Wiltshire Publications

Issue 527 – Go-ahead given for £20m waste plant

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A CONTRACT between Hills Waste Solutions and Wiltshire Council will allow 60,000 tonnes of household waste to be treated in the county’s first mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plant on the Northacre Trading Estate, Westbury.

The contract gives the go-ahead for the construction of a £20 million facility to house the MBT plant on the Northacre Trading Estate, Stephenson Road. Building works are scheduled to commence in August 2011 and the Hills’ Northacre resource recovery facility is expected to be operational by the late summer of 2013.
As a key element in Wiltshire’s strategy to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, it is intended that the Hills’ Northacre facility will reduce the proportion of Wiltshire’s municipal waste sent to landfill to less than 20 per cent, from a current performance of about 37 per cent and a landfill total of almost 80 per cent a few years ago. The idea of a MBT plant in Westbury was first raised a number of years ago, and has caused concern for nearby residents and businesses.
Commenting on the contract, Alan Pardoe, Hills Group chairman said, “This contract and the construction of the Hills’ Northacre facility is considered to be a key step in Hills Waste Solutions’ transition from a landfill disposal operator to a waste recycling and treatment business. It will enable us to bring forward further waste treatment projects and secure the company’s future in waste management.”
Toby Sturgis, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for waste, said: “We are pleased to have signed the contract, and it is another milestone in Wiltshire’s waste management strategy which will see thousands of tonnes of waste diverted from landfill.”
Hills say their Northacre facility will receive 60,000 tonnes of municipal waste from households in the county and, in doing so, help the county’s taxpayers avoid landfill tax, which will cost £80 per tonne by 2014.
The MBT process to treat waste employs natural microbes within the waste to accelerate the decomposition process. The process takes up to 14 days and is carried out inside a sealed building which is maintained under negative air pressure to avoid the release of odours to the environment. Process air from the building is passed through filters prior to release into the atmosphere.
It is estimated that the Hills’ Northacre facility will save significant council lorry miles per year as waste from the west of Wiltshire will no longer need to be transported to Hills’ landfill site at Lower Compton. By reducing the miles that these refuse collection vehicles travel, the facility has the potential to make a reduction in Wiltshire’s carbon footprint. Initially the refuse derived fuel (RDF) produced will be transported by road to port and then shipped to Europe for use in renewable energy plants, but it is anticipated that the production of RDF will encourage the creation of a more local market.
MBT specialist, Entsorga Italia, is providing technology for the plant and Interserve plc has been awarded the design and build construction contract.
The Hills Group received planning permission for Northacre in March 2009 and Wiltshire Cabinet approved the Municipal Waste Diversion (Landfill Diversion Contract) at their Cabinet meeting on 15 February 2011.