The Environment, Development and Transport committee of Norfolk voted to award three waste contracts over the next four years, totaling £68 million. In an effort to stop the flow of trash into the county’s landfills, it will instead be sent to combined heat and power plants in Europe. It will save the county’s waste management systems an estimated £2 million every year.
Currently, the council states that their waste management systems cost about £38 million a year.
Waste will be processed by FCC Environment at their location in Norwich, by Frimstone’s waste transfer station at Wisbech and Seneca’s waste transfer station in Rackheath, starting in April 2016.
Norfolk also plans to send 40,000 tonnes of trash to an energy from waste plant located close to Ipswich, Suffolk, according to an agreement in effect until 2020. And additional 10,000 tonnes will go to Great Blakenham, and some to an FCC facility in Allington.
The government is trying to publically appease disappointments over its April 2015 decision to abandon a plan for a 268,000 tonne-per-year energy from waste plant after they lost £500 million in funding for the project. Councillor Toby Coke last week stated that the government still needs to “pin down” its long term plan for their waste management systems. The county is expecting their waste generation to increase. The RDF deals, however, will provide “breathing space” until 2020, when the deals will no longer be in effect.
Recycling is a tricky subject, since any exporting/importing significantly adds to the carbon footprint, and can undo the good work recycling is trying to accomplish. The Norfolk councillors are also in a tricky situation: as their landfills become too full of trash, their options are few and expensive. This is a short-term solution, though, so hopefully the government’s plans to build a local energy from waste plant can go through so that they can deal with their own waste at home.