I am concerned about the pollution produced by the plant. Can we expect a dramatic increase of emissions in the local area?
In issuing the IWMF’s Environmental Permit the Environment Agency presented its decision summary relating to the potential impacts of the IWMF on human health and local air quality, which states:
Our conclusion is that we consider the proposed facility is unlikely to contribute to any breach of the relevant air quality standards for human health and the environment…
For the proposed design and operation of the incinerator plant, we believe that emissions of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) have been demonstrated to be insignificant…
We are confident that the stringent controls imposed by UK and European legislation coupled with effective day to day regulation will safeguard human health in the locality of the facility.
Current advice from Public Health England states, “while it is not possible to rule out adverse health effects from modern, well-regulated municipal waste incinerators with complete certainty, any potential damage to the health of those living close-by is likely to be very small, if detectable”.
Is there a need for this plant?
Yes. Around 500,000 tonnes of waste from Essex is currently landfilled or exported outside of the county and even abroad to energy-from-waste facilities on the continent.
Will there be an increase in trucks driving through the surrounding villages?
No. All trucks entering the IWMF will use the existing site road that serves the quarry. There is no other way on to site except via that site road, which can only be accessed from the A120. Although the site road crosses 2 local roads, the bollards in place make it impossible for a truck to turn onto the site road at those points.
Will there be an increase in pollution from all of the waste being trucked to the Rivenhall IWMF?
No. All of that waste currently goes elsewhere – some of it over to the continent for disposal. Some waste will now undoubtedly have a shorter journey.
What happens to the ash left after burning?
Around 20% of the volume of the waste will remain as non-hazardous ash. This will be processed to remove metals for recycling and the remainder will be processed into secondary aggregate for the construction industry.
Will the IWMF discourage recycling?
No. Part of the IWMF will be a paper pulp plant, specifically designed for recycling. The energy from waste part of the site will incinerate residual waste left over after recycling. The public are becoming a lot more aware of recycling and the environment and there is no reason to believe they will lose interest in recycling due to the presence of a waste to energy plant. Currently a lot of Essex waste is incinerated in energy from waste plants abroad or landfilled in Essex, and neither of these options affect people’s recycling habits.
Does the facility produce renewable energy?
Yes. The EfW (energy from waste) part of the IWMF will generate 49MW of electricity, some of which will be used to power the rest of the facility. The rest will be exported to the electricity grid and used to power homes in Essex. It’s classified as ‘renewable’ energy if it’s derived from an organic renewable source. On average, approximately 50% of “black bin” waste is categorised organic/biogenic which means your bins could be lighting your home.
Why do the plans for the site keep changing?
It becomes necessary to alter plans to suit changing industry needs. The waste industry is continually progressing as technologies change, markets evolve and legislation is amended, which the site plans need to follow.
Will the plant harm wildlife?
No. The grounds of the IWMF will be planted with a variety of vegetation, including some woodland and medieval moat that is home to a small colony of great crested newts. Indaver’s Meath facility in Ireland is in a similar rural setting and the grounds are home to hares, bats, newts, foxes, bumble bees and a wide variety of wildflowers and insects.
Why have you applied for a shorter stack (chimney)?
The new application is to reduce the height of the stack from 58m to 35m and align its Environmental Permit to its existing (and implemented) planning permission.
The application proposes to implement an advanced form of the emission abatement technologies (advanced Selective Non Catalytic Reduction), along with tighter operational controls that are widely used on similar European facilities.
Relying on many years of operational experience, Indaver are confident that lower emissions limits will be achieved using advanced abatement technologies, which are already used in many plants across Europe.
The Environment Agency will now assess this application.
Why was this technology not proposed in the first Environmental Permit application?
Quite simply, the scientific assessments completed by Gent Fairhead and the Environment Agency demonstrated that the emissions from the stack using standard abatement technologies were acceptable.
In its decision document granting the IWMF’s Environmental Permit for the 58m stack, the Environment Agency stated that “…even with a stack height of 35 metres we were satisfied that no air quality or human health thresholds would have been exceeded”
Having considered the EA’s original decision report, and its consultation responses to local Councillors and members of the public who had expressed concern about the height of the stack (being too small), Gent Fairhead decided to make a second Environmental Permit and planning application to change the height of the stack to 58m.
Local Councillors and members of the public have now raised concerns that the 58m stack is potentially too high. Therefore, it has been decided to introduce tighter operational controls and advanced abatement technologies so that the emissions from the lower 35 metre stack will be similar to those approved by the Environment Agency for a higher 58 metre stack.
Will the entire IWMF be constructed?
Gent Fairhead & Co Limited has been working for many years on the development of the waste management facility at Rivenhall Airfield. This has incurred very considerable expenditure, which clearly demonstrates the intention to build the IWMF.
Once the planning permission and Environmental Permit are aligned, the team will be in a position to move very quickly to close the financing and commence the overall site preparation and main civil engineering construction works.
Along with constructing the energy-from-waste plant, Indaver will be building the new site access road, carrying out the ground works for the whole site, constructing the temporary site compound and providing connections to utilities, as well as refurbishing Woodhouse Farm and the Bake House.
Various partners will be involved in the construction and operation of the site’s installations.