Dundee incinerator given the go ahead

Plans for a new £100-million incinerator have been approved unanimously by Dundee City Council.

Dundee incinerator given the go aheadThe new combined heat and power (CHP) facility  will be constructed in Dundee’s North East ward at Baldovie Industrial Estate, replacing the existing Dundee Energy Recovery Ltd (DERL) plant. The incinerator’s capacity is expected to exceed 110,000 tonnes per year (representing at least 20,000 tonnes more residual waste than is expected to come from the area’s households), and will take approximately three years to build.

The proposal came as the result of an evaluation undertaken by Dundee and Angus local authorities, to help manage waste in line with population growth, predicting the need for a facility to manage between 70,000 and 90,000 tonnes of residual waste per year. 

The proposed developer, German-owned MVV Environment Services Ltd, currently runs three other incinerators in Germany and the UK, including a controversial £188-million facility opened in Plymouth last year, as well as several biomass power plants.

MVV is currently bidding for a long-term contract to treat waste collected by Dundee and Angus councils. Should it be successful it will begin development of the approved plant.

According to plans, the facility will consist of a main building and adjacent auxiliary buildings, covering a total of 4,038 metres squared. The maximum height of the building will be 38 metres, with an exhaust stack reaching to 90 metres (20 metres higher than the current facility). The building will also include a visitor facility on the north side.

The new building will be located in an area currently being used as a recycling centre by Tayside Contracts, which would have to be relocated to another site. This would allow for the current DERL facility to remain in use while the new incinerator is being built. It is expected that the plant will preserve 37 operational jobs and 70 indirect jobs, as well as supporting up to 300 jobs during construction.

110,000 tonnes of waste

Should MVV be awarded the contract to treat the local council-collected waste, it will be provided with between 70,000 and 90,000 tonnes of municipal material a year. MVV anticipates that the site would treat 110,000 tonnes of residual household waste per year (with 13.7 tonnes throughput per hour), potentially allowing for some commercial and industrial waste to be treated as well.

All waste will be stored in the enclosed building and will be transported to the site in enclosed vehicles. The developer says that steam generated from the incinerator will be used to heat the adjacent Michelin factory, with surplus heat capable of being used within the local residential area.

MVV argued that prolonged use of the current DERL facility is not practical or economically viable, and would require upgraded technology resulting in extended periods of shutdown. In 2012, a large fire broke out at the facility, requiring 30 fire fighters to tackle the blaze and forcing the site to close for several weeks.

The proposal was submitted in June 2016 and has undergone two rounds of public consultation. A few concerns were raised, including from the Dundee Re-use and Resource Centre over the definition of ‘residual waste’ and fears that recyclable materials may be sent for incineration. A resident living near the proposed site also wrote with concerns about the impact of emissions.

However, the Scottish Environmental protection Agency (SEPA) offered no objections to the proposal, subject to certain conditions being met, and Friends of the Earth Tayside welcomed the development as a more efficient and reliable alternative to the current facility. MVV has said it will work closely with local residents to address their fears.  

The report submitted to Dundee City Council’s Development Management Committee can be read on the council’s website.

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