The commissioning process at Viridor’s Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) in Beddington, South London, is “going well”, and Viridor remains confident it will be operational by the end of 2018.
However, the deadline could be pushed into next year if any other issues arise during the commissioning phase.
The update was provided by Annie Baker, strategic partnership manager at the South London Waste Partnership (SLWP), who was briefing councillors on the 275,000 tonne facility at a meeting last week (4 December).
Once operational, the site will process 275,000 tonnes per year of non-recyclable waste.
When quizzed by councillors on the deadline, initially August 2018 but which has twice been pushed back and now to the end of this year, SLWP’s Ms Baker explained that some extra work has been needed but she remains “absolutely satisfied” with how the commissioning process is going.
“At the moment, we are looking still at the end of the year [for a final date],” she commented.
Ms Baker added: “A lot of issues have evolved, such as the Lagan Construction Group going bust, which has created some extra work such as with the drainage and other elements on the site.
“In terms of what we are seeing we are absolutely satisfied that those works are being undertaken and the commissioning testing is ongoing, and is being followed robustly. The independent certifier is on site regularly. We can’t be certain either the end of December, or any other date, will be met as clearly, if there are any other issues then we would expect that to have an impact on the date as well.”
She concluded that the process is ongoing and the priority remains to ensure the plant is absolutely ready to be operated by Viridor once the tests are done.
The committee was also updated on the facility by Andrea Keys, contract manager at the SLWP. The cross-party councillors present noted her report, which explained that before the ERF moves out of the commissioning stage there are a series of ‘Take Over Tests’ which will ensure the plant operates to the specification required.
“These tests are overseen and signed off by our jointly appointed Independent Certifier (IC) and are due to take place in November and December 2018,” the noted report said.
It also included a question and answer session with an Environment Agency official, which was held with the public liaison committee earlier in the year, who sought to reassure residents about emissions from the facility.
In its latest half year results, covering the first half of the 2018 financial year, Viridor announced that the “ramping up” of commissioning at Beddington, as well as facilities in Glasgow and Dunbar, led to a 28% increase in EBITDA.
Commenting on the latest development, a spokesperson for Viridor confirmed that the facility is in the commissioning phases, adding that it recently successfully exported electricity to the gird.
“The Beddington ERF is currently in its commissioning phase; a phase that sees all components of the ERF switched on in isolation and tested to ensure they operate safely and below stringent emissions levels.
“In July, the Beddington ERF received its first waste from the South London Waste Partnership (black bag waste from the Boroughs of Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton). The residual material was diverted away from the Beddington landfill site and delivered to the waste bunker of the ERF.”
And, the spokesperson for Viridor has discounted any suggestions of issues around the size of the tipping hall, explaining that it has been built for the amount of waste which will be sent to the plant and this has not changed.