At present, much of the countys waste is moved outside its boundaries with 50,000 tonnes transported annually to landfill in Buckinghamshire and 15,000 tonnes disposed of in a similar manner in Somerset and Wiltshire.
But now the owner of Stowey Quarry at Bishop Sutton has approached the council with a proposal which would use municipal waste as fuel for in-vessel gas conversion and generating electricity. The energy output would be four to five MW and the plant would be wholly contained within the walls of the quarry.
Earth Science Partnership is leading the environmental and technical assessment, scoping opinion and developing a working plan with its director doctor Steve Rice suggesting that things are now coming together on the project.
He said: It has been an ongoing technical liaison and the bicycle is not quite at the top of the hill yet. But it is nearly there and hopefully in the next couple of months it will be zooming down the other side.
The project will employ clean technology, with the stack emissions consisting solely of carbon dioxide and water and the only significant waste remaining from the gas conversion process is bottom ash. This can be used in cement or concrete products.
Site preparation will be funded by processing existing stockpiles of material on site, minimising the cost to the council, while there are further significant benefits of the operation.
The aggregate recycling and energy from waste operations will be contained within the quarry walls and will be effectively invisible and inaudible outside the quarry.
The operations only require a small portion of the quarry area, which totals about 10 hectares and restoration of the remainder of the quarry will not be affected. This will include habitat creation to include woodlands and wetlands allowing retention of exposures of geological interest, added Rice.