Veolia completes Boomeco purchase

Veolia completes Boomeco purchase
Waste management company Veolia has completed the purchase of Boomeco Limited, a waste wood processor and producer of refuse-derived fuel (RDF) based in the South West of England.

Veolia says that the acquisition will complement its growth strategy to manufacture ‘green products and green energy’.

At two sites in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire and on the Avonmouth docks in Bristol, Boomeco processes a variety of grades of wood into wood chips to be used in combined heat and power plants and also produces RDF from residual household waste. According to Environment Agency figures, the company exported around 48,500 tonnes of RDF from the UK during the first 11 months of 2015, primarily to Sweden.

In February 2014, the company was awarded a contract by North Somerset Council to send 7,000-10,000 tonnes of its waste each year to a facility in Sweden for use as fuel. Bristol City Council agreed to join the agreement in June last year, adding up to 40,000 tonnes of refuse to the deal.

It was, however, given a £14,000 fine and stripped of its licence that same month after an Environment Agency investigation found that the storage of its RDF bales was not abiding by the company’s permit.

Under the terms of Boomeco’s permit, the bales of collected waste had to be wrapped in plastic sheets, but these were found to have been ripped open by forklift trucks on more than 200 bales, allowing ‘brown’ liquid with a ‘nauseating, putrid smell’ to leak out. The leaked fluid was found to have attracted a fly infestation that filled nearby homes last summer. The issue triggered over 400 complaints from residents in four weeks. The company was found to be in breach of regulations and its licence was revoked on 6 June.

A Boomeco representative said that the company had suffered a £266,000 loss from the incident and that practices had changed so that bales were no longer stored at the Avonmouth facility. The company reportedly entered administration in December, but was bought by Veolia on the same day that administrators were appointed.

Platform in South West

Commenting on the purchase, Gavin Graveson, Veolia’s Chief Operating Officer Public and Commercial in the UK, said: “We are making significant progress in our drive to increase the quality of energy we are delivering from renewable sources.  

“Post-COP21, Veolia’s ongoing expansion in biomass and RDF production will help the UK meet its 2020 carbon emissions targets, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and enhancing domestic energy security.

“The strategic acquisition of Boomeco will become our platform in the South West for wood and RDF production, strengthening our position in this growing market and supporting the sustainable circular economy.”

More information about Boomeco can be found at the company’s website.