An energy from waste facility designed to treat up to 195,000 tonnes of waste per year has been unanimously approved by Midlothian council.
FCC Environment has been granted planning permission for the estimated £115 million Millerhill Recycling and Energy Recovery Centre, which will treat mixed waste derived from City of Edinburgh and Midlothian councils and commercial clients.
The Spanish-owned waste firm was appointed preferred bidder to design, construct, finance and operate the facility in late 2014, as part of a 25-year plan to deliver food and residual waste treatment in the region (see letsrecycle.com story).
FCC and the councils were expected to sign the 25-year agreement over the summer, but Gordon Pollock, zero waste project director, has confirmed this will now take place in December 2015.
The Centre will include mechanical treatment to recover recyclables and produce solid recovered fuel (SRF), as well as a secondary energy from waste treatment process. Feedstock for the plant will either be sourced from the on-site MT facility or from ‘suitably licensed’ pre-treatment or recycling facilities.
The development will have capacity to treat up to 195,000 tonnes of SRF per year, with 135,000 tonnes of material derived from the two councils.
The plant, which will be central heat and power (CHP) enabled, will be located on the councils’ Zero Waste Parc at Millerhill in Midlothian. An adjoining facility is already under construction at the site to treat 200,000 tonnes of food waste per year, under a contract signed with Alauna Renewable Energy in 2012.
Around 11MW of power generated by the FCC plant will be exported to the National Grid, while an estimated 20MW of heat produced from the process could be utilised in district heating networks for businesses or local residents.
FCC also states the facility will create up to 40 jobs when operations begin at the site, which is currently scheduled for 2018.
It is hoped the project to treat both food and residual waste on the Millerhill site will help the local authorities reach Scotland’s recycling target of 70% by 2025 and the country’s landfill diversion target of 95% by 2025.
Richard Belfield, FCC Group Development Director, said the company was ‘proud’ to be developing the plant – and formally consulted residents before submitting the final planning application.
He said: “It will play a significant role to further improve recycling and reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill throughout Edinburgh and Midlothian supporting the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan. We are delighted that the proposals have been given such resounding support by the Planning Committee today.”
Councillor Lesley Hinds, environment convener for City of Edinburgh council, said: “This decision takes us a step closer to our goal of achieving the highest possible public participation in recycling while having dedicated, competitively priced facilities that will use all the remaining waste that cannot be readily recovered as a valuable resource.”
Councillor Jim Bryant, cabinet member for economic development at Midlothian council, added: “This decision is of equal benefit to both partner councils as it represents the chance to turn a derelict, brownfield site into a valuable energy production centre.”