Resource Use

Wheelabrator Harewood incinerator plans scrapped

Plans to build a controversial energy-from-waste (EfW) facility in Hampshire’s Test Valley have been scrapped by EfW developer Wheelabrator Technologies.

Wheelabrator Harewood incinerator plans scrapped
Image: Wheelabrator Technologies

Following two public consultations, Wheelabrator Technologies announced yesterday (20 February) that it will be withdrawing the project in Harewood, Hampshire, which was set to process up to 500,000 tonnes of residual waste per year and power over 110,000 homes.

The project was granted status as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) but cancelled its plans after vociferous opposition from local campaigners.

Wheelabrator Technologies Vice President for Business Development, Paul Green, explained: “The UK waste-to-energy market is extremely buoyant with significant capacity gaps remaining in the residual waste management infrastructure. Wheelabrator is well-placed to address this capacity gap and provide sustainable waste management solutions to a number of live projects across the UK.

“Having undertaken a strategic review of the wide range of opportunities in our current pipeline, we have decided to focus our efforts on further advanced waste-to-energy projects, and as such, will no longer continue to invest in the development of the Wheelabrator Harewood waste-to-energy facility.”

He continued: “Wheelabrator would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide feedback as part of our recent community consultations.”

The US-based company opened its Ferrybridge Multifuel 1 facility – a joint venture with SSE plc – in West Yorkshire in 2015, with the Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 site entering full operation in December 2019, also a joint venture with SSE.

Wheelabrator also runs plants at Kemsley in Kent, Skelton Grange in Yorkshire and Parc Adfer on Deeside.

Local campaigners “over the moon”

Wheelabrator’s Harewood project had faced significant resistance from the local community, with the recent consultation phase, which closed on 12 December, receiving over 5,500 objections.

Opposition was primarily led by local environmental group Keep Test Valley Beautiful, which ran a ‘Bin the Incinerator’ campaign raising concerns with the environmental impacts of the plant – including carbon emissions and effects on wildlife – as well as the visual impact on the landscape and increase in traffic congestion.

In its statement, the campaign group said that it is “delighted and relieved” to hear the decision, with Chair David Wright commenting: “It is wonderful news that we can now go forward without the threat of this inappropriate and damaging project hanging over our heads. Today has been a great day not just for local residents, but for the Test Valley itself and its rare and precious ecology and habitats.

“You could say we are over the moon.”

Commenting on the news, Shlomo Dowen from the UK Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) said: “We are delighted that the wishes of the local community prevailed and that this unnecessary and unwanted project was abandoned.

“We see this as part of a distinct pattern that marks the beginning of the end for incineration in the UK, and we hope that others who may be thinking about taking on the risks associated with new incinerator projects realise that the UK already has more incineration capacity than we will have genuinely residual waste to burn.”

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