Your questions answered
You may have questions about our proposal, so we’ve aimed to answer some of these below.
If you have any further questions, please contact us.
About the facility
Q: What will the facility do?
The facility would use state-of-the-art technology to create energy from waste, either in the form of electricity, heat or a mix of both. We expect it would handle around 230,000 tonnes of waste per year. We believe about 175,000 tonnes of this will be waste which is already coming to Waterbeach for treatment through our existing technologies and landfilling. You can see how different process stages of the proposed EfW facility here.
Q: What happens to the heat and electricity produced?
We are exploring a number of options, such as transferring electricity to the National Grid. Amey has also been approached by the developers of Waterbeach Barracks to see if there could be opportunities to provide heat and energy to their proposed new homes. Amey continues to discuss this with the developers. The facility would be capable of producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of 45,000 homes.
Q: Where waste will come from?
The energy from waste facility would use household/commercial waste from across Cambridgeshire. Whilst we will need some flexibility to bring in waste from a wider area if needed, we expect the majority of waste to be from within the county. This is because much of the waste which will be treated in the energy from waste facility would otherwise have been landfilled at Waterbeach.
Q: Will it create local jobs?
Yes. We expect around 300 people would be directly involved in construction, as well as many more through the indirect support of our supply network. In addition, once operational, the equivalent of 30-35 full time roles would be created.
Q: Will you operate at night?
The facility will be manned 24/7 but there will be no traffic or movement of waste outside of normal operational hours.
Q: Will it deal with hazardous waste?
No, the facility will be designed for household waste and business waste which is similar in composition to this. It will not treat hazardous or chemical waste.
Q: Why do you want to develop this at Waterbeach?
Waterbeach is an existing 400 acre waste treatment site and the proposed facility would allow us to ensure we continue to provide the most up-to-date waste solutions in Cambridgeshire. We are proposing to build the facility on an area of land next to the existing MBT, which is already allocated for future waste development in Cambridgeshire County Council’s Mineral and Waste Plan.
Q: When will it be developed?
The proposal is subject to planning and permit permissions. We hope to submit our planning application later in 2017 and expect it would be determined by Cambridgeshire County Council during 2018. Subject to planning, we would hope to begin construction in 2019 and commence operations in late 2021.
Q: Will we need to do anything differently when we put our waste out for collection?
No. There will be no impact on the way your waste is collected.
Q: Will it burn the recyclables we put out for collection?
No, the facility is for residual waste only (this is the waste left after you’ve separated your recyclables/garden/food waste). The recyclable materials collected from your kerbside will continue to be collected and treated separately via our materials recycling facility.
Q: Will there be extra traffic?
As an operational site we currently accept an average 280 waste vehicles on a normal operating weekday. These movements are made up of a variety of vehicle types including refuse collection vehicles, articulated lorries, tankers, light goods vehicles and cars with trailers. Our busiest times for vehicle movements tend to be between 10am and 4pm, outside of the peak rush hours. As a lot of the waste which will go into the new facility is already being delivered to the Waste Management Park we don’t anticipate there will be a significant increase. However, we are conscious that traffic on the A10 is a sensitive local issue, therefore we will discuss and agree our detailed approach to the traffic assessment with the Highways Authority. As part of our planning application we will assess in detail the existing vehicle movements to and from the Waste Management Park and any changes associated with our proposed new facility.
Q: Will you create a new entrance to the site?
We are not proposing to create a new entrance from the A10 and would use the existing entry into the management park.
Q: Will vehicles arrive at night?
Traffic management plans will be developed as part of our proposal and, although the site will be staffed 24 hours a day, it will not accept waste at night and there will be no traffic or movement of waste outside of normal operational hours.
Emissions, noise and odour
Q: How will emissions be monitored?
Modern facilities, such as the one we are proposing, use proven processes to ensure emissions are tightly controlled. As well as a planning application, we will submit an application to the Environment Agency for a permit. To obtain this permit we have to demonstrate we will operate safely and within strict guidelines. In addition to our own continuous monitoring, the Environment Agency would also monitor emissions to ensure these remain safe and within required limits.
Q: Will it have an impact on health?
Modern waste treatment facilities such as this use state-of-the-art equipment and are highly regulated. They meet all the stringent environmental criteria laid down by the Government and EU. Before being allowed to operate, Amey has to apply for a permit from the Environment Agency. This permit will have strict conditions to make sure the facilities will not cause significant pollution to the environment or harm people’s health. The EA will only grant a permit if the operator applying has shown that the proposed facility meets the requirements of UK and European laws in how it will be designed and run. It will not grant a permit if it believes a facility is likely to cause significant pollution to the environment or harm people’s health.
Q: Will it create noise or odour?
The facility – including the area where waste will be tipped on arrival – will be fully enclosed to control noise and odour and air from this area will also be used in the combustion process. The processes to be used in the facility will not be particularly noisy for this type of facility and the buildings will be designed to keep noise at an acceptable level. Odour will be continually monitored as part of our EA operational permit.
Q: What will it look like?
We are working with architects to look at a range of options for the proposed facility. These are some examples of what it could look like. The designs may also change after taking into account additional local feedback. Final designs will be included in our planning application. We expect the building to comprise a number of blocks between 12 and 42 metres tall. It will include a stack of between 70 and 80 metres, with the exact height to be confirmed following an Air Emissions Assessment. We are committed to ensuring the new facility sits well within the existing landscape and our proposed design will consider the various elevations facing our neighbours, using high quality external materials and landscaping.
Q: Why do the building and stack have to be that height?
The height of the stack will be confirmed following an Air Emissions Assessment and the height will be agreed to ensure a safe dispersal of emissions. The height of the building is determined by the technology included within it.
Q: Will you consider the surrounding countryside?
We will use landscaping and building design to take account of the surrounding countryside. Prior to submitting a planning application we will also be consulting with groups such as English Heritage – as well as local authority countryside and landscape experts – to ensure our facility is well designed and to minimise any impact on the wider area.
Q: Is the technology safe?
The technology we intend to use is state-of-the-art and has been proven in its existing use in the UK and Europe. We are currently in negotiations with technology providers, who are experts in this area of waste technology and would develop and install the technology to be used on site.
Q: What experience does Amey have?
Amey is already building energy from waste facilities in Milton Keynes, North Yorkshire and the Isle of Wight. Milton Keynes is currently treating waste as part of its testing phase and is due to be fully operational later this year. North Yorkshire will be operational in 2018 and Isle of Wight in 2019. Amey’s parent group, Ferrovial Services, has extensive experience of operating similar facilities in Europe and is providing technical support and advice to the Amey team in Cambridgeshire.
Q: Why is this proposal different to your other UK sites?
Amey creates technology solutions which are bespoke and tailored to either its own or a client’s requirements, making sure a facility is sized and contains the right technology for those needs.
All of our UK waste treatment facilities are different sizes and they contain a mix of technologies to deliver what is required in each local area.