My observations on the presentation and the ERF visit that I organised with the new Tory MP in Carshalton and Wallington.
It was a constructive discussion and I came out reassured that we share a common goal to hold Viridor to account on the ERF and deliver the Beddington Farmlands.
He agreed that the ERF was a better solution to landfill, seemed impressed by the facility & professionalism of the staff working on site. He clarified that he would not campaign to decommission the ERF as this is the best solution we currently have to deal with our waste.
We agreed that more needs to be done on "reduce and reuse" initiatives if we are to meet our climate emergency targets. He also agreed to lobby in Parliament for more funding to be made available to local authorities like Sutton. I hope he succeeds.
He accepted the challenge Sutton Council, South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) and the ERF have to demystify modern ERFs and seemed to agree that visits from schools, residents and community groups to the education centre will help get more people to understand how the facility works and the challenge that we face in reducing the amount of waste that we all produce. While we are one of the best boroughs in London for recycling, roughly 50% of our waste is still not recycled.
He raised concerns with emissions from the ERF generally, but did not provide any details and did not mention or ask any questions related to his recent comments in Parliament. He was happy that one of our air quality monitoring stations is being moved to Beddington Village. The delay, in moving it, is caused by UKPN and he offered his support to get this resolved as quickly as possible. I welcome this.
He made the point on several occasions that he would not go "all Nick Mattey on us" and wanted to distance himself from him. This is a clear change from the language he has used recently. It is reassuring, as it often appears that Cllr Mattey, who has a history is pulling the strings inside the local Tory party. Let's see if this is genuine but it makes dialogue and constructive work seemingly possible going forward.
He welcomed Sutton Council recycling improvements and praised the standard of the waste service and also raised issues with collections in some flats and other non ERF related issues which we agreed to pick up on his behalf.
We need urgent changes at a national level to progress this agenda and enable us to accelerate our work to meet our climate change targets. I hope that Elliot is able to exert his influence effectively in the coming weeks and months as the Environment Bill progresses in Parliament.
Councillor Manuel Abellan, Chair of environment and neighbourhoods committee