The Beddington Farmlands site in the London Borough of Sutton, has been in use since 1860 for the treatment of sewage and occupies around 100 hectares of the Wandle Valley. Since 2004, Viridor has operated an active landfill site, (find out more about how we safely manage landfill sites) recycling, food and organic waste transfer operation, sewerage sludge spreading and more recently the construction of an Energy Recovery Facility. The site is owned by Thames Water, but leased to Viridor. Comprising of a range of different habitats and land uses; due to its former use for sewerage operations it is a recognised site of Metropolitan Importance for birdlife and a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation.
Viridor is committed to its environmental obligations and 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. Viridor has continued to restore the landfill site throughout its life. Once the landfill cells are filled they are subsequently capped and restored and this will continue throughout the life of the site. In 2016 a sacrificial crop was planted to provide another habitat and food source for the bird population.
Viridor continues to work with a number of key community stakeholder groups and an on-site ecologist to ensure that the restoration activity is delivered and managed in a sustainable manner to work around the existing wildlife population and their breeding patterns. Viridor has worked in partnership with the London Borough of Sutton to finalise the Restoration Management Plan for the Beddington Farmlands and this will offer a much greater level of clarity for the local community about how the restoration work will be delivered along with the subsequent public access to the site.
To ensure that the site is restored to the highest ecological benefit the Restoration Management Plan offers guidance to Viridor on how each habitat on the site will be restored. Viridor will conduct vegetation surveys on an annual basis to monitor how the habitat is establishing. Once the restoration is complete Viridor will be able to start enabling more public access to the farmlands. (If you would like more information about the Restoration Management Plan, please contact Beddington@viridor.co.uk).
The Conservation and Access Management Committee
The Committee brings together Sutton Council and local community representatives in an advisory manner to work in partnership with Viridor to deliver the effective restoration of the Beddington Farmlands site. The long-term aim for the site is for it to become one of the foremost nature conservation areas in Greater London, with public access providing opportunities for local people to enjoy and experience wildlife on their doorstep.
There is a breeding colony of Lapwings at Beddington. They are attracted to the wetland habitats. And, the Six Burnet Moth was sighted on the Farmlands in July 2016 for the first time.
The Beddington Farmlands Bird Group
Viridor works closely with the ornithological community in South London and permits upto 25 members of the group to access the Farmlands to monitor the bird and wildlife. The group publish an annual report that can be found at BeddingtonFarmlands.org.uk. The 2015 report has been published and highlights include positive signs for the future of the Farmlands with 163 species spotted on the site including the first ever sighting of a Serin in November and a Stone Curlew being seen for the first time since 1982. It was also a record breeding year for the Tufted Duck and the Great Crested Grebe colony bred for the first time.