7 May 2021 by James Langley

Biffa opens waste ‘transport hub’ in East London

Biffa has turned “previously unused” land in East London into a ‘transport hub’, linking waste sites in the capital with the waste management company’s landfill sites in the north by rail.

The Renwick Road site in Barking opened yesterday (6 May) in partnership with freight company GB Railfreight (GBRf) and enables the transport of 250,000 tonnes of waste from London.

Mick Davis, chief operating officer for resources and energy division at Biffa, said: “The opening of our new rail hub marks the next step in our strategic partnership with GBRf to increase our capacity for transportation by rail. It will help us reduce dependence on vehicles on the road and reduce the emissions we produce.

“The site was totally derelict when we took it on and amongst the rubbish and debris we cleared, we actually found some interesting items, including one and a half tonnes of World War Two bullets.”

Biffa says it spent £4.2 million developing the site, removing 14,000 tonnes of previously fly-tipped waste and debris.

Operating five trains a week, Renwick Road will transport waste from North and East London to landfill sites at Roxby, Scunthorpe, Leeds and Manchester.

The company is working towards transporting 50% of all its waste by rail by 2025.

Renwick Road

Renwick Road has always been a railway yard, Biffa says, dating back to 1864. It fell out of use in 1991.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with Biffa in the months and years to come to ensure more waste can be removed by rail”

John Smith, GBRf

Biffa and GBRf have worked together since 2018 when they announced their intention to transport more waste by rail together. The announcement of the partnership came after the opening of a transfer station in Manchester in 2017 and of another in Leeds in 2018 (see letsrecycle.com story).

John Smith, managing director at GBRf, said: “We are delighted to be working with Biffa on this project and our collaboration will see us move thousands of tonnes of waste in a sustainable way.

“This is the way forward if we are to reach the net zero carbon emission target by 2050 and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Biffa in the months and years to come to ensure more waste can be removed by rail.”

In August 2020 Biffa said it had saved 6,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions since switching to the use of rail links for the transport of inert waste material (see letsrecycle.com story). Yesterday, it said more than a million tonnes of waste had now been transported by rail since it launched its strategic partnership with GBRf.

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