Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Senior councillors approve preferred bidder for Leeds incinerator scheme

Leeds City Council’s Executive Board today approved Veolia ES Aurora Ltd as the preferred bidder for the city’s residual waste project.

Senior councillors gave their approval to the plans to build a combined treatment plant to both recycle and recover energy from waste at the former wholesale markets site at Pontefract Lane, Cross Green.

It will receive black bin waste from all over the city, further sort it so that as much recyclable material is extracted as possible and then dispose of the leftover waste in an incinerator to prevent it going to landfill.

Two companies had been competing to build and run a high-tech, environmentally-friendly waste treatment facility for the city. After an extensive detailed assessment by the council of the final two private finance initiative (PFI) bids, Veolia came out top ahead of rival bidder Aire Valley Environmental.

Benefits of the proposed scheme include:
• A saving of £200 million over 25 years for Leeds compared to the costs associated with existing waste processing systems;
• A reduction in CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions via diverting waste from landfill equivalent to keeping 29,000 cars off the road per year in Leeds;
• The production of enough electricity to power 20,000 houses.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for environmental services, Leeds City Council, said:
“Now executive board has confirmed the choice of preferred bidder, work can begin on progressing this scheme. It is right at the heart of a strategy to help Leeds recycle half of all its waste by the year 2020.

“But once we have achieved this target we are not going to stop there. We have listened to the views of local environmentalists and we’re going to examine ways of pushing our recycling rates even higher than this.

“By avoiding sending waste to landfill we will save the city millions of pounds in ever-rising taxes and provide a much more environmentally-friendly and sustainable solution to the problem of how to dispose of waste we can’t recycle.”

Only waste that would previously have been consigned to landfill and is not suitable for recycling will be burned in Veolia’s *Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF). This process will in itself generate enough energy to power around 20,000 homes.

Heat is produced during the energy generation and the company will work with the council to investigate how this heat could be used in new homes built as part of the proposed eco settlement in the Aire Valley or industrial buildings in the area.

Veolia will now need to embark on a full public consultation and submit detailed planning applications. It will also have to apply to the Environment Agency for an environmental permit, which is granted only if the scheme meets strict conditions ensuring it does not cause significant pollution and has no detrimental affect on people’s health.

Should they succeed in this process the treatment plant would be expected to be operational around spring 2016.

Notes to editors:
Bid assessment: council officers assessed the two bids based on agreed criteria in areas such as environmental impact; benefits to the local community; how proven and flexible the waste treatment technology is; quality of design; operational management systems and the cost of treating the waste.
*Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF: this is a facility using a process by which rubbish that is not recycled by residents via green bins or other processes is first sorted to see if anything else can be extracted for recycling. The residues are burned under controlled conditions and the heat resulting from this is used to produce electricity. The energy produced could power around 20,000 homes, supplied via the National Grid, as well as the potential for heat distribution.
For more information on energy from waste plants, visit the Environment Agency website at the following link to download their leaflet:
Traffic: all unloading activity will take place within the enclosed waste reception area of the site, away from public view and avoiding queuing on the highway. Traffic levels are not expected to increase significantly as many waste vehicles already use the same roads to take their loads to the Skelton Grange landfill site and to access the council’s Cross Green depot.
Landfill sites: currently the majority of the waste produced in Leeds that cannot be recycled is sent to landfill, with most of it going to sites at Skelton Grange and Micklefield.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335