Frequently Asked Questions
Is this related to the COVID-19 pandemic?
No. This is not related in any way to the current pandemic. We have been working on developing such a facility at the site for some time now, and have been carrying out studies and background work for several months.
If the facility received planning permission, we anticipate construction starting early 2021 and being fully operational in early 2022.
Who is proposing this development?
We are Waste Energy Power Partners, a UK-based company with a proven track record of developing clean energy projects to help the UK move towards a low-carbon economy. We have similar facilities in construction or operating safely in other parts of the UK.
What are you proposing?
We will be installing and operating a high temperature treatment facility capable of treating some 16,000 tonnes of clinical waste a year on previously developed brownfield land.
It will provide a valuable service to Surrey’s NHS and private hospitals, GP surgeries and other medical facilities, avoiding expensive landfill or the need to transport the waste long distances to other facilities.
The site will generate low-carbon power for the equivalent of 1,100 homes, which will be put into the national grid via a nearby existing connection for homes and businesses to use. We will also look at opportunities to provide any surplus sustainable heat produced to users such as the other occupants of the site.
Where is it?
The proposed location is within Kitsmead Recycling Centre, a developed semi-industrial site off Kitsmead Lane, just south of the M3 and due east of the Longcross Estate.
The land is within the Trumps Farm recycling site, part of the wider area specialising in waste handling and other industrial activities, and these would continue.
Envar currently operate a green waste composting facility on the site, part of which is land which our proposed Energy Recovery Facility would occupy. The composting is likely to continue alongside the proposed development
To the other side, Agrivert and Severn Trent Green Power has operated a food waste to energy facility since 2014. This takes commercial and municipal food wastes and digests them to produce biogas, from which electricity is generated.
The remainder of the site is used for open storage of plant and machinery.
The site is previously developed and semi-industrial, and already has other businesses that recycle and recover other types of waste, and generate energy. It is rural with few immediate neighbours, and no ‘greenbelt’ land would be lost. It is just south of the former Trumps Farm Landfill site.
The location is identified on the Runnymede Borough Council policy map as a ‘Safeguarded Waste Site’. Policy DC1 of the Surrey Waste Plan outlines that all existing sites in waste use are safeguarded. Policy CW2 of the Surrey Waste Plan states that planning permissions for development involving storage and transfer of waste will be granted at existing or proposed waste management sites.
Who will consider the planning application?
Our planning application will be considered by Surrey County Council. We will need to demonstrate that we can build and operate the site to the highest standards at all times. We will be closely monitored by the Environment Agency during operation.
Our application is accompanied by an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) with our application, demonstrating how we would minimise any potential impact on the environment. We will also provide a traffic routing plan which will guide how deliveries should approach and leave the site.
Now the application is prepared, we are able to respond to queries about on the development. While we are open to feedback at any time, we would welcome views during our consultation period. You can find more details on our website.
How does the process work?
Modern Energy Recovery Facilities use a highly efficient, proven process to safely and cleanly produce electricity and heat:
- Waste in sealed containers is automatically loaded onto a bin conveyor system.
- The solid waste moves over two hydraulically driven stepped hearths. It is heat treated under carefully controlled conditions at over 1100°C. Most of it turns into carbon dioxide and water vapour.
- The hot gases are transferred to the secondary chamber where they are again heated to 1,100°C for at least two seconds.
- Hot gases create steam in a waste heat boiler, which drives a generator that makes low-carbon electricity.
- Hot air is captured and cleaned, with particles and residues filtered out. Air quality is continuously monitored to ensure it meets strict environmental standards.
- By-products such as ash and metals can be reused and recycled. For example, ash is used in construction and road building.
- The electricity generated is sent via an underground cable to the local grid to be used by homes and businesses. The heat created could be used by other nearby businesses.
What sort of waste will you be treating?
We will be treating hard-to-recycle clinical waste from sources such as: NHS organisations e.g. acute hospitals and GP surgeries;, the private healthcare sector; nursing homes; dentists; pharmacies; veterinary clinics; pharmaceutical companies; and tattoo parlours that would otherwise be likely to go to specialist landfill or to facilities at a considerable distance from the source that do not recover energy.
The site will safely treat everyday waste from hospitals, including single-use items such as swabs and bandages, as well as ancillary items such as single-use coffee cups from hospital vending machines. It would also be licenced to treat materials confiscated by law enforcement.
We will do this with modern, efficient equipment that fully meets the stringent safety and emissions regulations in place today.
The site would only handle waste under contract and would not be open to the public or general trade use.
Where will the waste come from?
We expect much of the waste will come from within a 50-mile radius of the plant – broadly speaking, Surrey and the surrounding counties. In this way, we will be providing the NHS and other services in the county with a safe, reliable and cost-effective solution for their waste.
Is the process safe?
There are a large number of similar facilities already operating in the UK and Europe, and are a fundamental part of environmentally sustainable energy generation and waste management.
The heat treatment at very high temperatures will ensure that all materials are heat sterilised, and that all biodegradable elements are rendered inert. The specialist containers which the sealed materials are stored in are then sterilised using steam generated as a by-product of the process.
