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Shanks MBT plant in Cumbria closed for disinfection

Deliveries to a mechanical biological treatment (MBT) waste treatment facility in Cumbria are being suspended from Monday while the operator, Shanks Waste Management, clears the site of an infestation of flies.

The notice follows concerns raised by businesses at the Sowerby Woods industrial estate in Barrow about flies at the Southern Resource Park MBT plant.

After a series of site visits by the Environment Agency and the issuing of a notice on 1 August, all waste deliveries will cease while Shanks works to improve the situation. This includes clearing the plant of waste and disinfecting the area.

The MBT plant is operated and controlled by Shanks on behalf of Cumbria County Council as part of a 25-year £700m waste management contract agreed in 2009. 

Cllr Clare Feeney-Johnson, the council’s cabinet member responsible for environment, said: “We have a contract with Shanks to run this plant for the next 21 years, and therefore it is essential that any problems are nipped in the bud in the early days of the plant’s operations so that it doesn’t have a negative impact on surrounding businesses in the longer term.

“The principle underpinning MBT is a sound one and the other MBT plant run by Shanks in Hespin Wood, Carlisle is running at full capacity. I fully expect the concerns raised about the Barrow facility to be a short-term issue, which can be addressed with the right operational measures from Shanks.”

A spokesperson from Shanks said: “Shanks is taking this matter very seriously. We are working hard to rectify the situation as soon as possible and to ensure that the issues do not recur.”

The plant opened in March this year. Shanks said the plant would save Cumbria County Council millions of pounds in landfill tax, generate SRF for use in extracting energy from waste, and divert around 85% of waste previously destined for landfill.

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