9 February 2018 by Elizabeth Slow

Suez celebrates milestone at Severnside ERF

Suez UK’s chief executive David Palmer-Jones has emphasised the important role that councils play in creating an efficient waste management system to ensure that materials can be collected for recycling and residual waste for effective waste disposal.

His comments came during an event celebrating the first full year in operation of Suez recycling & recovery UK’s Severnside Energy Recovery Centre (SERC), in Avonmouth earlier this week.

The event was organised by Suez on behalf of the West London Waste Authority (WLWA), and West London Energy Recovery Limited – a company formed to construct and operate the facility on behalf of the authority.

Pictured with the ‘Resourceful’ rail engines used to pull the waste wagons to Avonmouth are (l-r) Ian Sexton, chairman West London Energy Recovery Limited; David Palmer-Jones, chief executive SUEZ UK; Bassam Mahfouz, chair WLWA; and Emma Beal, managing director, WLWA

During his presentation, Mr Palmer-Jones, explained that the SERC is only one part of the puzzle in terms of an effective waste management system.

He said: “I know that despite this wonderful technology and infrastructure, the key and start to any good waste management is putting into place an effective, sanitary waste collection system to efficiently capture materials for recycling and recovery whilst preserving their quality.”

And, Mr Palmer-Jones praised WLWA and its constituent boroughs for providing “comprehensive collection systems” which, he said are “designed to suit their own specific constraints, whilst recognising their duty to residents to find the optimal safe solution for these materials.”


Suez began operating the SERC in December 2016, following a three-year construction and commissioning programme (see letsrecycle.com story).

The plant, has a consented capacity of 400,000 tonnes a year. It is capable of exporting around 34 megawatts, or enough electricity to power the equivalent of 50,000 homes.

The facility forms the core part of the waste management company’s 25-year Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract with the West London Waste Authority, signed in 2013.

It was delivered in partnership with Aberdeen Asset Management and the ITOCHU Corporation, and recovers energy from West London’s residual municipal waste.

At the event, delegates heard from speakers including Mr Palmer-Jones and plant manager, Stephen Fisher, about the progress and achievements of the facility over the last year.


Over 1,000 tonnes of residual waste from the London boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Richmond-upon-Thames, is transported 110 miles daily by train from two rail-linked waste transfer stations in West London, located in Brentford and South Ruislip, to the SERC.

To mark the occasion, the partnership officially named a locomotive owned by DB Cargo, the company which operates the rail logistics service. The name Resourceful was chosen to reflect the purpose of WLWA, in treating waste as a valuable resource. Some guests from WLWA travelled on the locomotive to the event.

Suez confirmed that the company is recycling incinerator bottom ash (IBA) produced by the facility. This forms part of a contract with IBA recycling specialist, Ballast Phoenix.

Ballast Phoenix already handles the product at a number of sites across the UK, where it is processed for use in road pavements and concrete applications. Ferrous and non-ferrous metals recovered from the treatment are sent on to recycling markets. According to the company’s website, its Severnside site, which has been operational since 2016, has capacity to process 80,000 tonnes of IBA per annum.

Hazardous waste firm, Castle Environmental, recycles the air pollution control residues (APCr) which are used in the energy recovery process. A spokesperson from the company confirmed the materials are sent to its two sites in Cardiff and Stoke-on-Trent to be treated. According to Castle Environmental’s website, the processed material can be used for purposes such as aggregates for concrete products or incorporation into reclamation projects.


Mr Palmer-Jones took the opportunity to thank the company’s partners in the project. He said: “DB Cargo provide the impressive logistical solution day in day out and Ballast Phoenix and Castle Environmental who ensure a recycling rate of 99.5% from the residues of the plant, which is at the forefront of technical and environmental solutions in the UK for energy from waste plants.”

Suez has recently won a number of additional contracts to treat residual waste at the SERC. In November, it was announced that the company had won a contract from council-owned waste firm, Bristol Waste Company, to deal with around 30,000 tonnes of the city’s household residual waste (see letsrecycle.com story).

And, last month letsrecycle.com reported that the company had won a 10-year contract with Devon county council for £60 million (see letsrecycle.com story). As part of the contract, starting in February 2019, residual waste from two districts will be routed to the SERC.


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