11 February 2020 by Caelia Quinault

Biffa achieves financial close on its first EfW

Biffa is set to develop its first energy-from-waste incinerator in the UK after achieving financial close on the Newhurst energy-from-waste (EfW) facility in Leicestershire, the company announced today (February 11).

The plant is being developed alongside joint venture partners Covanta, the energy-from-waste specialist, and the Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG), after the companies teamed up in 2017 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Artist’s impression of the Newhurst EfW facility

Strategically located just off the M1 motorway in the East Midlands, the Newhurst EfW facility is expected to cost £285-295 million to construct and will have the capacity to treat 350,000 tonnes of residual household and commercial waste a year. It will also produce 42 megawatts of electricity.

Covanta and GIG will together own 50% of the facility, with Biffa, the primary waste supplier for the facility, owning the remaining half.

A spokesman for Biffa confirmed that, while the company has a number of anaerobic digestion facilities in the UK, the Newhurst plant would be its first energy-from-waste incinerator.

Biffa currently controls more than 1.7 million tonnes of residual waste suitable for EfW facilities but has historically sent much of this in the form of RDF to energy-from-waste plants in Europe.

However, the company said it did not want to be too reliant on European facilities and wanted to address the shortage of EfW facilities in the UK.


Michael Topham, Biffa chief executive, said: “Biffa has a leading role to play in developing the recycling and energy from waste facilities that the UK needs if it is to become a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy.

“Reaching this milestone at the Newhurst facility, along with our ambitious investments in recycling, are vital steps in the delivery of our strategic investment plans. We look forward to working with our partners to further reduce the UK’s reliance on landfill or export for managing its non-recyclable waste.”


Construction of the Newhurst facility is expected to take just over three years to complete and will be led by EfW engineering specialist Hitachi Zosen Innova (‘HZI’) under a turnkey Engineering, Procurement and Construction (‘EPC’) contract. Over 300 jobs are expected to be created during the construction period.

“Reaching this milestone at the Newhurst facility, along with our ambitious investments in recycling, are vital steps”

Michael Topham, Biffa

Biffa will provide 70% of the fuel for the facility from its existing local waste collection services, and Covanta will supply technical oversight during construction in addition to operations and maintenance of the facility for an initial 20-year term.

Covanta chief executive and president, Stephen J. Jones, said: “The Newhurst EfW facility will provide important sustainable waste treatment capacity in the drive to move non-recyclable waste away from landfill and combat climate change.

“Today’s announcement marks our third of four initial development projects to reach financial close with Green Investment Group and our first project with Biffa.  Together, we have created a powerful partnership that will provide meaningful returns in our pursuit to protect tomorrow.”

Planning permission for the Newhurst facility was granted by the Secretary of State in 2012 and Biffa applied to increase the plant’s capacity in 2018 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Protos delay

The Newhurst facility is one of two EfW projects currently being proposed by Biffa, Covanta and GIG. The joint venture is also proposing a 400,000 tonne-per-annum capacity plant at the Protos energy park near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.

However, Biffa revealed that this facility had been delayed.

In a statement, the company said: “Whilst the project is well progressed, the development process is taking longer than anticipated and has resulted in a delay to financial completion. A further update on this process will be provided in due course.”


Infrastructure will be on the agenda at the Resource Infrastructure Conference, to be held on 24 March. More information can be found here.


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