The Welsh Government is to support a waste recovery project, which includes an energy-from-waste (EfW) plant in Cardiff, with £4.2m a year over a 25-year period.
Prosiect Gwyrdd is a local authority partnership to treat residual waste from the councils of Caerphilly, Cardiff, Monmouthshire, Newport and the Vale of Glamorgan. Viridor was appointed preferred bidder for the project in March. The £1bn project includes the construction of Viridor’s 350,000 tonne a year incinerator at Trident Park, Cardiff. This has been underway since March 2012.
Welsh Government minister for natural resources Alun Davies said: “At a time when councils across Wales are facing an unprecedentedly difficult financial climate and working to improve services with reduced resources, this facility will help those in south-east Wales to save money, which can instead be spent on our schools, libraries and roads.”
Prosiect Gwyrdd is expected to save the partner authorities approximately £500m during the next 25 years in the form of diverting waste from landfill and reducing landfill tax expenses, the ministry said.
However, government support to EfW facilities has been questioned by the Welsh Green Party, which argued that the use of such plants would depress recycling.
Pippa Bartolotti, Wales Green Party leader, said: “What we need is more flexibility. Metal, plastic and paper are readily recyclable and there are good markets for them. Food waste is easily compostable, and provides nourishment for the land from which it originally came.”
Richard Jenkins, regional director for Viridor, agreed that materials presented for recycling should be diverted from landfill and EfW where possible but EfW remained a central component of the waste hierarchy.
“As Defra recognises, £6.8bn of UK EfW capacity is required over the next six years, of which Viridor will invest some £1.5bn,” he said.
“This investment will not only help drive the UK’s green economy but will end a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ policy framework which supports the export of UK resources capable of powering growth in our economy and delivering energy security while we pay the price.”