Today I visited the site of the Beddington Farmlands for a tour and to hear what progress has been made in getting it ready for the public to visit.
We campaigned hard against the Lib Dem-backed incinerator in Beddington, and now it has been built, I want to ensure all mitigating factors can be taken to improve quality of life for local people.
As well as calling for better air quality monitoring around the site, I wanted to visit in order to get an update on the Beddington Farmlands.
Beddington Farmlands is a 161 hectare (400 acre) site in the heart of the wider Wandle Valley Regional Park. Together with the adjacent green spaces of Beddington Park and Mitcham Common, Beddington Farmlands forms one of the largest contiguous green spaces in south London. Beddington Farmlands is an important area for wildlife and is classified a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation and Metropolitan Open Land.
As part of the incinerator's operating company's (Viridor's) obligations, they are undertaking a restoration of the Beddington Farmlands site in accordance with its planning permissions into a mosaic of grassland and wetland habitats for long-term environmental benefit along with continuing to recognise the significant ecological value on the site.
A number of steps have already been taken as part of the restoration and you can find our more here:
- The Permissive Path between Hackbridge and Mitcham Junction is now open, with bird hides along the trail to enable bird watching,
- The landfill has been capped and sealed in order to start the process of turning it into grassland,
- Work has begun on paths and cycle-ways through the Farmlands,
- Wet Grasslands are being restored to support wildlife,
- Sacrificial crop and living bird feeders have been installed.
A Conservation and Access Management Committee, made up local community and Sutton Council representatives, is meant to be overseeing the restoration work.
It is vital that the Beddington Farmlands are completed and opened for the public to enjoy.
I will continue to work closely with Sutton Conservative colleagues, Independent councillors and local residents to ensure that they are opened as planned.