Midlothian Council grants ARE planning permission

Midlothian Council has awarded Alauna Renewable Energy (ARE) – a joint venture set up between Kelda Water Services and Scottish Water Horizons – full planning permission to design, build, finance and operate an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility at Milerhill, Midlothian. 

ARE was awarded the 20-year food waste contract by the City of Edinburgh and Midlothian councils in February of this year, after having been selected as preferred bidder in October 2012. 

The contract forms part of the Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian Project, which also includes a separate residual waste contract – expected to be awarded in 2014.

Facility technology

Following its appointment in February, ARE submitted an application for an anaerobic digestion facility capable of receiving approximately 30,000 tonnes per year of food waste collected by the two councils. This will be treated in a composting process at the plant to produce biogas, used to generate power, and ‘a soil conditioner and fertiliser high in valuable nutrients, particularly nitrogen’, which will be available for use by local farmers. 

Electricity produced by the plant will be used to power water and drainage services provided by partner company, Scottish Water Horizons (SWH). 

SWH’s existing AD plant at Deerdykes near Cumbernauld currently processes Edinburgh’s food waste and will reportedly be used ‘to provide back-up to ensure the councils have complete continuity of service’. 

Construction of the Milerhill facility can now proceed and is expected to be completed ahead of its scheduled opening in 2015. 

Speaking of the planning decision, Tom Hall, Commercial Manager at Alauna Renewable Energy, said: “We are delighted with this news, which is another important step toward delivering a project that will make a significant contribution toward the Councils' Zero Waste ambitions. 

“We have been working closely with partner organisations and the councils to develop our plans for this modern, sustainable recycling facility. We now look forward to moving onto the construction of this exciting development." 

Gordon Pollock, Project Director for Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian, added: “I am delighted to see the progress being made with the food waste treatment facility. The facility will play an important role in diverting waste from landfill, increasing recycling and generating low-carbon, renewable electricity.” 

Read for more information on the Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian Project