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Northumberland facility approved

An £11 million integrated waste management facility (IWMF) has been approved by Northumberland County Council (NCC) at the second time of asking.

The local authoritys planning committee originally deferred judgement on the SITA UK application back in January so the two parties could review the access road to the site.

But NCC has now agreed to put a package of traffic management measures in place at the West Sleekburn facility which will include improved road safety at a local school, widening a section of road and agreed vehicle routes which avoid local residential areas.

This will allow the site to process 50,000 tonnes a year of mixed newspapers, magazines, cardboard, cans and plastic bottles from the area as well as sorting 70,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste to be used in generating electricity.

SITA UK Private Finance Initiative (PFI) director Charles Dupont said: Naturally we are delighted with this decision. This will be an important strategic facility for managing Northumberlands waste and we believe this is the best location for it.

We have held exhibitions locally to consult local people and I believe that the revised proposals approved today [March 6] show that their views have been taken into account.

The IWMF will have as its key components a materials recycling facility and a waste transfer station, both of which are seen as crucial to NCC and SITA UKs plans to increase recycling and divert as much of the countys waste away from landfill as possible.

While it will form part of the companys PFI contract with the local authority, the West Sleekburn site will also create 80 full time jobs.

Providing these new facilities will enable the county council to meet stringent targets for landfill diversion set by the Government. Failure to meet these targets will result in significant fines in the future, added Dupont.

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