Suez allowed to reopen Dorset landfill

Suez has been granted an additional ten years to fill the Beacon Hill landfill site Dorset, after it was closed in 2017.

Suez landfill Dorset
Suez says restoration and aftercare operations have continued on-site since it was mothballed in 2017

The company says in the short-term the site will remain closed, but it wanted permission to be able to reopen the site and fill the remaining space when market conditions are viable.

At a meeting last month, Dorset’s strategic planning committee approved the application from Suez for more time to fill a cell at the site, which Suez has operated since 1998.

Suez explained that with the amount of waste going to landfill reducing in recent years, it temporarily closed the site in 2017 leaving one section of the site unfilled.

The company applied to the council for additional 10 years to fill the available space and restore the land by 2029.

Market conditions

The remaining cell has a volume of around 400,000m3, and according to the report before Dorset council last month, Suez “wishes to reserve this void space with a view to commencing operation when market conditions make it viable, as other void space in the wider area diminishes”.

Suez explained in its release yesterday that it will not accept waste for this entire period, instead the site will remain closed until waste becomes available in the local area.

Once reopened, Suez said the site could be filled in as little as two years.

Tim Otley, regional director – energy south for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK said: “Although we remain focused on moving waste up the hierarchy, there are still some end-of-life materials that are not suitable for recycling or recovery. Preserving this existing disposal capacity at Beacon Hill will help avoid the need for new landfill space and, once the remaining space is full, will allow us to create a sustainable final landform that complements the nearby special area of conservation.”

Currently, waste in Dorset is sent as RDF to Europe or to domestic energy from waste facilities including Veolia’s Marchwood site near Southampton.

Powerfuel Portland has proposed a plant, which the council is considering.

Restoration

Suez landfill Dorset
Once the remaining space is filled, the site will be restored to a mix of habitats, including lowland heathland and grassland, Suez says

The application explains that the landfill site, situated around 3 miles north of Poole, is currently mothballed due to low levels of waste availability.

During the period of mothballing, Suez says restoration and aftercare operations have continued on-site, with staff in attendance requiring the facilities provided by three portable cabin units which are the subject of this application.

Once the remaining space is filled, the site will be restored to a mix of habitats, including lowland heathland and grassland, Suez says.

A period of 12 months would be required after final closure of the landfill to enable the last cell to be capped and restored.

Approval

While the council itself unanimously approved the plans, the local parish council was against them.

Corfe Mullen Parish Council said: “The local community has suffered over 25 years during the site’s operation from air pollution, odour, files, vermin, gulls and corvids, noise, heavy lorries, mud on the road, flooding and blocked ditches. The site should be restored to original levels without further delay. If waste materials are not available an appropriate soil mix should be used to restore the site within two years”.

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