arc21 unveils plans for energy from waste plant
PLANS for a new waste management infrastructure which will enable arc21 - the umbrella waste body for 11 councils including Antrim - to meet European landfill diversion targets and manage its waste more sustainably have been unveiled.
Representing a capital investment of £240m, the plans, if approved, will see the Becon Consortium deliver a Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facility alongside an Energy from Waste (EfW) plant located in the existing Hightown Quarry on the Boghill Road, near Mallusk.
Those behind the project say it will complement existing arc21 waste, reduction, reuse and recycling programmes to maximise recycling levels and create a sustainable energy source from the remaining residual black bin waste.
The Becon Consortium, aims to develop the facilities on behalf of arc21 pending the completion of a competitive procurement process.
The Consortium is backed by E.ON Energy from Waste AG, a leading European company with decades of experience in developing and operating similar EfW plants. It currently operates 19 plants in Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Ricky Burnett, Policy and Operations Director, arc21 said: “The need to ensure we meet targets and avoid potentially heavy fines has been well documented.
“Providing infrastructure to treat residual waste within our area represents the preferred option to meeting the challenges ahead.
“The proposals from the Becon Consortium, being unveiled, are in response to our ongoing procurement to provide this infrastructure.
“They contain a mix of technologies and facilities which satisfies our requirements and is at a site which is well located for a development of this nature. It will significantly reduce our dependency on landfill and contribute to improving the security and diversity of energy production in Northern Ireland.
“The consultation offers an opportunity for the public to engage through a variety of means and people are encouraged to offer comments to Becon on the proposals.”
Describing the project, Ian Smith, Project Director with Becon Consortium, said: “This is a very exciting project which will see Northern Ireland catch up with the rest of Europe in ensuring we view waste as a valuable resource.
“We believe we are proposing the best available technology solution in the most suitable location to manage arc21’s waste in a more environmentally responsible and sustainable way. In doing so, we will maximise the value from waste using proven technology and processes that will be regulated by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in compliance with strict EU permits.
“As this project will introduce this type of technology to Northern Ireland for the first time, we are expecting a number of questions and issues to be raised. However, with more than 20 years’ experience of developing and operating similar facilities across Europe, we are confident that we will be able to explain our proposals and the many benefits they bring.
“That is why we are keen to undertake a comprehensive consultation programme prior to submitting a formal planning application.”
Public consultation will include a project website www.becon.co.uk the distribution of an introductory brochure to approximately 30,000 homes and businesses in the vicinity of the site and a number of planned community drop-in sessions within Newtownabbey, Antrim and Belfast City Council areas.
Ongoing communication and community engagement will be carried out in the weeks and months ahead and detailed information will be made available on the website.
It is anticipated that the plants will be constructed and in full operation within four years of securing the necessary planning and permitting consents, and a successful conclusion of arc21’s procurement process.
*Local MP’s reaction to the proposal - see Page 5
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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