The final business case for the city’s incinerator will be submitted to the government if senior councillors agree the decision next week.
Members of the council’s executive board are being asked to send the final business case to the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for approval. The councillors’ consent is also being sought to officially award the contract to the preferred bidder, Veolia ES Aurora Ltd, when they meet on June 20.
If approved, the decisions will bring the council one step closer to providing a facility on the Cross Green Industrial Estate that will ensure as much of the city’s household rubbish as possible is recycled, and that the minimum is sent to landfill.
Along with improvements to waste and recycling services that allow residents to recycle more themselves, the incinerator would provide the city with a long-term solution to keep waste from going to landfill. The council’s landfill tax bill last year was £9.2 million and this is set to increase by around £1.5 million every year.
With up to 214,000 tonnes of waste a year going through the facility to be sorted for recycling, the council stands to make savings of £200 million over 25 years and make a significant dent into harmful greenhouse gas emissions being released into the atmosphere from landfill.
Estimates show that by removing recyclable items and not sending waste to landfill, around 62,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions would be cut. That’s equivalent to the annual emissions from energy used in the home by 31,300 Leeds residents.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:
“This represents a massive change in how we deal with waste in the city and is just one part of our overall strategy that will see Leeds recycle half its waste and cut carbon emissions by 40% by the year 2020.
“The decisions being discussed next week are important milestones that will allow us to deliver a scheme offering a long-term, sustainable waste solution for the city.
“We set targets last year to reach 55% recycling by 2016 and to exceed 60% beyond this time, and remain committed to achieving these. However, there will still be large quantities of waste that we can no longer afford to bury in the ground for environmental and financial reasons. I’m convinced that we have chosen the best solution to ensure that we get the maximum value out of this waste and achieve our ambitious recycling and carbon reduction targets.”
The planned incinerator or RERF (recycling and energy recovery facility) would take all of Leeds’ black bin waste and sort it to remove any metal, paper, cardboard and plastics to be recycled. Only the leftover waste not suitable for recycling would be burned. During this process enough electricity would be made to power 20,000 homes.
The facility would also be capable of using some of the steam used to generate this electricity to provide heat to local buildings, helping those owners and occupiers reduce their energy use and bills.
If agreed by the executive board, the final business case would be submitted to Defra’s Waste Infrastructure Delivery Programme for approval of project funding.
Arrangements would also be made officially award the contract to Veolia to build and run the incinerator.
The report to executive board also sets out the next steps in the project timetable if the recommendations are approved:
• June 2012 – Veolia to submit planning application to Leeds City Council and apply to Environment Agency for permit
• July to September 2012 – financial close and award contract to Veolia
• Spring 2013 – plans panel to consider planning application
• June 2013 – work starts onsite
• 2015 – incinerator is commissioned
• 2015 – full operations start
Notes to editors:
• Veolia are expected to submit a planning application for the incinerator around the time executive board meet.
For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577