Leaving the site as it is could risk causing “life-changing injuries” to employees due to the facility’s age, the council suggests.
The decision was made after a report recommending beginning procurement for the £420,000 project went before the council’s cabinet on 9 November.
The council says the decision has not yet been ratified but will come into force tomorrow (22 November) if not ‘called in’, which is a way for a councillor to ask for a decision the cabinet has taken to be looked at again.
The transfer station supports and provides the treatment of waste collected, including fly tips, litter, litter bins and highway sweepings.
It processes waste prior to it going to FCC’s Eastcroft energy from waste (EfW) facility on the same site, pulling out some material such as metals for recycling.
Councillors considered two other options. The first was to do nothing and continue to use the facility. “This would evidently lead to the closure of this facility due to the high risk nature of operating in such dangerous conditions,” the report stated.
“To do nothing would significantly put the life at risk of employees operating on this site or cause life threatening injuries.”
The report noted an incident from 2016 when the collapse of a wall at a metals recycling facility led to the death of five agency workers in Nechells.
“Despite the internal walls not being as high as the facility, [the incident] highlights the known risks with such venerable infrastructure,” the report says.
The second option considered was to close the site completely. However, the site saved the council £188,000 on disposal costs in 2021/22 alone, the council says, despite being closed for emergency repairs.
A spokesperson for the council told letsrecycle.com that the new facility would be constructed in line with the old one and on the same footprint in a “like-for-like rebuild”, building on the original footprint.
The council said the Environment Agency had confirmed the local authority could still operate the new facility under the current permit provided it was like-for-like.