Expanding London’s main airport would require the relocation of a large energy-from-waste (EfW) plant, according to a report from an independent commission.
The Government-appointed Airports Commission (AC) has published for consultation its assessment of three proposals, two on additional runway capacity at Heathrow and one for Gatwick.
The document indicates that expanding Heathrow’s airfield would require the removal and replacement of the Lakeside EfW facility.
The plant, which was build at Colnbrook near Slough in 2010, is a joint venture between Grundon Waste Management and Viridor.
It processes around 410,000 tonnes of residual waste per year and generates 37MW of power. Grundon also runs a clinical waste incinerator on the site.
The AC said: “The plant, while not of national importance, nevertheless plays a significant role in regional and local waste management and has a valuable capability to process clinical waste and other contaminated material.”
The commission acknowledged that the re-planning and construction of the plant would be a “substantial exercise in its own right”.
“The process of planning and provision of an alternative facility would, therefore, need to begin soon after a decision to proceed with airport expansion,” it said.
The AC forecast a new runway could be delivered by 2026, but said the relocation of the Lakeside EfW could pose one of the main risks of missing such date.
A spokesperson for the Lakeside EfW plant said: “Lakeside is aware of the proposed expansion plans and moving forward, will continue dialogue with all relevant parties.
“We are pleased that the Airports Commission has identified that there is a need to relocate both the Lakeside EfW facility and the associated Grundon clinical waste plant. Both facilities are regionally significant”.
The consultation closes on 3 February.