Heathrow expansion ignites incinerator relocation plan

Plans to find an alternative location for a Berkshire incinerator have begun after the government’s announcement that it has approved a third runway at Heathrow.

Following a cabinet meeting today (25 October), the government stated that Heathrow, and not Gatwick, is its preferred option for the expansion of the UK’s airport capacity, causing issues for Lakeside Energy from Waste Ltd, a joint venture between Grundon Waste Management and Viridor, situated on the site of the proposed runway.

Heathrow expansion ignites incinerator relocation plan
The Lakeside EfW facility
The plant would need to be moved to accommodate the runway and, responding to the announcement, the company said it will seek to ensure that the Lakeside EfW facility, and Grundon’s waste management and recycling facilities located within its Colnbrook complex, can be relocated to a nearby site.

The company says that it will seek to move the facility on a ‘like-for-like’ basis, and will work with Heathrow and its surrounding local authorities to find a suitable site with ‘minimum disruption’.

The facility processes commercial and local authority waste from Slough, Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell and the West London Waste Authority. The Lakeside company says that ‘any closure of the facility without a like-for-like replacement in the local area would be disruptive and financially damaging to these authorities’.

It adds that the incinerator, which opened in 2010, currently processes over 450,000 tonnes of waste a year, generating 37 megawatts of power, ‘enough to provide electricity to every household in Slough’. Including the Grundon facilities, the Colnbrook complex employs over 200 people, ‘with many more jobs dependent on it within the local supply chain’.

The Lakeside site is situated where the west end of the new runway is due to be built
The company will have some time to find a new site as it will likely be years before construction is even ready to begin on the runway, should it happen at all. A public consultation will be held on the airport expansion before the government makes a final decision. An MP vote will follow at the end of 2017 and the Airports Commission has said that construction would not begin until 2020 at the earliest.

Even with the government’s backing, the construction of the runway is not yet certain, and several prominent figures have questioned its feasibility, with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, MP for nearby Uxbridge and South Ruislip, whose plans for an airport on the Thames Estuary have frequently been shot down, calling the project ‘undeliverable’.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has also said that he will be challenging the decision in the coming months due to the potential impacts on air quality and noise pollution on residents in West London. Khan's rival in this year's mayoral election and Environmental Audit Committee member Zac Goldsmith has also criticised the plans, saying he will resign as MP for Richmond Park following the "catastrophic" decision.

More information on the proposed runway and the Airports Commission’s report into its effect on local businesses can be found in Resource’s previous story.

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