The end product of the treatment process, ash, is an inert material and is not odorous. This will be taken away in sealed skips to be recycled.
How can you be sure waste stays on site and doesn’t blow into the surrounding countryside?
The waste will arrive in sealed containers and be unloaded inside the building, before being put directly and automatically loaded into the treatment plant and processed at a minimum temperature of 1100 degrees, in what remains a completely sealed process.
No materials would be handled or stored outside at any time. Materials would be processed promptly on receipt.
How will local residents be able to report any litter/waste that finds its way into the surrounding area?
The waste will arrive in hermetically sealed containers before being taken into the sealed plant building. So we can be confident from our experience that this is not an issue that will arise.
Traffic and transport
What routes will delivery vehicles use?
We think that the project would have minimal impact on traffic because no HGVs will need to go through residential areas or villages.
While there is no pre-determined route, vehicles will use the main road network before completing the final part of the journey via Chobham Lane parallel with the M3 then along Kitsmead Lane, approaching the site from the north. They will be asked not to pass through either Longcross or Trumps Green.
How many vehicles will be visiting the site each day once it is operational?
The number of HGVs (Heavy Goods Vehicles) will be minimal – typically three to five a day. A maximum number of 11 smaller vans or light goods vehicles would also deliver material and provide engineering support. This traffic would be spread throughout the day. We also anticipate 5-10 cars for our members of staff.
When will waste be delivered?
Deliveries will take place during normal working hours, 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday and between 8am and 1pm on Saturdays. No waste would be accepted on Sunday or Bank Holidays.
How will local residents be able to complain if vehicles operate outside of the agreed hours?
There is no reason why delivery vehicles would arrive outside normal working hours, unless in exceptional circumstances such delays caused by widespread traffic disruption.
Will the waste give off harmful emissions when treated?
No, the equipment being used is state-of-the-art and the plant will be subject to strict environmental emission standards. The use of filters and abatement chemicals ensures emissions are controlled and remain within the safe levels imposed by the Environment Agency. A number of similar facilities are already in safe operation in surrounding counties.
How will you affect local air quality?
Monitoring equipment built into the plant will be approved and closely monitored by the Environment Agency. This will operate constantly to ensure the plant is operating cleanly and safely at all times.
While in our extensive experience it is extremely rare for it to happen, staff in the plant’s control room will be automatically alerted if emissions approach a certain level set by the Environment Agency. All operations would then stop until the cause of the unusually high levels have been identified and rectified.
As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment we prepare and submit to support the planning application, we will carry out a detailed assessment of the potential effects on air quality, looking at emissions from the stack, as well as vehicles visiting the facility.
Will the site be visible?
The facility will look like a modest scale agricultural building and be clad with profiled steel panels, coloured dark green to blend in with existing buildings and the surrounding dense woodland.
The main building will be 10 metres at its highest point. This is similar to the AD plant already operating next door. The tallest part of the facility (the flue stack) will be no more than 26 metres high and up to one metre wide.
While no development can claim to not be visible, as the site is surrounded by mature trees, our modelling work shows it would not be seen apart from very specific locations in the immediate area.
Will the facility be noisy?
No. While the process uses mechanical machinery that inevitably makes some noise, the facility’s design means that almost all activity takes place indoors and therefore any noise impacts in the wider area will be insignificant.
We have carried out background noise monitoring and used that data to assess the potential effects on the nearest receptors to the site, in line with published standards and guidance. This information will be provided as part of the EIA Report that accompanies the planning application.
When will construction start, and how long will it take?
If our application is approved, we expect construction to take around 12 months. We hope to start construction in early 2021 and to have the plant fully operational in early 2022.
When would construction work take place?
If planning permission is granted, construction would take place during normal working hours, 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday and between 8am and 1pm on Saturdays. No activity would take place on Sunday or Bank Holidays.
Will local contractors be used during construction and fit-out?
The proposed development is expected to generate up to 27 direct jobs in operation, and local workers will be engaged to fulfil the majority of these rolls. During construction our main contractor, a renewable energy specialist, will use local contractors wherever possible and we will encourage them to do so. We expect there will be 30-40 people working on site during construction.
Will there be jobs for local people at the plant once it is operational?
Yes, we expect there to be around 27 full-time jobs at the plant, a mix of skilled and non-skilled roles.
What is the value of the project?
We are investing £25m in the capital costs of the project. We would then spend a further estimated £2.2m a year operating the plant. Allowing for wages and the use of local sub-contractors, we expect this will give a £1m - 1.6m a year to the local economy.
What sort of sub-contractors will you need?
We will be using a wide range of sub-contractors to help with everything from carrying out maintenance work to managing our recruitment and helping maintain the site grounds. For example, we expect to £10,000 to £15,000 a year on dry cleaning.
What will the impact be on wildlife?
The development site is a concrete surfaced yard with no wildlife interest. Off-site impacts of emissions from the flue have been assessed for their impacts on wildlife; in all cases impacts on sites of wildlife interest were considered assessed as ‘not significant’.
Have a question or need more information?
You can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org