Viridor gets ministerial go-ahead for Bristol EfW

8 April 2011

Viridor has secured approval from communities secretary Eric Pickles for its plans to develop an energy-from-waste plant and materials recycling facility at Avonmouth, overturning Bristol city council’s decision to refuse the proposals in June 2010.

Mr Pickles’ decision to uphold Viridor’s appeal against the refusal follows an independent public inquiry into the Severn Road Resource Recovery Centre proposals which was held last November.

An artist's impression of the proposed Avonmouth EfW and MRF
An artist's impression of the proposed Avonmouth EfW and MRF

The energy-from-waste plant would have the capacity to treat up to 350,000 tonnes-a-year of residual waste, 290,000 tonnes-a-year of which would be delivered under locally-held contract with  the remaining 60,000 tonnes-a-year sourced from the materials recycling facility (MRF).

The MRF would be expected to handle up to 150,000 tonnes-a-year of material, sorting recyclables including plastic bottles, paper, cardboard, glass and cans.

Phil Bines, Viridor’s business development manager overseeing the Avonmouth project, said: “We are obviously extremely pleased with the decision.

“Avonmouth is an important part of our strategy for providing support to local authorities and businesses in the South West to increase their recycling rates. The development also offers an alternative to landfill for the disposal of residual waste.”

Bristol city council’s planning committee’s unanimous rejection of the Avonmouth project application last year came despite the council’s planning officers recommending it be approved (see story).

Proposals for the development were originally unveiled in November 2009 (see story).


The EfW plant set to be developed as part of the Avonmouth project would produce heat, which could be used by local businesses and will also be capable of generating 30 Megawatts of electricity; enough to supply over 45,000 homes.

This was acknowledged by Mr Pickles in his decision on the proposals, where he stated “the power generated by the proposal and the potential to provide off-site heat are factors in its favour”.

Related links

Viridor – Avonmouth

The response also stated that Viridor would receive a full award of costs against Bristol city council.

The company is now awaiting a decision from the Environment Agency regarding a permit to operate the plant, but has already begun initial ground clearance and is looking to begin construction in early 2012.