A new diesel tank at the Beddington Incinerator was approved by Sutton Council this week.

An application from Viridor which runs the facility was for the tank to be put on land next to the plant.

Viridor said the new tank is needed so two types of fuel can be stored on site. Councillors clashed over the application, which was considered by the council’s planning committee on Wednesday.

The meeting kicked off with a dispute between chair Richard Clifton and committee member Tim Crowley about Councillor Crowley being spotted at a protest about the plans outside the civic centre last month.

But Councillor Crowley said he had no pre-determination about the planning application. 

Dozens of protesters chanted ‘Viridor out’ when the planning application was originally supposed to be discussed on June 9.

Locals were concerned the extra fuel was for the facility to burn extra waste. 

Viridor said the additional diesel capacity is not related to extra burning.

In January Viridor applied to the Environment Agency to process up to 382,000 tonnes of rubbish a year an increase of around 10 per cent – a decision is yet to be made on this.

At the meeting, Hackbridge resident and mum of two Grace Platt spoke in opposition to the plans.

She said: “These applications can’t be viewed in isolation. What we’re witnessing is Viridor gearing u to enable its bolster incineration operation.

“The facts remain that Viridor is applying to increase its waste burning capacity by 10 per cent building on the previously secured 15 per cent.

"I ask you to consider if Viridor does secure its permit from the Environment Agency how will it fulfil this  capacity if not through this application you are seeking to approve tonight.”

Mandeep Jutley, planning adviser for Viridor said the Environment Agency application stressed that the new fuel tank was not related to the application to burn more waste.

She said: “Whether the Environment Agency issues the permission to increase the tonnage or not there is still the need for this tank.

“That is why this application has come forward even before the determination from the EA.

"That is largely led by the need for two different fuels for existing activity on the site.”

Councillors were split on the application with a heated debate taking place for well over an hour.

In the end it was approved with six votes to four.

In a statement issued before the meeting, Councillor Barry Lewis, chair of the Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee, said: “Unrelated to this planning application, Viridor has recently made a separate application to the Environment Agency to increase the amount of waste the facility can treat by 10 per cent.

"This is a separate matter for the Environment Agency to consider.

“The council has already set out that it is opposed to any increase to the amount of waste processed at the site and has urged the Environment Agency to carry out a full public consultation to ensure the council and local people can have their say before any decisions are made.”