The 230,000 tonnes per year capacity plant was refused planning permission by West Sussex county council in 2018, but was approved by the Planning Inspectorate in February 2020.
Britaniacrest has described the project as a “long haul” and that this is not uncommon for such plants – the project is a traditional moving grate EfW facility.
Last year, Britaniacrest submitted an application for a variation to its environmental permit for its existing transfer station, to build a mechanical sorting and EfW plant.
In a draft decision document yesterday, the Environment Agency said it “cannot find any reason that would cause us to refuse the permit variation application”. It has now issued a draft acceptance document and has opened a consultation until 26 June.
The EA said: “We are bound by the requirements of the regulator’s code to grant permits and issue permit variations to operators, provided we cannot find any evidence that the building or operation of such a site may cause significant harm to the environment or to human health”.
In a statement given to letsrecycle.com, Ray Foss, managing director, Britaniacrest Recycling, said the company was “pleased” to receive the notice after the EA “scrutinised our application thoroughly and requested a number of clarifications”.
The facility is badly needed as there is little EfW capacity existing in West Sussex
– Ray Foss, Britaniacrest Recycling
The company has said the facility is “badly needed” to process waste from West Sussex as there is “little” EfW capacity or landfill capacity in the area. It notes that waste is currently made into RDF and exported.
Other operators have been eyeing up waste in West Sussex, too.
Viridor and Grundon had a plant accepted by the council for a 295,000 tonne facility. However, this was withdrawn in November 2021, with a new application anticipated soon.
In the meantime, Britaniacrest is looking to press on with its plans.
Mr Foss added: “The EA scrutinised our application thoroughly and requested a number of clarifications under their Schedule 5 procedure. These clarifications were made and as a result, a draft permit has been published, which will now go out for public comment over the next six weeks.
“The 3Rs Facility, is a ‘standard’ moving grate combustion plant with no unusual features, but nevertheless attracted substantial public attention at the planning stage. Following a refusal from West Sussex County Council, the Planning Inspectorate granted planning permission following appeal. It has, therefore been a long haul, but unfortunately not uncommon for many of these plants”.
He continued: “The facility is badly needed as there is little EfW capacity existing in West Sussex and now no landfill. Large quantities of residual waste are being hauled out of county to Surrey or being exported to Holland and Germany. This situation is just unsustainable, so we look forward to the 3Rs Facility being able to redress the situation.”