A: Modern EfW plants in England can only operate with an Environmental Permit from the Environment Agency (EA) under the Pollution Prevention and Control regulations. Other parts of the UK have their own respective agencies with similar powers. Operators must continuously monitor in real time and report emissions from the plant. The EA inspect facilities regularly and tightly enforces regulations. Importantly, Public Health England reviewed the latest scientific evidence on the health effects of modern incinerators and concluded in its position paper (3rd September 2009), that any potential damage from modern, well run and regulated incinerators is likely to be so small that it would be undetectable.
The UK’s Environmental Services Association (ESA) puts EfW emissions into context, stating ‘in 2015 home wood burners generated 785 times more particulate matter, while road traffic emitted 45 times more NOx, and Bonfire Night alone produced 10 times more dioxins than EfW across the whole year.’
A: The Rookery South site, located within the Northern Marston Vale Growth area, was chosen after an extensive search in this region. Covanta originally looked at over 340 sites and Rookery Pit South was considered the most suitable. The site is an appropriate location to develop the Project because:
- It avoids those areas most protected by policy e.g. Greenbelt;
- It is accessible by a suitable road network, and offers the potential for rail transport in the future;
- It is capable of providing enough space to avoid local adverse environmental impacts;
- It is centrally located enabling the required waste management and energy supply capacity to be provided in a strategically advantageous position;
- It’s located in a former clay extraction pit which is around 10 metres lower than the surrounding land which will reduce the facility’s visual profile; and
- The Marston Vale is expected to see significant levels of new housing and industry development. This increases the opportunity for the facility to supply homes and businesses with low carbon steam or heat from the facility.
- Rookery South is identified in Bedfordshire’s Minerals and Waste Local Plan as a potential site for development of waste treatment and disposal facilities.
A: The ERF will convert over 500,000 tonnes of residual waste per year into over 60 MWe of electricity. That’s enough electricity equivalent to meet the needs of 75,000 homes, or, to put this into context, the Rookery South facility will capable of powering a town larger than Bedford which has around 70,000 homes.
The Rookery South Pit site is 95 hectares and the ERF will occupy approximately 10 hectares of the total area. The ERF location and orientation is designed to keep the visual impact on the surrounding area to a minimum and to also reduce potential noise. The presence of the ERF was reduced further through the selection of a single combined stack as it appeared a more elegant feature than the three stack option which emphasised the stacks within the landscape. The height of the ERF is also at the lower end of the range when compared with other UK EfW plants.
Rookery South Pit has a permanent pumping station operating on demand to prevent accumulation of water and flooding.
Integrating heat off-take into the facility would further increase the plant’s efficiency and put available waste materials to even better use. While we do not currently have a heat off-taker in place, we have already had enquiries from potential heat off-takers for both district heating and commercial applications. We are keen and ready to engage with all interested parties who wish to discuss their requirements with us.
Even with a significant increase in recycling with robust recycling markets, there will continue to be residual waste that will need EfW treatment. The UK has a significant shortage of energy-from-waste treatment capacity and the Rookery South facility will provide much-needed treatment capacity for household and non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste.
In the future this need is likely to escalate as availability of the export market decreases and cost of export increases.
During the peak construction period, the project will employ over 600 construction operatives.
- Electricity Subsidy Scheme (unique in the UK) for around 9.000 households
- Community Trust Fund (£150k initial before COD/then £50k/year)
- Education and Visitor Centre
- Footpath and cycle path enhancements enabling improved access to Rookery pit
- Marston Vale Trust Fund (Initial £250k, then £50k/year)
- Contribution to Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway project (Design £200k/Construction £3.175 million) – enabling a linking part of the ‘jigsaw’ to be put in place
- Millennium Country Park planting scheme (trees and shrubs to the value of £32.8k)
- Employment and training opportunities (apprenticeships)
- Around 320 construction jobs
- Around 60 new operational jobs
- Indirect employment via local suppliers including catering and accommodation during construction
- Level crossing safety upgrade funded by Covanta
- Restoration of the Rookery South pit to a beneficial use
We value the views and opinions of our neighbours and look forward to building open and transparent relationships. If you would like to find out more or be involved in the CLP, please email us here. Alternatively, click on this link to find out more about the Rookery South CLP, previous meetings or minutes.
Integrating heat off-take into the Facility would further increase its efficiency and put available waste materials to even better use. While we do not currently have a heat off-taker in place, we have already had enquiries from potential heat off-takers for both district heating and commercial applications. We are keen and ready to engage with all interested parties who wish to discuss their requirements with us.
A: Transport and access to the site and the impact of deliveries and people employed at the ERF is the subject of a full Transport Study, which has taken on comments by the Highway Authorities. Measures that Covanta will take to minimise and enhance traffic and access impacts include:
- Restrictions on delivery hours and a controlled and monitored HGV Route Management Plan.
- A new junction with a right turning lane on Green Lane to provide access to the Facility;
- Improvements to the footway/cycleway provision on Green Lane – potentially creating a second public access into The Forest Centre and Millennium Country Park;
- Funding of the upgrade the Green Lane level crossing;
- Reconnection of severed footpaths and creation of new footpaths and cycleways.
During the operational phase, we expect around 100 HGVs bringing in waste each day and 25 taking ash away for recycling and/or secure disposal. That’s 125 in and 125 out - nowhere near 600 vehicles which is often misquoted.
The tipping hall at the Rookery South ERF has been engineered to ensure that when HGVs deliver residual waste to the plant, the vehicles firstly enter the tipping hall area and then reverse to tip their loads directly into the waste bunker. As the tipping hall and waste bunker are in an enclosed building, this further reduces the risk of windblown litter and noise from within the facility.
Covanta strives to be a responsible owner, operator and good neighbour in the communities where we operate. Our staff are committed to a clean and environmentally safe operating environment in our facilities and the surrounding environments. If litter or waste is spotted near the ERF and reported to us, we will ensure that it is investigated and, if necessary, cleaned up as soon as possible.