Gloucestershire’s controversial Energy from Waste Facility at Javelin Park on Junction 11 of the M5, has now become fully operational says the county council.
It is accepting up to 190,000 tonnes of residual waste each year from Gloucestershire’s homes and Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) and producing over 116,000 megawatts hour of electricity per annum which is exported to the National Grid.
The facility transitioned from commissioning to operations at the end of October 2019 with the remaining project construction team working since then to address snags and complete the outdoor wildlife area. Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) is working on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) to treat the county’s residual waste – that is waste that is not readily reused or recycled, and is under contract for the next 25 years.
With the facility now in full operation, the county is able to generate enough electricity to power around 25,000 homes. The facility also recycles aggregates and metals recovered from the process.
The project was first awarded a £500-million, 25-year residual waste treatment contract by the county council in 2012. Construction was due to begin the following summer, but the opposition from the council’s planning committee delayed things and began an appeals process that ended almost three years later.
But by January 2015 the then Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, approved the plans but Stroud District Council lodged a legal challenge of its own, rejected by the High Court months later.
Councillor Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, claimed that the payment would provide value for money, as the saving would free up funds for long-term frontline services.
For those interested, the site’s visitor centre will be open from next month. Educational tours, courses and workshops on the waste hierarchy and recycling, climate change, and sustainability will be available for schools, colleges, universities, as well as adult and community education groups. The company is even offering the site for business network events and meeting spaces. Use of the Visitor Centre, site visits and tours must be arranged and booked directly through the project website.
General Manager, Stacey Wright said: “We are pleased to have advanced to being fully operational from the commissioning phase and that the first few months have proceeded as planned. We are now making great progress on our Visitor Centre, living wall and and our commemorative mural depicting the history of the site. From next month onwards, we hope to begin hosting visits and tours for community and educational groups to show how the County’s waste is being treated and converted into energy and useful byproducts, and how the Facility supports Gloucestershire’s recycling activities.”
Councillor Nigel Moor, cabinet member for environment and planning for GCC said: “Javelin Park is a cost-effective and environmentally sound solution for processing the county’s waste that can’t be recycled. It will generate enough power for 25,000 homes, massively reduces carbon and saves the tax payer £100 million over 25 years.”
The facility began its commissiong process in June 2019, when it first received waste to test the treatment processes. In October, the commissioning phase was signed off by Urbaser Balfour Beatty, and moved from construction to operations.
Gloucestershire Energy from Waste Facility operates under an Environmental Permit which was issued and is monitored by the Environment Agency.