7 October 2008

Surrey approves plans for energy from waste plant

Surrey county council has approved plans by Surrey Waste Management, a subsidiary of SITA UK, to build an Energy-from-Waste plant at Capel, in the South of the county. However, a legal challenge from local residents could still affect the much-delayed proposal.

Officers from the council's planning and regulatory committee gave the go-ahead on Friday (October 3) to the plans, which would involve the construction of an 110,000 tonne-a-year capacity Energy-from-Waste plant at Clockhouse Brickworks, Capel.

An artist's impression of the planned Capel Energy-from-Waste plant

An artist’s impression of the planned Capel Energy-from-Waste plant

However, the proposals must still clear a number of hurdles before the plans become reality, with the potential for the Secretary of State to call in the development, as well as the possibility of it being subject to a judicial review.

And, the plans could also be side-tracked by a legal challenge to the Surrey Waste Plan, which is to be heard at the high court in January 2009 following representations by Capel parish council.

Step forward

Welcoming the planning approval, Sean Trotter, general manager of Surrey Waste Management, said: “This decision is an important step forward for our proposal to develop an EfW facility at Capel.”

“We will continue to work with the county council to encourage residents to reduce the amount of waste they generate and recycle as much as possible, however, there will still be thousands of tonnes of waste leftover each year that cannot be sensibly recycled and this facility will provide us with a much needed alternative to landfill,” he added.

Mr Trotter claimed that the technology represented the “best environmental option” for treating Surrey's residual household waste.

“The proposed facility at the Clockhouse Brickworks will provide a safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable way of dealing with residual household waste,” he explained.

Despite the uncertainty over the project, a spokesman for SITA UK told letsrecycle.com that the process of procuring a contractor for the facility was underway, but work on the plan was unlikely to begin until spring 2009, at the earliest.

Surrey Waste Management was appointed by the county council to handle its waste treatment and disposal needs as part of a PFI-funded deal signed by in 2000.

Failure

However, the deal has been hampered by the failure to get proposals for major waste management infrastructure in the county off the ground.

Earlier plans for a facility at Capel were blocked by a judicial review in 2002 (see letsrecycle.com story), while separate proposals for a plant near Guildford were rejected by the county council in 2001 (see letsrecycle.com story).

And, while plans for a 160,000 tonne-a-year capacity EfW plant at Longcross were submitted to the county council in June 2008, after councillors approved the use of the site a facility in March (see letsrecycle.com story), these plans have also aroused opposition from local residents.


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