Go-ahead for South Yorkshire waste plant hit by years of wrangles

AFTER years of controversy and a lengthy planning process, yesterday permission was finally given for a new waste facility to be built in South Yorkshire.

The mechanical biological treatment (MBT) and anaerobic digestion (AD) facility at Manvers, in the Dearne Valley, will handle black bin household waste from three authorities – Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham.

In April last year Shanks Waste Solutions and Scottish and Southern Energy, which together formed the company 3SE, were selected as the preferred developers for the £77m waste plant.

Yesterday Rotherham Council said it would approve the planning application for the Bolton Road site, although this now has to be rubber-stamped before building work gets underway.

Following the board’s decision yesterday afternoon, BDR spokesman Darren Richardson said: “We note the decision today by Rotherham Council’s planning board, that it is minded to approve planning consent for the new waste treatment and renewable energy facility at Bolton Road, Manvers, for Shanks Waste Management Limited.

“There will now be a further period during which the national planning casework unit may want to further consider the detail of the application, before full and final consent is given.

“Subject to no further action being required, we anticipate planning consent being confirmed in autumn 2012.”

Once full planning permission is confirmed, building work will start on the plant, which is set to open in 2015.

Ian Goodfellow, managing director of Shanks UK, said yesterday: “We are very pleased with the planning board’s recommendation.

“It is an important milestone in the progress of this project and represents the result of many years’ hard work with the local authorities and the communities involved.

”Subject to the national planning casework unit’s decision we look forward to delivering this facility, which will enable all three boroughs to find a more sustainable solution for recycling and recovering the three boroughs’ black bin waste.”

According to Shanks, when the facility at Bolton Road is operational, it will lead to a saving equivalent to 114,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.

The facility will be one of the first where waste company Shanks has had the MBT and AD processes operating on the same site .

It will treat up to 265,000 tonnes of household waste and a small amount of commercial waste from across Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham.

The facility will first remove materials that can be reused or recycled – such as metals, glass, plastics and compost – from the household waste.

Remaining waste would be “biodried” and turned into fuel to be burned at the Ferrybridge power station, near Knottingley, in a process which could provide enough energy to power 36,000 homes.

The scheme will create more than 40 jobs at Manvers and a further 25 at Ferrybridge.

Earlier this week, perhaps confident of gaining planning consent, 3SE signed a 25-year private finance initiative (PFI) contract with the BDR Waste Partnership.

In July last year, the company held three separate public exhibitions in Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham during which members of the public could view and comment on its proposals.

A total of 18,499 newsletters were also hand-delivered to households and businesses in the area.

However, only 129 people attended the public exhibitions and just 34 people – two per cent of the total number polled – responded to the consultation.

Of those 34 respondents, just seven people said the waste site would be a “good facility”.

The site in Manvers was originally selected as it is close to the boundaries of all three authorities involved in the scheme.