Rival bidders put forward plans for controversial waste project

DETAILED plans by two rival bidders for a controversial multi-million pound waste treatment plant in the Dearne Valley were revealed yesterday.

Proposals drawn up by SITA UK Lend Lease and 3SE, a consortium of Shanks Group and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), were revealed to the public in Bolton upon Dearne, and will also go on show in Wath and Mexborough over the next week.

The Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham (BDR) Waste Partnership has earmarked a site in Bolton Road, Manvers, for the plant, which would process an expected 200,000 tons of waste collected from the three authorities each year.

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Already, the project has secured 77.4m of Private Finance Initiative (PFI) funding from the Government, though the total cost is expected to be far greater.

BDR invited proposals for the development and considered bids from a number of organisations before SITA UK and 3SE were selected for the final shortlist.

The preferred bidder will be selected by the end of the year, and a planning application submitted to Rotherham Council by summer 2011. If planning consent is granted, work will begin in early 2013 and the facility will open in summer 2015.

SITA's plan involves developing the "Dearne Valley Treatment and Energy Centre" which would have two main parts – a recycling area and an "energy recovery" area with a tall chimney.

Waste project director Geoff Birkett said: "First, it will pick out the recyclable materials that, in an ideal world, would have already been picked out by a householder and put in a recycling bin.

"What's left goes into the energy from waste facility, which burns the remaining waste and produces electricity which is fed into the National Grid.

"What's left after that is called 'bottom ash', which can be used for roads or bridge building. It's a filling material with structural strength and can be used by the construction industry."

SITA's plans would create more than 60 permanent jobs and 300 temporary jobs during the construction period.

Unlike SITA's proposal, the facility built by 3SE would not have an "incinerator" on site as processed waste would be taken to the Ferrybridge power station, near Knottingley.

Mr Birkett said: "What happens here is the waste comes in and it goes into a 'biodrying' area. Then, what's left is put through a recycling area to take out recyclables.

"What's left after that is what you call solid recovered fuel (SRF), which would go off to Ferrybridge power station. There's a specialist furnace being developed on the site which will burn SRF to produce electricity."

If 3SE's plan is chosen, more than 40 permanent jobs will be created in Manvers, and a further 25 at Ferrybridge.

Both proposed schemes would have an attached visitors' centre for schoolchildren and community groups to learn more about the waste treatment facilities. Whichever plan goes ahead, kerbside recycling services will remain unaffected.

A spokesman for BDR said: "Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham councils are committed to reach kerbside recycling rates of at least 50 per cent before the PFI project comes on stream in 2015.

"In 2001, recycling rates across the three authorities were around three per cent.

"Vigorous campaigning by the three councils and a good response from local people mean this figure is now more than 40 per cent.

Public consultation sessions, at which residents can view the plans and ask questions, will take place tomorrow at the Montgomery Hall in Wath upon Dearne and on Tuesday, June 22 at the Mexborough Resource Centre. Each of the sessions runs from 12 noon to 8pm.