A) The site is approximately three hectares. It is situated at Willshee’s Waste & Recycling Depot 3 off of Cadley Hill Road, adjacent to the Willshee Materials Recovery Facility. It is in an area which was previously a railyard and coal transfer centre and is adjacent to an existing industrial estate and sewage works.
The Energy Recovery Facility, using proven technologies with multiple references in the UK and globally, is a conventional combustion plant, based on moving grate technology. The facility would have a gross electricity generating capacity of c. 19.5MW and the anticipated fuel throughput would be up to 230,000 tonnes per annum of non-hazardous residual waste including Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF).
The Aggregates Recovery Facility would recover secondary construction aggregates (bottom ash and metals for recycling) produced by the adjoining Energy Recovery Facility. It would be located on the area vacated by the temporary construction compound and laydown used to construct the Energy Recovery Facility. Reprocessing the bottom ash on-site offers the opportunity to reduce transport distances associated with recovering value from this product, together with the potential to blend with the secondary aggregates produced at the adjoining Materials Recovery Facility.
The combined effect of the Materials Recovery Facility, the Energy Recovery Facility and the Aggregates Recovery Facility would be to divert over 98% of the waste being treated at the site away from landfill.
The Swadlincote Resource Recovery Park provides a comprehensive, integrated solution for Derbyshire’s waste. The waste brought into the Materials Recovery Facility from Derbyshire and surrounding areas would be processed to create fuel for the new Energy Recovery Facility which delivers green energy. A by-product, bottom ash, is then processed into aggregates for construction uses next door at the Aggregates Recovery Facility.
Furthermore, some of the low-carbon energy generated by the Energy Recovery Facility would be used to power the Materials Recovery Facility and the Aggregates Recovery Facility, through private wire connections.
The proposed co-location of these symbiotic resource recovery facilities represents a step forwards to delivering a more circular economy. This keeps resources in use as long as possible, extracting maximum value from them, minimising waste (driving action further up the waste hierarchy) and promoting resource efficiency including reducing carbon emissions by removing the need to road haul resources long distances to different processing facilities. This in turn supports greater self-sufficiency in Derbyshire’s waste management sector. Turning waste into a resource and generating low-carbon energy is an important part of “closing the loop” in circular economy systems as well as increasing Derbyshire’s baseload electricity generation capacity.
The ERF can also be an ideal solution for the sewage sludge produced at the Swadlincote Water & Sewage Treatment plant, located just 200 meters to the north of the project site. This would further reduce HGV traffic currently used to transport the sludge for processing some 30 miles away.
The adjacent Materials Recovery Facility has an environmental permit for waste processing. The site’s location, topography and landscape mean the facility can be sensitively designed to reduce the environmental and visual effects.
Ultimately, the proposals provide Derbyshire with a far more environmentally friendly way of dealing with local waste and enhance local resilience in terms of locally produced power and heat.
A) The project is being developed by R&P Clean Power Ltd, a team with over 35 years of experience in project development and asset management in the low-carbon energy generation space, particularly in energy recovery facilities such as this.
The Directors have unique in-house development expertise spanning all aspects of waste-to-energy infrastructure development as well as across the asset management spectrum from sourcing, financing and long-term management.
They have worked in the energy from waste sector delivering plants around the UK. For this project, R&P Clean Power has sourced a technology provider with a proven track record of successful installations here in the UK.
There are also a number of other facilities similar to this operating in the UK in both urban and rural areas. They are helping us to manage our waste more sustainably as well as delivering a more secure and stable energy supply for the UK.
A) The UK needs a solution to deal with the volumes of waste that are not currently recycled or can’t be recycled. There is an opportunity to use this waste as a resource and a source of low-carbon energy, instead of sending it to landfill.
Putting it to good use will also reduce the amount of waste which is currently trucked or shipped long distances. For example, over 1.7 million tonnes of RDF was shipped to Continental Europe in 2020, according to Let’s Recycle.
The UK currently lags behind Europe in terms of how much energy it recovers from its waste – we have one of the highest rates of landfill. Studies by the waste company Suez and the UK’s Environmental Services Association have each projected an energy recovery capacity gap through 2030 of upwards of 8 million tonnes per annum – the equivalent of 30-40 mid-sized facilities similar to that being proposed here.
Finally, South Derbyshire District Council has declared a ‘climate emergency’ and this facility, by diverting waste that would otherwise go to landfill, will support the county’s wider sustainability goals by generating low carbon electricity thereby increasing energy security.
A) This will be a next generation facility using the latest technology to safely reuse waste to generate low-carbon energy.
The process recovers the energy content in non-recyclable waste. The pre-treated and processed waste, some of which will be provided by the existing on-site Materials Recovery Facility, is delivered to chambers where combustion can safely take place at high temperatures. The heat generated warms water in steel tubes, converting it to steam and delivering it to a turbine that continuously generates electricity.
