Great Blakenham: Incinerator ready to burn up waste

Great Blakenham Incinerator

Great Blakenham Incinerator - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s incinerator is due to start burning waste next year – and saving the county £8 million in landfill taxes.

The final touches are being applied to the “energy from waste” plant at Great Blakenham, and test burning is due to start in the middle of 2014, with full operation due by the end of the year.

Every year the plant is expected to save Suffolk County Council £8 million that would otherwise have gone to the government in landfill taxes.

The county has a deal with contractors Sita UK to provide 170,000 tonnes of non-recycleable waste. The total capacity of the plant is 269,000 tonnes a year, and the company can obtain further contracts with other local authorities or private companies to reach the capacity.

At present officials at the county expect it to be able to provide its quota of waste for the next few years. However the proportion of waste that is recycled continues to increase and the overall amount of waste produced by the county is falling.

It could be that Suffolk will end up buying in waste from other local authorities to help reach its quota – a move which would further boost its income.

The price that was negotiated between the county council and Sita for dealing with the waste took into account the money the company will get from the National Grid for the electricity generated from the plant.

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However if the unit cost of electricity goes above a certain point during the 25-year contract, the county would get more from Sita.

What is not included in the contract is the value of selling heat to other bodies – so if proposals for giant greenhouses growing acres of tomatoes using heat from the plant go ahead, then the profits would be shared between Sita and the county council.

Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “The energy from waste facility will be a real success for local government and demonstrates how councils can work in a commercial and business-like way in order to secure a good financial deal for council tax payer.

“It is, of course, also a sound environmental solution. We’re optimistic that the site will open ahead of schedule with the first waste loads arriving in the summer of 2014.”

Local county councillor John Field said most residents in Blakenham had accepted the plant.

He said: “We shall be keeping an eye on the situation to ensure that assurances are kept, but there is no great feeling of hostility to the plant.”