A controversial incinerator planned for Beddington could burn up to 10 per cent more waste than was originally proposed.

Waste company Viridor has finally submitted its application to Sutton Council to build an energy from waste facility on its landfill and waste management site in Beddington Lane.

During its consultation on the plans, Viridor has said its facility would burn 275,000 tonnes of waste each year.

But the plans show it would have an increased capacity of 10 per cent – meaning up to 302,500 tonnes of waste could in fact be burned.

Viridor insisted that the increased capacity was “a safety net” in case the type of waste being burned was not efficient enough to produce an expected 26 megawatts of electricity each year.

A spokesman for the waste firm said the £200m facility was still intended to burn up to a 275,000 capacity, could not rule out the 302,500 capacity being used.

He said it was common practice to allow for a 10 per cent increase in capacity.

By burning non-recyclable waste to create steam to power turbines, the incinerator, which could be up and running by 2017, is expected to produce enough energy to power 30,000 homes.

The facility has caused concern among residents and environmentalists who believe emissions from the facility’s two 85m stacks could be harmful to residents.

Studies have linked incinerators to cancer and infant mortality.

An independent consultation on the impact on air quality has been carried out by air quality consultants RWDI, and Gair Consulting.

The application states the environmental assessment shows “the ERF will operate within tightly controlled Waste Incineration Directive (WID) emission standards and any impact would be negligible and small”.

Viridor insisted filters within the incinerator mean emissions would not be at harmful levels.

The application continues: “the impact of the ERF on local air quality will be insignificant and hence should not result in any effect on those who have existing health conditions such as asthma, nor will it cause health issues”.

Results of a public consultation carried out by Viridor within the planning application show emissions are the key concern of respondents.

They raised fears about the impact on wildlife and residents' health, that there was insufficient technology to combat harmful substances, arguing the facility should be housed in a less densely populated area to reduce the impact to public health.

Viridor said Beddington Lane was not a densely populated area.

Changes to the application of the facility have been made since the consultation.

The 15m reduction in the original proposed stack height of 100m to 85m discussed during Viridor’s consultation followed results of air quality monitoring that showed this was a suitable height for emissions to be released from.

The appearance of the facility has also been changed to make it more in tune with the environment.

The application is expected to be validated by the end of the week, when it will be available on the Sutton Council website.

The council will also launch a public consultation.

The application was not expected to be considered by a Sutton Council planning committee until early next year.

To run the facility, Viridor would also need an environmental permit from the Environment Agency (EA) deeming the facility safe.

The EA expects to receive the full application for the permit within the month.