London Transport Region backs 'stop the incinerator' legal fund

At November’s LTRC meeting, branches in attendance overwhelmingly agreed to contribute £250 towards Shasha Khan’s legal costs as a consequence of his campaign to stop the installation of Sutton/Croydon borough’s proposed incinerator.

Many may ask, why is this even significant to the trade union movement and indeed RMT union?

Besides, the devastating impact on the health of residents (including transport workers) wildlife and air quality, the controversial scheme will see more than 300,000 tons of rubbish trucked through Croydon every year in a fleet of HGVs, to be burned at the Beddington plant.

Climate change is a trade union issue. Many unions are already engaged in building a community for climate action. It is becoming commonplace that council services are being outsourced to private contractors, merely for profit.

Increased recycling would is safer and a preferable option. It not only creates thousands of jobs, it reduces the carbon footprint and has practically zero environmental impact.

In Croydon, the former Tory council collaborated with Sutton’s Lib Dem council to grant Viridor a 25-year contract, worth £1billion, to operate an incinerator, which comprises Kingston, Merton, Sutton and Croydon councils.

Sutton Council spent tens of thousands of pounds defending their decision to grant planning permission for the South London incinerator in the High Court.

Normally the defendant can recover their costs if the judge rules in their favour. However, the member states of the EU have signed up to the Aarhus Convention, which ensures all citizens are able to obtain access to justice on environmental issues.

Under this convention, when the claimant, in this case local Croydon campaigner Shasha Khan, an individual, the recoverable costs with an unsuccessful High Court challenge is capped at £5000.

Vindictively, the council went for costs and allowed interest to accrue. Shasha, a local environmental champion, had ten days to pay these outstanding legal fees.

Crowd funding, having already successfully allowed him to raise the necessary funds to make the claim in the High Court, in the first place.

By contributing to Shasha’s legal costs, this RMT’s London Transport region has not only shown it is invested in environmental and community struggle, it has also demonstrated its awareness of the risk posed by incinerators.

If you want to get involved with the ‘Stop the Incinerator’ campaign, please check out the website: or make a donation to assist Sasha’s legal challenge: