Midlands & East Anglia

New Energy Recovery Facility will save Staffordshire £250 million

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Four Ashes Energy Plant

A former wasteland in Staffordshire will be the location for a new waste recycling facility.

The Staffordshire Energy Recovery Facility on Four Ashes Industrial Estate in South Staffordshire will treat around 300,000 tonnes of household waste a year, generating enough electricity to power 38,000 homes per year. It is expected to save the county up to £250 million over the next 25 years as the waste will no longer have to go to landfill.

Veolia Environmental Services are overseeing the PFI project in partnership with Staffordshire County Council. Main contractor for the scheme is CNIM Clugston, whilst the architect for the original concept design was URF Planning Ltd.

Construction began in June 2011 and is expected to be completed by December 2013, meaning that the £163 million project is just under half-way complete.

The building measures 40 metres at its highest point, whilst the chimney stacks will be 80 metres tall.  The length of the building is 156 metres and the width of the building will be 81 metres. Facilities will include offices, a control room, meeting rooms and a visitors centre.

Christopher Swanwick, Project Manager from Veolia Environmental Services commented on the structure of the facility:

“For the building envelope itself, we’re using stone filled gabion baskets for the bottom half of the building – which itself reaches 9 metres in height. For the rest of the building we’re using insulated cladding. The building will have a living roof with grass, moss and flowers that are ecologically friendly.

“The main bunker has already been constructed. We’ve excavated 12 metres deep, and the bunker wall is concrete and reaches 20 metres in height. The steel work is all going in too now, including the steel work for the administration building, turbo hall and boiler support.”

Four Ashes Energy Plant

Veolia also plans to engage with the local community and local schools in order to teach them about resources, recycling and the environment.

Chris Swanwick explained:

“We are working very closely with BREEAM at the moment and we have achieved a very good rating for the facility. The most obvious environmentally friendly feature is the roof, whilst we are also water harvesting all of the water from the roof for the toilets using siphonic drainage.”

“We’re fortunate to be in quite a rural area and we hold a community liason group every three months. We invite them down for a site tour and an update on the progress, and monitor all activity on site for noise and dust. When we won planning permission we said we would endeavour to use local labour and local companies for work on site, and at the moment 88.6% of the companies and workforce used live within a 30 mile radius.

“We are also doing a lot of tree planting in the area and the Veolia Trust has also awarded some money to the community to re-do their church hall and carry out some landscaping and groundwork.

“This is an important project for me as this is the largest power station I have built up to now and it will be one of our largest facilities in the UK. We have a very good relationship with South Staffordshire Council and Veolia are bidding for other works within the region. These facilities are a very good idea and are much more beneficial than sending waste to landfill.”

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