Work starts on waste treatment centre
Work to build a state-of-the-art waste treatment plant in Sinfin is about to start as part of a long-term plan to deal with Derby and Derbyshire's waste.
The centre, on Sinfin Lane, is expected to save Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council more than £2 million a year for 27 years compared to the alternative cost of sending waste to landfill.
This will give the councils certainty about the cost of managing waste in the future, helping them to manage their budgets and protect them from future rises in the cost of landfill - including Landfill Tax which is currently set at £80 a tonne.
The facility, which will cost around £145.5 million to build, is being developed as part of a contract between the councils and Resource Recovery Solutions (Derbyshire) Ltd (RRS) - a partnership between Shanks Group Plc and Interserve Group plc - to deal with Derby and Derbyshire's waste up until 2042.
Councillor Joan Dixon, Derbyshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Jobs, Economy and Transport, said:
The county council needs to cut its budget by £157m by 2018 and our current landfill bill is one we cannot afford in the future.
"This year the county council is expected to pay more than £20million for sending waste that isn't recycled or composted to landfill, including Landfill Tax which costs Derbyshire taxpayers around £400,000 every week.
"We do not know how much landfill will cost in the future but it certainly won't cost less than it does now."
Around 250 people will be recruited to build the facility on Sinfin Lane and a further 34 permanent posts will be created to run the plant which will handle around 190,000 tonnes of waste from homes in Derby and Derbyshire each year. This waste − collected from residents' non-recycling bins − is currently sent to landfill sites or treated outside Derbyshire which is neither environmentally nor financially sustainable for the future.
Inside the facility, any recyclable materials not yet removed will be separated and recycled and the remaining non-recyclable waste will be shredded, dried and heat-treated to produce a gas which is then burned to create enough electricity to power 14,000 homes. This electricity will be sold to the National Grid, generating income for the councils which will help offset their energy bills such as for street lighting.
Any leftover ash will be recycled to produce an aggregate replacement in concrete block manufacture or treated and used as a gypsum substitute.
Treating waste in this way will save around 48,000 tonnes of carbon a year compared to sending waste to landfill - the equivalent of taking 16,000 cars off the road − and help the councils achieve a recycling rate of 55% by 2020 - exceeding the national target of 50%.
Councillor Asaf Afzal, Derby City Council's Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Streetpride says, "Derby City Council needs to manage its waste more effectively in the years to come and this facility will enable us to do so in a way that costs taxpayers less than it does now; the cost of sending waste to landfill will only increase as the Council is forced to cut a further £60m from its budgets by 2017."
Councillor Dixon added: "We are still committed to encouraging people to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost their waste. The waste facility will include an education centre which schools and community groups can use to find out how to reduce waste, why we need to recycle and the environmental impacts of landfill.
"By 2020, we want residents in Derby and Derbyshire to be recycling at least 55% of their waste but there is always going to be some waste which just cannot be recycled or composted and continuing to send it to landfill sites is just not an option."
Funding for the facility is being loaned to RRS by the UK Green Investment Bank and two leading international banks; BayernLB from Germany and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation from Japan.
Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council have a long-term waste management contract with Resource Recovery Solutions (Derbyshire) Ltd (RRS) to manage household waste. The contract will run for 25 years from the date the waste treatment plant opens.
Under the contract, which began in 2010, RRS will continue to run two existing waste transfer stations in Alfreton and Glossop. It will also manage eight of the county council's household waste recycling centres at Glossop, Chesterfield, Loscoe, Ilkeston, Bretby, Ashbourne, Bolsover, Northwood near Matlock and the city council's recycling centre at Raynesway.