An essential part of turning waste into energy is combustion. When waste is combusted (burnt), it produces gases (emissions) which, if left untreated, have the potential to be harmful to the environment and human health. That is why it’s not advisable to burn rubbish in your back garden. It’s also why one third of the Beddington ERF is dedicated to cleaning these gases to ensure that what’s released into the atmosphere (via the two flue stacks, or ‘chimneys’) is safe and will not harm the local environment or the health of local people.
Emissions from the Beddington ERF are monitored every 10 seconds, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We record raw data that is used to create averages. Samples are taken from the gases in the flue stacks. The results are fed back to the ERF control room, so any potential issues are known about immediately and appropriate action can be taken.
The emissions from the Beddington ERF are closely monitored by the Environment Agency, who set strict limits (based on half hourly and daily averages) for different types of emissions (see below). If any of these limits are breached, Viridor must inform the Environment Agency within 24 hours. Viridor must also submit quarterly emissions monitoring reports to the Environment Agency. In the event of issues or problems, the Environment Agency has a range of powers at its disposal, up to and including revoking a facility’s Environmental Permit and prevent it from operating.
The Beddington ERF has been designed to operate at the very highest international standards and under normal operating conditions, emissions are well below the limits set by the Environment Agency.
Viridor and the South London Waste Partnership recognise that the safety of the facility is a very important issue for people who live in Beddington and the surrounding areas.
To provide reassurance that the facility is safe and does not pose a threat to human health or the local environment, Viridor makes emissions monitoring reports available for anyone to view twice per month. These reports can be downloaded (in pdf format) from the following link: Emissions monitoring reports from the Beddington ERF
The following emissions are monitored on a continuous basis at the Beddington ERF as they are all a product of the combustion process:
The daily average emissions limits for the Beddington ERF are some of the strictest in the country:
It is vital that the specialist equipment taking gas samples from the flue stacks of the Beddington ERF are operating correctly and taking accurate measurements. To ensure this is the case, the Environment Agency ensures the equipment is put through a rigorous three-stage testing and quality assurance process:
Public Health England’s (PHE) publication on the health impacts of ERFs stated that - “We found no evidence that exposure to PM10 from, or living near to, an ERF operating to current EU standards was associated with harm for any of the outcomes investigated.”
PHE has also published the following statement on the health impact of waste incineration: “Modern, well managed incinerators make only a small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants. It is possible that such small additions could have an impact on health but such effects, if they exist, are likely to be very small and not detectable."
During the planning and permitting process for the ERF, Viridor carried out a comprehensive environmental impact assessment which included a number of air and ground quality measurements which were carried out in the locality of the Beddington ERF site. This included detailed modelling of the potential impacts of the ERF on its surroundings. More information on this can be found in the Air Quality report: Air Quality Report
We hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of the Beddington ERF and that you’ve learnt something about how your residual (black bag waste) is treated and turned into energy. If you would like to visit the Beddington ERF to see it for yourself, we run regular tours of the facility. To book a place, please email beddingtonERFeducation@viridor.co.uk
To report an incident or raise a concern about operations at the Beddington ERF, please call our freephone customer care line on 0800 975 3029 (24 hours, 7 days a week).
Alternatively, you can contact our environmental regulator, the Environment Agency, to report an incident (this will take a number of hours to respond) by calling 24 hours a day on: 0800 807 060. The best thing to do is to call Viridor on the number above in the first instance so that an investigation can begin straight away. Or for more information please visit their website: Environment Agency Website
For more information about the Beddington ERF and Viridor please visit viridor.co.uk
you can also Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can write to:
Viridor Community Relations
105 Beddington Lane
Sutton CR0 4TD
To learn more about the South London Waste Partnership and your waste collections please visit slwp.org.uk