NOTE: This content is old - Published: Tuesday, Mar 26th, 2019.
An £800 million waste management facility in Flintshire will greatly reduce how much rubbish North Wales councils send to landfill, politicians have heard.
The state-of-the-art Parc Adfer waste-to-energy plant is expected to open on schedule in May after just over two years of construction.
The facility on Deeside Industrial Park, which involves five of the region’s six local authorities, has been in the offing for the best part of a decade and is designed to provide a sustainable solution for managing waste.
Any materials which are usually difficult to recycle will be burnt at high temperatures to create fuel, gas or steam that drives a turbine and generates electricity.
The facility will be run by US-based company Wheelabrator and has resulted in the creation of 34 new jobs, ranging from plant management to operational, technical and administrative roles.
Colin Everett, chief executive of Flintshire Council which is leading the project, said it would help to cut costs for all organisations involved.
Speaking at a meeting of the North Wales Residual Waste Joint Committee in St Asaph today, he said:
“We all got together some years ago because we know that individually we were all too small to have any commercial leverage.
“We’ll be sharing income from the electricity part of it and as and when we’ve reached agreement we’ll also be using the heat steam by product.
“The gate fee costs will be subsidised by the Welsh Government and the fact the bottom ash in itself is recyclable will help towards recycling targets.
“It’s state of the art modern technology and in 25 years the site and the value of it will revert to the authorities so we’ve got a very valuable facility.”
The Welsh Government has contributed towards the project as it pushes for the 22 local authorities in Wales to meet recycling targets of 70 per cent by 2025.
The only North Wales body not involved is Wrexham Council, which is locked into a Private Finance Initiative which is costing it £15m-a-year.
There have been calls for ministers in Cardiff to take a look at the deal with FCC Environment, which could set the authority back by at least £419 million over its lifespan.
Parc Adfer will be able to process up to 200,000 tonnes of waste per year, generating enough renewable energy to power more than 30,000 homes.
During its construction, some union representatives raised concerns that workers were not being paid enough.
It resulted in a protest being held outside the site amid claims some of the hundreds of builders were receiving as little as £8.75 per hour.
However, Mr Everett said the issues raised were related to national contractual problems.
He said: “This is not disrespectful to the union challenge at all, but many of the issues raised were indeed national ones.
“There was never any breach of any contractual requirements.
“We’ve shared a huge amount of information with unions on health and safety, supply chains, local labour and pay rates.
“There’s also a substantial community fund we will be using from the project and there will be a fully operational education centre which is very much about promoting recycling.”
Fears have also been raised by residents in Deeside that the scheme will add to pollution in the area.
In response, those involved in the project said the plant would be subject to strict monitoring by Natural Resources Wales as part of its permit conditions.
Flintshire’s chief officer for governance Gareth Owens said: “We did very high levels of monitoring in the locality prior to construction commencing so that we have a detailed baseline about what the existing levels of air particles might be.
“We can then demonstrate if there’s any deviance to that.”
More than a million hours of construction work have been carried out on the site with tests now underway to prepare the facility for opening.
The first waste delivery is expected to be made on May 6.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).