Work on the Padworth Sidings Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) in West Berkshire is progressing well: the construction of the external buildings has now been completed, and works on the inside are running to schedule.
The facility has been designed to significantly improve recycling and composting rates in West Berkshire and improve the management of waste. It will not only contribute to the successful and sustainable management of household waste – for instance through an in-vessel composting facility for the recycling of garden and food waste into a useful product, and the mini household waste recycling centre – but it will also divert waste away from landfill.
The Padworth Sidings site was identified by West Berkshire Council as the best location in the district for the new IWMF. It is a brownfield site, with access to the main transport network and sufficient space to accommodate the facility.
Equipment being installed inside the building includes the processing machinery for the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and the In-Vessel Composting Facility. The MRF will process the district’s recyclable waste (paper, card, plastic bottles and cans) to prepare it for processing into new packaging materials. Commissioning is currently being undertaken in order to ensure that the equipment and machinery are reliable and work correctly.
Planners of the facility cooperated with the public so that their views and concerns were taken into account. The Padworth Liaison Group met numerous times, with an additional meeting held for residents to discuss landscaping issues with West Berkshire Council. The liaison group were also able to view and comment upon the draft permit for the site. The Section 73 planning application was submitted to the local planning authority.
The development at Padworth will also include mitigation of the impacts of the facility, including traffic, air quality and ecological aspects. Following a public consultation, the Environment Agency issued an environmental permit, EPR/KP3694VW, for the site. The environmental permit lists the activities that are allowed to take place on the site, the waste materials that can be handled and the limits (upon noise and odour, for instance) within which the site must operate.
The IWMF has had an impact on local transport links. West Berkshire Council’s roadwork subcontractors have allowed some of the larger machinery deliveries to access the site via the railway bridge, to help minimise disruption along the diversion route for local traffic. There have been concerns that there may be a need to close Padworth Lane for short periods of time, although it was stated that, wherever possible, these closures would be at night, and advance notice of the closure periods would be given. West Berkshire Councils highways department also undertook temporary repairs to the diversion route as they became necessary, and later this year more extensive permanent repairs will be undertaken in the area, including drainage improvements to Rag Hill. In addition, the Council has considered a controlled crossing north of the railway bridge after a 150-signature petition and the death of an 82 year old pedestrian on the dual carriageway on the A4 Bath Road. It has been decided that proposals for the crossing will wait until the scheme has been completed.
The new facility will include an education centre where schools and community groups can learn more about how the facility can manage their waste sustainably in the district. There is also a visitor and administration block, to allow people to see the technology and processes used to manage the waste responsibly.