7 August 2019 by Lucy Pegg

Suez Blackburn EfW recommended for approval

Plans for a 500,000 tonnes per-year capacity energy from waste (EfW) facility near Blackburn have been recommended for approval by the local council’s planning officers.

The proposals are due to be considered by Blackburn with Darwen council’s planning and highways committee on August 15, after Suez submitted documents to the local authority in May.

A visualisation of the planned EfW facility in Darwen, near Blackburn

Planning officers have suggested the development should go ahead and noted it is considered to promote “high quality design and working practises in waste management facilities”.

The development would see the EfW plant built on the site of an existing Suez waste transfer station on Eccleshill Road to the north of Darwen town centre.

Gary Mayson, chief operating officer for energy at SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, said of the plans: “We are pleased that Blackburn with Darwen Council planning officers have recommended our application for approval, following an extensive public pre-application consultation process.

“Our proposal to construct a high-tech energy recovery centre in Darwen could see up to half a million tonnes of waste diverted from landfill; the equivalent of over 60,000 homes powered by sustainable electricity; and up to 50 skilled and semi-skilled local jobs created.”

Should councillors give the plans the go-ahead next week, construction work on the site is set to begin in 2021, with hopes that it could be operational by 2023.

Details

If the facility goes ahead, the Darwen EfW will handle 425,000 tonnes of municipal waste and 75,000 tonnes of commercial waste annually.

“Our proposal to construct a high-tech energy recovery centre in Darwen could see up to half a million tonnes of waste diverted from landfill…”

Gary Mayson, Suez recycling and recovery UK

Sources of the waste are yet to be finalised, but it is expected that the majority – around 350,000 tonnes per year – will consist of residual municipal solid waste from Lancashire kerbside collections.

A smaller amount of fuel is likely to be sourced from residual municipal solid waste collected in Blackburn with Darwen, as well as Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) and industrial and commercial sources of waste.

The EfW will be Combined Heat and Power (CHP) enabled, though a customer for the heat produced by burning waste has not yet been identified.

Suez has pledged to review CHP opportunities every two years or sooner, with the intention of implementing heat collection unless there are insurmountable costs or practical obstacles to doing so.

Under the current plans, the EfW facility would have the capacity to export around 44.5 MWe net to the national grid, accounting for roughly. 5.5MWe that is needed to power the plant itself.

As well as plans for the construction of the EfW, Suez’s application also includes demolition of the existing waste transfer station and its Materials Recycling Facility (MRF).

Conditions

The council’s recommendation for approval is subject to a number of conditions.

Amongst these are the requirement for a three-year implementation period and restrictions on the times when construction and HGV activity may take place at the site.

The recommendation document also stated that the 500,000 tonne annual capacity had been justified due to the need for waste facilities in the region.

Reports on the likely impact of air and light pollution would be assessed and arrangements for additional traffic would need to be demonstrated.

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