Planning permission for plant that will incinerate 275,000 tonnes of rubbish each year has formally been granted.

Final financial details for an energy recovery facility (ERF) in Beddington have been settled between Sutton Council and developer Viridor meaning, pending any legal challenge, the plans can now go ahead.

The ERF will take rubbish from the South London Waste Partnership - made up of Sutton, Merton, Kingston and Croydon councils and burn it to create energy and heat for nearby homes.

Campaigners have protested against the scheme amid fears it will cause harmful pollution both from the plant's chimney and traffic to the plant.

But the developers say the plans will provide a raft of benefits including cheaper aper energy and heat and the conversion of the existing landfill site into an 86 hectare park with education centre, wildlife habitat and more.

Planning permission was initially granted last year but Viridor and the council have now reached an agreement on how section 106 payments - which are provided to mitigate against effects of development - are paid.

Councillor Jayne McCoy, chairwoman of Sutton Council's housing, economy and business committee, said: "With our landfill in Beddington at saturation point, it is clear that the ERF offers Sutton and our partner boroughs the opportunity to dispose of waste in a cleaner way by reducing CO2 emissions and generating green energy for homes and businesses in the process.

"We have been careful to make sure that we get the right deal for our residents. That is why we have spent nine months securing £2.3m for Beddington which will help us to improve the area alongside residents.

"By turning a landfill eyesore into a wildlife habitat, part of which can be accessed by the public, we are leading the way when it comes to promoting sustainable living. This ERF means we can reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, manage our waste locally and unlock millions of pounds of investment for the area."  

Colin Hall, chairman of the South London Waste Partnership Board, added: "We have to find an alternative to landfill and the Energy Recovery Facility will provide a safe, cleaner and more sustainable way of disposing of our waste. Not only can we reduce CO2 emissions, but we can create green energy sufficient to power the equivalent of tens of thousands of homes.

"What’s more the majority of the landfill site will be turned into a new country park with wildlife warden so that over 10 years the area will become a haven for nature, with sections opened to the public.

"Altogether, this new approach is not only safe and greener, but will save the four council’s an estimated £200m over 25 years which can be better spent on helping people that need our support at a time when council budgets are being cut."