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Shropshire to seek AD operator

Shropshire council is to search for an alternative operator for its pioneering AD plant at Ludlow after Biogen stops using the plant at the end of the year.

Operations at the Biocycle plant, owned by Shropshire Council and operated by Biogen, will wind down this month with complete closure planned by the of 2012 following a joint decision.

Biogen said that the plant had fulfilled its purpose of contributing to research into AD technology of food waste. A spokesperson said that the company would concentrate on other facilities that it had in the process of development: “The Shropshire plant has run its course. We have to put our resources where it is more practical. The purpose of the plant was for research and we will continue that research.”

Biogen has two operational plants in Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire, the company has secured a further contract to build a plant in Caernarfon and is preferred bidder for another plant in Denbighshire.

The 5,000 tonne per year plant at Coder Road, designed as a non-commercial operations, was the UK’s first demonstrator food waste AD plant. It was set up in 2005 with financing from Defra and Advantage West Midlands.

The plant originally received garden and food waste and then dealt with only food waste, including some from Shropshire. In October 2010, Shropshire stopped the separate food waste collections it ran in parts of the authority area, so that the plant currently services a small number of contracts all outside Shropshire, which will later be fulfilled by other AD plants.

The council said that the plans for closure where not due to a lack of feed stock and that it would look at ways to make the end of operations only temporary.

“The plant has been a success story,” a spokesman said. “It is still a marketable asset and we will be looking at the possibility of another operator to lease it out or purchase it.”

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