Around £3.2m needs to be invested in a waste processing plant in Buckley in order to secure its future, council officials have revealed.
Standard Yard on the Spencer’s Industrial Estate is said to have hit a “critical point” with regular machinery failures, restricting the local authority’s ability to sort recyclable materials.
It is therefore planning to expand the existing site and spend money on new equipment in a bid to boost recycling rates.
The improvements would result in the creation of a new access road into the industrial estate off Globe Way and a weighbridge and office facility.
It would also see upgraded welfare facilities for staff and better security systems put in place.
A senior council figure said the changes were needed to ensure more recyclable waste can be processed at the site.
In a report, Steve Jones, chief officer for streetscene and transportation, said: “Standard Yard’s Waste Transfer Station (WTS) has seen significant growth in processing demand, both in terms of the quantity and quality of recyclable materials collected at the kerbside in recent years.
“However, the WTS is now operating at its maximum capacity, and lacks the space and facilities to be able to take in more materials and/or additional waste streams for processing.
“Without further development and investment at the facility, there is a risk that the rise in the quantity of the materials collect will start to compromise the quality.
“Consequently, the facility is at a critical point and significant further investment in infrastructure is required to ensure the continued viability of the site and accommodate future growth in processing capacity.
“Subject to funding, an opportunity has now arisen for the site to be extended to enable the WTS to operate under cover on one single site and to increase the size of the site, which would enable future growth and capacity, as well as improve efficiency and environmental compliance on site.
“In turn, the new facility would enable the council to deliver an increase in recycling rates, reduce material contamination and increase the quality of the recyclable materials, thereby maximising potential income for recyclable materials for the council.”
Flintshire Council currently provides a weekly recycling collection service for residents.
Once collected, all recyclables and food waste are taken to one of the authority’s waste transfer stations, including the one in Buckley.
There materials are either separated further and put into bales or bulked together before being sent on to be recycled.
However, Mr Jones said the council was currently experiencing up to four days a week of downtime at Standard Yard each month.
He added: “In recent times the plant has experienced recurrent mechanical failures, which has resulted in significant downtime that impacts on the operation on a regular basis.
“This in turn has necessitated temporary processing arrangements through external third parties, which incurs additional haulage costs and necessitates collection vehicles having to deposit materials at Greenfield WTS some distance away, which in itself presents other logistical challenges and creates more downtime for collection crews and vehicles.
“With the proposed changes to the site, there is an opportunity to renew the baling machine, plant and equipment, and introduce increased automated processing on site with less manual processing.”
The majority of the funding for the project is expected to come from the Welsh Government with the council also expected to commit £1.2m worth of capital.
The proposals will go before members of the authority’s environment scrutiny committee on Tuesday.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).