The net output would be c. 16.7MWe. We at full capacity, which would be capable of producing energy for 36,800 homes. The facility will also be able to supply heat for local businesses further lowering their carbon footprint. This would help to reduce the overall amount of fossil fuels local businesses use.
An on-site Aggregates Recovery Facility is also planned which will take the bottom ash from the Energy Recovery Facility and process aggregates that can be recycled and utilised in various construction applications.
The electricity for the Materials Recovery Facility and the Aggregates Recovery Facility could also be provided by the Energy Recovery Facility.
A) Up to 230,000 tonnes per annum of waste would be processed by the Energy Recovery Facility. This consists of post-recycled waste, including commercial & industrial as well as household waste and biodegradable waste such as paper, food and wood which would release methane gas if landfilled. It does not include hazardous waste.
The RDF component of the waste is dried and shredded prior to being brought on-site, so easier and lighter to transport. It will include the materials that it is not possible to recycle in the adjacent Materials Recycling Facility.
Currently much of this type of material in the UK is either landfilled or shipped abroad for use in similar facilities, particularly on the Continent. R&P Clean Power Ltd will divert this waste from landfill and will source it predominantly from local waste supply companies, thereby using locally sourced waste to produce heat and power for the local community and economy.
It is environmentally and commercially appropriate for us to use local-arising waste in adherence with tenets of the Proximity Principle by lowering the cost of transport as well as the carbon emissions of this transport.
Furthermore, this symbiotic process represents an important building block for the advancement of Derbyshire’s circular economy.
A) The by-product is a form of ash that can be recycled and used as aggregates for example, mainly for repairing roads. A far smaller proportion (less than 2% of the original mass) is a type of ash which cannot be recycled and can be safely disposed of at appropriately licensed disposal sites.
A) Yes. It will use advanced technology which is successfully employed in similar facilities in the UK and around the world. There are more than 50 energy from waste facilities operating in the UK. It will meet the exacting standards to be classified as a high efficiency Energy Recovery Facility (ERF).
A) Conventional incineration typically refers to a high temperature combustion process in which waste is burnt with the sole purpose of destroying germs and bacteria and reducing the waste volume. Energy recovery processes, such as the Swadlincote Energy Recovery Facility, focus on efficiently and cleanly converting the energy content of post-recycled waste into electricity and heat.
Also, the emissions from the Swadlincote Energy Recovery Facility will be subject to strict regulations and require adherence to Best Available Techniques (BAT), as set out in the Industrial Emissions Directive and BAT Reference Document for Waste Incineration, which involves the capturing of pollutants in the exhaust gas using powdered reagents and filtering of the residual flue gas to remove particulates before it is released into the atmosphere. As a result, energy recovery facilities such as this are 40-50 times cleaner from an emissions standpoint than their incineration predecessors from only 30 years ago; for many pollutants the gas cleaning systems will remove more than 99.9% of what is within the pre-treated exhaust gas. A study in 2000 by the German Federal Environmental Agency (Umweltbudesamt) found that dioxins emitted from chimneys and stoves in private households discharged approximately twenty times more dioxins into the environment than energy recovery facilities using comparable technology to that which will be installed in the Swadlincote Energy Recovery Facility.
A) The waste that is used in the facility to generate energy usually goes to landfill. This facility will divert up to 230,000 tonnes per annum of waste from landfill for use in this Energy Recovery Facility. Some of this material if put into landfill would produce methane, which is more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Finally, because it will source its waste from local waste supply companies, it will represent a substantial reduction in transport emissions generated by HGV traffic, as well as ships currently used to export waste to the Continent.
A) On week days, there will be approximately 61 deliveries to the Energy Recovery Facility and Aggregates Recovery Facility between 7am and 6pm and up to 40 deliveries on Saturdays between 7am and 2pm. There will be no deliveries on Sundays or Bank Holidays.
The number of vehicles will be lower than a comparable facility of this nature due to the adjacent Materials Recovery Facility where materials not suitable for recycling will be sourced from.
Car-borne movements will be generated from the staff employed to operate the new facilities, with approximately 39 people being employed full-time on a shift pattern over the 24-hours per day operation.
Vehicles will only make deliveries during permitted delivery times. All vehicles would be fitted with automated data recording and management systems and will use approved routes. These routes would be agreed with Derbyshire County Council as part of the planning process, in consultation with Parish Councils.
R&P Clean Power Ltd would enter into a routing agreement which would set the permitted routes the vehicles are allowed to use.
As part of the planning application and associated Environmental Impact Assessment, R&P Clean Power Limited have commissioned various ecological surveys to identify the habitats within the site and the species they support and to determine their ecological value and importance. The potential impacts of the proposed development on these features have been assessed and appropriate measures developed to avoid or minimise identified impacts. Where loss of habitat cannot be avoided, new habitats will be created off-site to ensure that there is no net loss of biodiversity because of the proposed development.
