The construction of the new Energy Recovery Facility at Four Ashes in Staffordshire is on target to be complete in December 2013.
Veolia Environmental Services in partnership with CNIM Clugston Staffordshire Ltd are developing the site, which is set to help Staffordshire County Council reach its target of Zero Waste to Landfill.
The 25 year PFI contract is the biggest in Staffordshire County Council’s history and is set to deliver tax savings to the residents of Staffordshire of over £250 million over its twenty-five year life.
When complete the brand new facility will generate enough power for 32,000 homes and create 40 new jobs.
Staffordshire County Council Leader Philip Atkins said: “I am delighted with the progress so far and we are well on track to realising our £250m savings through the new facility. The site visit will give us the chance to see for ourselves the progress.
“The development of the new plant is all part of our ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ strategy, which is tackling head on the growing problem of domestic waste. We are dedicated to maximising recycling first, and then recovering energy from the leftover residual waste.
“The project is also central to our drive to protect tax payers and residents from the rising environmental and financial costs of landfill.
“Staffordshire really is leading the way nationally in tackling the ever increasing problem of waste. The financial and environmental costs of landfill are rising fast and we have taken firm action to put this county in the best position for the future.
Donald Macphail, Managing Director of Veolia Environmental Services in Staffordshire added: “New infrastructure is vital if the UK is to meet landfill diversion targets and reduce carbon emissions. It can also bring significant economic benefits and by working closely with Staffordshire County Council and our construction partners we are helping stimulate economic growth and improve environmental performance.”
The development will be Veolia’s seventh UK plant and is to be the company’s third largest, processing around 300,000 tonnes of household waste a year.
Project Manager, Chris Swanick said: “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 waste that we take in will be placed into two boilers which process 20 tonnes an hour. The steam produced then powers turbines, which in turn creates electricity.
“It really is a fascinating project; it’s important 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.”
The facility is designed so that all waste handling and processing is enclosed within the building, and high levels of sustainability and plant efficiency are attained. Exterior lighting will be designed to minimise light pollution, whilst maintaining site security.The scheme will also benefit from extensive landscaping, sustainable drainage and habitat creation.
Concern has been raised over the level of toxins produced by Energy Recovery Facility’s; however Chris was keen to stress the safety of such plants. He said: “For people who are concerned about toxins, there is analogy you can make, the amount of toxins released into the atmosphere by a plant such as this is equivalent to putting a third of a sugar lump in Loch Ness, so there really is nothing to worry about.”
For more information visit www.veoliaenvironmentalservices.co.uk