Resource Use

Veolia awarded Norfolk waste treatment contract

A six-year contract has been awarded to waste management company Veolia by Norfolk County Council to treat 180,000 tonnes of waste per year.

The contract, worth £102 million, will commence in March 2021 and transform residual waste into energy as part of Norfolk’s ambitions to achieve zero waste to landfill and reduce carbon emissions.

Treatment will be based at Veolia’s new energy-from-waste (EfW) facility at Rookery South in Bedfordshire, and is set to generate electricity for 112,000 homes and create up to 50 jobs.

Gavin Graveson, Veolia’s Executive Vice-President, UK and Ireland, said: “This contract is another significant step as we progress to zero landfill and a carbon zero future in the UK. We are delighted by this decision by Norfolk County Council, and value the opportunity to work in partnership to advance sustainability  by making significant carbon and financial savings for residents.” 

Cllr Andy Grant, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste, said: “This new contract will deliver additional recycling and send zero waste direct to landfill, all while delivering better value for money for our residents. More than that, by using rubbish as a fuel for power generation it will help us achieve significant carbon savings and marks an important step in delivering a greener Norfolk.”

The news continues Veolia’s growth in EfW treatment of residual waste, with Veolia submitting a planning application for a new facility in Hampshire last month, which the company envisages will save around 65,000 tonnes in carbon emissions each year.

There has been much debate surrounding energy recovery, with UK think tank Policy Connect arguing that EfW is the answer to the UK’s national residual waste problem

Meanwhile, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) pushed back firmly against a report by Greenpeace that revealed EfW facilities are three times more likely to be found in more deprived areas of the country, with almost half of facilities located in the UK’s 25 per cent most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.

The Greenpeace report also referred to companies using energy recovery facilities as ‘incinerator companies’, which the ESA argued ‘unfairly misrepresents’ those companies’ contributions to a circular economy.

The ESA implored organisations to ‘stop demonising’ EfW and to ‘embrace energy recovery alongside recycling, reuse and waste avoidance measures’.