Suez to ‘repurpose’ buildings at Northumberland site to pave way for AD plant

Suez had announced that as part of its construction plan for a £35 million anaerobic digestion plant in Northumberland, buildings at the existing site are being “dismantled and reassembled elsewhere”, rather than demolished.

Suez said buildings at the existing site (pictured) will be repurposed, with four of them already being reassembled elsewhere

Suez was granted planning permission in July for a  £35 million anaerobic digestion facility at a former landfill, composting and wood shredding site near Ashington, Northumberland. The planned site will have a capacity of 50,000 tonnes per year.

The company explained that it worked with contract services provider Thorntons to draw up a plan to dismantle and repurpose the buildings at the site, as part of efforts to reduce the carbon impact of construction.

So far, one of the buildings has been repurposed as cattle shed on a local farm, another has been kept by Thorntons for their own use and the other two buildings have been purchased by local farmers.



The dismantling work has been more intensive

  • Will Higson, Thorntons


Contracts manager for Thorntons, Will Higson, said: “We opted for careful deconstruction and proposed rebuilding elsewhere rather than demolition as when we assessed the condition of buildings on site, we were confident we could find new homes for them.

“The dismantling work has been more intensive as much of it had to be done by hand and has obviously been more time-consuming than demolition. But, by doing it this way, we have avoided sending tonnes of steel to the ‘scrap man’ by ensuring the buildings can be reused/repurposed.”

During the demolition process, over 10,500 tonnes of concrete have been saved and will be crushed for use in the foundations of the new anaerobic digestion plant, Suez said. Approximately 300 tonnes of reclaimed steel will also be repurposed in the construction.

An artist’s impression of Suez’s planned AD plant


Steve Patterson, regional director in the north for SUEZ said: “We are delighted with the solution that Thorntons have provided for us. Whilst we work very hard to promote the need to recycle, reusing materials is even more sustainable from an environmental point of view and we would always look to work with partners who can match our ambitions to consistently reduce our impact on the planet.”

The new anaerobic digestion facility will be completed by 2025 in time to accommodate anticipated legislation which will mandate kerbside food collection, Suez said.

All gas and electricity generated by the new facility would be exported to the local distribution network as well as being used to power the plant.

The future of food waste treatment capacity will be front and centre of the Food Waste Conference, taking place in London on 7 March. More information can be found here.

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