Planning permission to build a giant incinerator for the area's rubbish has tonight been granted.

An audience of several hundred people greeted Sutton Council's development control committee's decision to grant permission for the incinerator to be built in Beddington Lane with cries of derision.

The incinerator will be built by waste management company Viridor under contract from Sutton, Croydon, Kingston and Merton to burn non-recyclable rubbish from the four boroughs and convert it into electricity and gas which could be used in nearby homes.

Opponents of the scheme fear the plant will pump out harmful pollutants and cause an increase in traffic on the area's roads. The council's planning officers told councillors on the committee that the campaigners concerns were not strong enough grounds to refuse the application on prompting some members to admit they found themselves "between a rock and a hard place".

The council had been due to make a decision on the application last month but they tied a vote and the application was deferred to tonight.

In tonight's vote five members of the panel - all Liberal Democrats - voted in favour of the application, while the two conservatives voted against. Couns Monica Coleman and Margaret Court abstained at the last vote but voted in favour tonight and Coun Fenwick voted against last time but tonight voted in favour.

Shasha Khan of campaign group Stop the Incinerator said: "It's a poor example of representative democracy. There were so many arguments presented tonight that the councillors could have used to vote against it.

"It makes you wonder who runs this council."

The only thing which could stop the incinerator being built now is if London Mayor Boris Johnson blocks the proposal.