would be isolated and inspected before safe transfer is arranged to an appropriate off-site licensed facility for treatment and disposal.

Further information about how the Beddington ERF turns waste into energy can be found at www.beddingtonerf.info

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