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Sheffield incinerator 'could run short', opponents claim

An incinerator in Sheffield may face a feedstock shortage, campaigners against the development have claimed.

Veolia Environmental Services (VES) has applied to Sheffield City Council to allow an additional 15,000 tonnes of waste per year to be collected for the incinerator from outside Sheffield.

The energy recovery facility (ERF), which has been operational since 2006, currently sources 50,000 tonnes from outside of the Sheffield catchment area, but the application seeks to increase this to 65,000 tonnes from a widened collection area. This would include Doncaster, the Nottinghamshire districts of Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Mansfield and Newark and Sherwood, and neighbouring Derbyshire’s districts of Amber Valley, Bolsover, Derbyshire Dales and High Peak.

In a supporting statement to the application, VES said that it was applying to increase its catchment area because: “It is now considered unlikely that sufficient Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and C&I [commercial and industrial] waste will be available to the ERF under the terms of the current planning permission… and as such the efficiency of the Plant and its associated District Energy system will not perform to its optimal level.”

VES said the cause of the shortage of feedstock included “successful recycling initiatives and overall a progression in waste management practices” in Sheffield, as well as a growing reliance on commercial and industrial waste. The industry giant said the lack of feedstock will “become even more pronounced following theimplementation of Alternative Weekly Collections (AWC) planned across the City.”

Nottinghamshire supply chain uncertain

The UK Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) said that the Sheffield incinerator could run short of feedstock after VES withdrew from legal battles over its attempts to get planning permission for an incinerator at nearby Rainworth, Nottinghamshire.

VES is in talks on a draft revised project plan with Nottinghamshire but UKWIN national co-ordinator Shlomo Dowen said it was “premature” of VES to make the Sheffield application as he expected Nottinghamshire would instead use FCC’s Eastcroft incinerator in Nottingham. He said would be more economical to do so, and predicted such a move might hit the viability of the Sheffield facility.

A letter sent to Mr Dowen by Nottinghamshire’s group manager for waste and energy management, Mick Allen, said no decision had been made on VES’s draft revised project plan proposals.

Richard Butler, chair of Nottinghamshire’s environment and sustainability committee, said: “The county council continues to work closely with Veolia on the development of a revised project plan to identify the best possible way of dealing with the residual waste which was due to be treated at the [incinerator], and which is currently being sent to landfill for disposal.

“The revised project plan has to continue to provide a sustainable and affordable waste management solution to the county council, protecting the authority from the impact of landfill tax increases, particularly in the current difficult economic climate.”

A VES spokesman said: “The facts are we are working closely with Nottinghamshire County Council on a revised project plan for the Nottinghamshire waste management PFI.

“Rather than speculate or second guess the decision making process, interested parties will have to allow the county council to make their decision once they have had time to consider detailed plans and recommendations.”

He added said no recommendation had as yet been considered.

Readers' comments (1)

  • "Sheffield incinerator 'could run short', opponents claim" should read: "Sheffield incinerator 'could run short', Veolia claims". We did not invent that claim, it is Veolia who is telling Sheffield City Council that the incinerator is yet again running short of feedstock. Is this a sign of things to come as overcapacity begins to undermine the case for new incinerators? The Nottinghamshire decision seems to suggest that as existing incinerators are running short of feedstock, building new incinerators with public money is increasingly a thing of the past...

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