Suffolk’s incinerator needs more waste as we recycle more rubbish

Energy from waste incinerator plant at Great Blakenham. Picture: ROSS BENTLEY

Energy from waste incinerator plant at Great Blakenham. Picture: ROSS BENTLEY - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s incinerator at Great Blakenham may have to take more waste from further afield because it isn’t able to generate as much heat as expected.

County council cabinet member for waste, Paul West Picture: RACHEL EDGE

County council cabinet member for waste, Paul West Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Rachel Edge

The county's residents are so good at recycling that the residual waste that is sent to the incinerator - or energy from waste plant - does not burn as well as expected so it does not generate as much electricity as hoped.

At present there is a limit of 269,000 tonnes of waste a year - but operators SUEZ have applied to increase the limit by 10% to 295,000 tonnes a year.

Suffolk County Council Cabinet member for waste Paul West said part of the problem was that many of the items that had originally been expected to go into the energy from waste plant, especially plastics, were now being recycled.

He said: "They burn very well with a high temperature. It's really good news that more material like plastics is being recycled but it is a bit of an issue for the plant."


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The increase in the number of Tetrapak-style food containers going into black bins after they were banned from blue bins had helped slightly - and there is also an increase in the amount of food waste going in residual waste because vegetable cuttings can no longer be put in brown garden waste bins.

The incinerator, which has been operating for five years, has also missed out on its aim of providing heat for business or residential properties in the area.

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It is due to be discussed at next week's county council Scrutiny Committee meeting at Endeavour House - but a report for that points out that the loss of government grant made it uneconomical for it to supply heat to the new Sterling Suffolk tomato greenhouse built nearby which has been producing fruit since the start of the year.

Mr West said it did now appear challenging to find a way of harnessing heat produced by the plant for other properties.

He said it probably would have to be to a new-build development nearby but the economics of such a scheme could be difficult to stack up without significant government grants.

And the overall message from Suffolk was that the recycling levels in the county had significantly reduced the amount of material to be disposed of by burning in the plant.

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