Hampshire planners back Veolia’s Alton EfW

A report to go before Hampshire county council is recommending the authority approves Veolia’s plans for a 330,000 tonnes-per-year capacity energy from waste (EfW) plant in Alton.

An artist's impression of the EfW plant, which was to replace an existing MRF

The facility will be based near Alton, on a site where waste management company Veolia currently operates a materials recycling facility (MRF).

The report was compiled by Hampshire’s assistant director of waste, planning and environment, Lisa Kirby-Hawkes, and will be voted on next week (23 February) at its regulatory committee. It states that “subject to confirmation that the Secretary of State does not intend to call-in the application for determination, planning permission be granted”.

However, this approval is subject to a number of conditions, including an agreement to secure heavy good vehicle routing, provision of connections to enable the export of heat from the facility “and a number of ecological improvements”.

The feedstock is currently either being consigned to landfill or thermal treatment

– Hampshire county council

Report

The 300 page report was published today ahead of the meeting.

It explained that the proposed plant will provide energy recovery capacity to deal with residual, largely commercial and industrial (C&I) wastes, sourced from Hampshire and the surrounding areas.

Looking to quell fears of where the waste is sourced from, challenged during the planning process, the report said: “The feedstock for the proposed facility would be waste, comprising residual wastes that are currently either being consigned to landfill or subject to thermal treatment elsewhere, typically in EfW facilities located outside of the UK in mainland Europe”.

It noted that as for the C&I waste, “such contracts can only be secured once a facility is available and ‘on-stream… It is therefore clear that the applicant may not be able to readily identify the specific origins of the waste feedstock at the planning application stage for a facility”.

Emissions

One of the complaints raised during the process was on emissions.

One respondent said if a longer-term whole lifetime comparison of the development’s greenhouse emissions over its proposed 25-year life is undertaken, “then there is doubt as to whether the development will indeed be better than landfill”.

The Energy from Waste plant would be built on the site of the existing MRF

In response, the authority said: “The need to take action on climate change and to reduce carbon emissions is a material consideration in the determination of this planning application.

It added: “The proposal will allow residual waste, which cannot be reused or recycled to be managed at the most appropriate level of the waste hierarchy, diverting it from landfill, and providing an alternative long-term capacity in advance of and for when Hampshire’s remaining landfills close”.

One of Veolia’s rationales for the development of an energy from waste plant is the need to provide a solution to deal with residual waste on a sanitary basis, providing a treatment solution which helps secure public health and hygiene.

Heat

The report explained that the proposals also include the capability to produce heat, and this was also listed as a condition of acceptance.

However, the report highlighted that the Environment Agency has already warned that the proposed location limits the extent to which this can be achieved.

The report said: “The location will limit opportunities to achieve high levels of energy efficiency by using combined heat and power beyond levels controlled by an environmental permit.

“Proposals for plants more than 15km away from densely populated urban areas or large heat users are unlikely (in the Environment Agency’s experience) to implement CHP”.

Approval

Veolia has already received a draft environmental permit for the facility, and a consultation on a second one is due to end on Friday (18 February).

The application to build an EfW plant would see the existing MRF at Alton demolished. Plans for a replacement MRF in Eastleigh have been discussed by Hampshire county council as part of waste and recycling plans for the county. With the Alton and Portsmouth materials recycling facilities under consideration for replacement, a new combined recycling facility is also being planned, Veolia said.

Veolia already operates three EfW facilities in Hampshire, at Portsmouth, Marchwood (Southampton) and Chineham (Basingstoke). The company says these are “full” and more capacity is required to treat Hampshire’s residual waste.

The final decision may be made by the Secretary of State

– No Wey Incinerator campaign group

Opposition

The No Wey Incinerator group have been opposing the plant. In a statement, they said: The No Wey Incinerator team has already applied to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to use his powers to ‘call-in’ the application because it involves issues of more than local importance.

“If the Regulatory Committee approves the application, then the final decision may be made by the Secretary of State. HCC has confirmed it will not formally approve Veolia’s planning application until the Secretary of State has had an opportunity to consider and respond to our request.

“We have confirmed with HCC that representatives for No Wey Incinerator will attend the meeting on 23rd February. We have assembled a very strong team of well informed speakers who will cover all the key arguments. Members of the public will also be permitted to attend the meeting, in person or online.”

Subscribe for free

Subscribe to receive our newsletters and to leave comments.

The Blog Box

Other Publications from
The Environment Media Group

Back to top