Where necessary, measures to protect and enhance these species will be put in place to ensure that they are not harmed. As part of the proposal and as the site has a Local Wildlife Site designation, appropriate plots, off-site but within South Derbyshire, have been secured for the purpose of recreating a habitat, including woodlands and species rich grasslands, to account for any loss of such habitat on-site. The total area of this off-site habitat will be sized in order to account for a net biodiversity gain, thereby increasing the level of biodiversity within South Derbyshire, resulting in a net increase in its green footprint.
The Air Quality assessment provided within the Environmental Statement has predicted pollutant concentrations at the relevant ecological sites in the area and assessed the impacts of the proposed development upon them, as well as upon human health receptors.
The Environmental Statement has assessed the impacts of drainage and lighting on the ecological assets to ensure that the environment will be protected. Mitigation elements needed have been incorporated into the design.
In terms of the operation of the Energy Recovery Facility and the Aggregates Recovery Facility, as with all similar facilities around the UK, this would operate strictly in accordance with an Environmental Permit which is used and regulated by the Environment Agency. This permit controls all operations and will only be granted if the Environment Agency is sure that there will be no adverse effects on the local community and environment. Once a facility is built, the Environment Agency will continue to continuously monitor its operation.
All potential environmental effects will be assessed as part of the strict planning application process. The full planning application suite of documents, including the Environmental Statement and air quality assessment, is available to view on the Derbyshire County Council website.
In order to meet the strict standards under UK legislation, the Energy Recovery Facility will be fitted with advanced technologies which control and monitor emissions 24 hours a day. This is monitored at the facility but also by the Environment Agency and they have the ability to instantly close any facility if they are unhappy with its operation. The facility will also automatically prevent waste feed whenever the continuous measurements show that any emission limit value is exceeded due to disturbances or failures of the waste gas cleaning devices.
This is a fully sealed system and there are no discharges to the land or river. It is proven technology.
There is one flue chimney. The discharge from this is first extensively cleaned and scrubbed to a level which is better than the Environment Agency allowable standards. The process also involves the extraction and reuse of the vast majority of the ash.
You may wish to undertake further research into the technology. Some useful links are provided below:
The Government Review Waste Policy in England 2011 report
Energy from Waste: A Guide to the Debate, Defra, February 2014 (revised edition)
Wtert – Energy from Waste Research and Technology Council
The Association for Renewable Energy & Clean Technology
No Time To Waste : Resources , Recovery & The Road to Net-Zero, July 2020
The planning application and associated Environmental Statement includes an Air Quality Assessment which assessed the potential impact of emissions in the local area, and the facility has been designed to ensure that it will not have a significant impact on air quality and human health.
All deliveries will be in enclosed vehicles and materials will be tipped, stored and processed in sealed buildings with odour control systems in place, including negative pressure which sucks air into the building, with this air then used in the combustion process.
The Energy Recovery Facility will only store a minimal amount of waste at the site, so it is used within a couple of days of arriving.
This enclosed delivery and process system will ensure that no litter escapes to the surroundings and as such no vermin will be attracted to the site.
The storage bunker will also be equipped with a dedicated odour control unit which is self-sufficient and therefore able to treat odours at any time, even when the Energy Recovery Facility is not running.
The Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) element of the feedstock (which is anticipated to be the majority) is largely dehumidified and will arrive either wrapped in bales or in covered articulated transporters and stored within the building in a sealed system.
A) All the equipment will be inside buildings specially designed to manage noise. R&P Clean Power Ltd will assess potential noise impacts as part of the planning application process and ensure that the proposed development will create no unacceptable noise impacts.
A) This will be a private sector investment into the area representing upwards of £150 million. It would be bespoke and significant elements will be manufactured in the UK. It will create up to 180 construction jobs over a three-year period and around 39 permanent green energy jobs on-site once completed.
It will provide a source of green energy into the grid, reducing carbon emissions and methane from landfilling our waste as well as reducing the amount of waste landfilled in the region. In addition, the UK is a net importer of natural gas, oil, coal and uranium. The proposals will generate clean energy which will help to provide a secure supply of baseload energy capacity for the UK thereby increasing energy security. It can also provide heat for use by local businesses.
A) The project is at an early stage and a planning application has been submitted.
A) We welcome your comments. Please click here to access our comment form.
You can also contact the team with any queries or to email comments by filling in our contact form below, contacting Victoria Walker on 07413 563905 or completing our questionnaire which can be downloaded here
Derbyshire County Council will also undertake a formal consultation process now that a planning application has been submitted which you can view on the Council’s website. Please visit our website regularly to find out more.