FCC begins construction on £350m EfW plant

Construction work has begun on FCC Environment’s energy from waste (EfW) facility in North Lanarkshire, which will have a capacity of 300,000 tonnes.

FCC Greengairs EfW
An artist's impression of the 300,000 tonnes per year capacity plant

To be built on FCC’s existing Greengairs landfill site in Airdrie, the ‘Drumgray’ plant will process household and commercial waste from across the region. The site is proposed to be operational in early 2026, more than a year after originally planned.

FCC is planning to retain the Landfill Site but is “committed to reducing the scale of future landfill operations” and to the final restoration of the site within the currently consented timescales, by 2038.

Construction is to be carried out by FCC Construction, and cost around £350 million.

FCC was granted planning permission in August 2020, and received a Pollution prevention and control permit from SEPA 11 months later, soon after a moratorium on new plants was announced.

The way that waste is dealt with in Scotland is changing rapidly

– Gillian Sinclair, FCC Environment

Around 25.5MW of electricity and the “potential to supply 40MW of heat to local homes” will be provided from the plant.

Gillian Sinclair, head of EfW development at FCC Environment said: “This marks an important and exciting milestone for the project. The way that waste is dealt with in Scotland is changing rapidly and as a leading operator in this field we need to be agile to this.

“The development represents a significant investment into North Lanarkshire and by using proven, energy-from-waste technology, we are moving away from the landfilling of biodegradable waste to be in line with the Scottish Government’s zero biodegradable waste to landfill policy.”

Landfill ban

FCC said the project will support the Scottish Government’s delayed efforts to ban biodegradable waste going to landfill.

The ban has been pushed back to 31 December 2025.

The first phase of construction works comprises ground preparation and stabilisation involving removal of soils, preparation of a development platform and grouting of old mineworking.

These works are planned through to June 2023 at which point the construction of the main facility will be undertaken.

As part of these initial works, FCC said will be working closely with Nature Scot to move and relocate areas of peat around the site. The plant is programmed to be in operation in early 2026.

The plant will be FCC’s second in Scotland, after opening the Millerhill EfW plant outside Edinburgh in 2019 (see letsrecycle.com story).

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