Sutton Council has started “formal enforcement action” against a waste management company for delays to the restoration of the Beddington Farmlands.

A local councillor says it has seen “community and wildlife losses”.

Beddington Farmlands is the site of a former sewage works and was a landfill site until the early 2000s.

The restoration of the land as a nature reserve was one of the conditions of the building of the Beddington incinerator, granted in 2013.

It was supposed to be completed by the end of 2023 but work on the site has been delayed.

The restoration project is being run by Valencia Waste Management, formerly Viridor.

At a meeting last week, Sutton Council’s head of development, Andy Webber, confirmed the authority has now sent a letter to the company setting out the “breaches of planning control”.

He said: “It is important to stress that this action is not going to deliver the agreed public access and habitats by the end of 2023 but it gives the council greater control in achieving compliance and ensuring that Valencia Waste Management commit the necessary time and resources to the restoration.”

At the Housing Economy and Business Committee on Tuesday, June 6 the chair, Councillor David Bartolucci, said despite the fact that Valencia were requested to attend the committee Valencia had been “sedentary in their approach”. 

He added that the council was entering “a new phase” on the matter.

Councillor Sheldon Vestey, who represents Hackbridge, said residents in his ward close to the nature reserve will be impacted by the delay but said residents across London will miss out.

He said: “There has been community, environmental and wildlife losses because of failures from Viridor and Valencia.

"We should have had a huge nature reserve in a few months but all we’ve had is dozens of environmental breaches, only three pairs of lapwings, and a series of foxes shot to death with of course huge profits going to Viridor.”

A spokesperson for Valencia Waste Management said: “Valencia acknowledges that the restoration programme is not at a stage where the community and local planning authority expect it to be, in part this is owing to a highly complex, and unviable masterplan along with decisions taken before Valencia’s ownership of the site.

“The management team is committed to changing this, and has responded to the London Borough of Sutton, noting the concerns and requesting a formal pre-application meeting to discuss a proposed revised restoration scheme.

"At the Conservation and Access Management Committee, members were briefed on the revised proposals forming the pre-app submission.

"This will include significant enhancements to benefit the local community along with a timetable for delivery of the scheme.”