Sutton Council has been accused of not “putting its money where its mouth is” over air quality in Beddington after refusing to divert money to combat pollution.

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Green Party candidate Shasha Khan, who led the fight against the council’s decision to build the Viridor incinerator on Beddington Lane, requested his legal fees from the battle be spent on monitoring air quality.

He took the council to a judicial review in January 2014 in the hope of overturning its decision to grant planning permission for the Viridor incinerator, but his appeal was thrown out in April last year.

In a letter to council this week, Mr Khan, from Croydon, asked for the £5,000 legal fees he owed the council be spent on independent air monitoring around the site of the incinerator when it is up and running. But a council spokesman said the money would be put towards costs incurred in defending Mr Khan’s claim.

Mr Khan said: “It says to me that Sutton Council don’t want to take a chance on independent air quality monitoring. It is only £5,000. It will be an excellent way to reassure the community that all the things they say about how safe the incinerator is going to be are true. It is like putting its money where its mouth is, but they haven’t decided to do that.

“If you have some 660 trucks going down a road every single day spewing out diesel emissions and then you have a number of other incineration plants in that area, I can’t believe anyone is going to say there isn’t a problem.”

The incinerator will burn 302,000 tonnes of waste per year.

A Sutton Council spokesman said: “The health of our residents and good air quality is of paramount importance to Sutton Council. We recognise the link between air pollution and ill health and have worked to improve air quality in the borough for a number of years.

“Air quality in the borough is affected by a number of external factors outside of our control, most importantly weather conditions. As levels of nitrogen dioxide decrease with sunlight hours, the levels may fluctuate from one year to the next.”

The £200 million incinerator will deal with waste from Sutton and neighbouring boroughs Croydon, Merton and Kingston in the South London Waste Partnership. The incinerator is expected to open in 2017 with landfill ceasing in 2018.

A new access road is being built from Coomber Way roundabout and during peak construction the site will see 770 lorry movements a day, up from 732 that were recorded as the average in 2013, although Viridor said once the facility is running this number will be 666.

Council air quality screenings found Wallington and Worcester Park were the worst areas for pollution in the borough, with both areas averaging above acceptable levels of nitrogen dioxide concentration throughout 2014.

Public Health England figures show six per cent of deaths in Sutton in 2013 were related to poor air quality, a rise of 0.2 per cent from 2012.