25 April 2016
Nick Mattey, the Sutton councillor expelled from the ruling Lib Dems over his long-running opposition to the South London Incinerator, has joined the Green Party.
He announced his decision today in the company of Sian Berry, Green candidate for Mayor of London, who has pledged to launch an investigation into the incinerator if she is elected and do everything possible to stop it going ahead.
Councillor Mattey will continue to sit as an independent for the remaining two years of his term and then stand for re-election as a Green.
Sian Berry, who launched her South London manifesto today, said: “Nick, who has been an outspoken critic of a scheme that has been imposed on the people of Sutton and Croydon in the face of huge local opposition. It’s to his immense credit that he put the health of local residents above blind loyalty to his party.
“It’s to the equally immense discredit of the Lib Dems that they are building a huge new incinerator, given that incineration produces toxic emissions and greenhouses gases, as well as acting as a disincentive to recycling, and is by far the worst form of waste management. It shows that however good a talk the party may talk on the environment on a hustings stage, they can’t actually be trusted with it in office.”
Nick Mattey said: “I resisted my expulsion from the Lib Dems because I wanted to carry on fighting this battle from within, but joining the Greens has been a natural next step, not least because of their long support locally for the campaign against the incinerator.
“I will sit on the council as an independent because it would be unfair to the voters who elected me to change party mid-term. But I will be seeking re-election as a Green in 2018 and I hope I won’t be the party’s only successful candidate in Sutton. The ruling party has behaved disgracefully throughout this episode and voters won’t forgive them easily.”
Ross Hemingway, Sutton Green party co-ordinator, said:
"We welcome Nick, alongside many others who have joined the Green party in recent weeks. Nick has shown he is committed to protecting the local environment and health of residents by opposing the Beddington incinerator; and for that the Lib Dems have kicked him out. It's extraordinary.
"The Lib Dems in Sutton like to tout their green credentials, yet they've removed recycling facilities, given the green light to a polluting incinerator and now plan to destroy chunks of the borough's greenbelt; you couldn't make it up."
Sian Berry and Nick Mattey were accompanied by Shasha Khan, Green parliamentary candidate for Croydon North at several elections and also a prominent opponent of the incinerator scheme, and Ross Hemingway, Green parliamentary candidate in Carshalton & Wallington in 2015.
1. The South London Incinerator is being built at Beddington Farmlands, two miles west of Croydon town centre. One million people live within 10 miles of the site and campaigners say it is a health hazard.
2. The scheme has been developed by the South London Waste
Partnership, a joint initiative by Lib Dem-run Sutton council, Labour-run
Croydon and Merton, and Conservative-run Kingston.
3. Construction has been delayed by a series of legal challenges but
it finally began this summer and the plant is now scheduled to begin operation
4. Nick Mattey was elected as a Lib Dem councillor for the Beddington North ward in 2014.
5. Sian Berry is a former principal speaker of the Green Party. She previously stood as the party’s candidate for Mayor of London in 2008.
6. The Green Party came third in the last mayoral election in London in 2012 and has had at least two seats on the 25-strong London Assembly since the body’s establishment in 2000.
7. As well as campaigning for Sian for Mayor, the party is urging supporters to vote Green on the orange (proportional) ballot paper, which is where its votes will count the most.