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SWDWP - Other information

Please see below for further information including committee meetings, frequently asked questions (FAQs) and useful links and downloads.

Committee Meetings

South West Devon Waste Partnership Joint Committee

The South West Devon Waste Partnership holds an annual committee meeting in Plymouth each year however more frequent meetings may be held when necessary. These meetings are open to the public and involve councillors and key senior officers from each authority. Information on the committee meetings including dates, agendas and previous minutes can be found on the Plymouth City Council committee meeting page.

MVV Incinerator Liaison Committee

The Incinerator Liaison Committee (ILC), previously known as the Local Liaison Committee (LLC), was formed to ensure the public are kept informed and to discuss any views or issues regarding MVV’s activities during construction, and now during operations of the Energy from Waste facility. Meetings are chaired by a member of the  committee formed from the local public and MVV, the South West Devon Waste Partnership, the Environment Agency, the local council and the Ministry of Defence are also in attendance to answer questions and provide information.

Further information on the Incinerator Liaison Committee, including Terms of Reference, Member details and minutes, can be found on the MVV Environment Ltd website.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How much does it cost?

The Partnership and MVV signed a 25 year contract to provide the solution to deal with our residual waste after recycling has taken place – the Partnership pay MVV an agreed amount for each tonne of waste it delivers to the facility.

At the outset of the project in 2008, it was estimated that a typical energy from waste solution would cost the Partnership around £825m over its 25 year life. However, because MVV are able to sell the steam as well as the electricity generated from the process, the actual cost of MVV’s solution is estimated to be £436m, which is £389m less than expected. In addition, by working together in partnership, the three councils secured a Government Waste Infrastructure Grant worth a further £177m over the life of the project. This means the Partnership councils have only had to fund around £259m for the 25-year waste solution instead of the £825m estimated, which is great news for local council tax payers.

To compare against the councils previous method of waste disposal, the cost of continuing with landfill was estimated to be £1,098m which equates to an overall saving of £672m.

What is the Waste Infrastructure Grant support?

The Waste Infrastructure Grant is the financial support offered by Defra which replaced the previous Private Finance Initiative (PFI) regime. This funding arrangement is one of the main mechanisms through which public sector can procure assets in a value for money way in partnership with the private sector funding and operating them. It is a procurement methodology for asset-based services where long term fixed price contracts are entered into with private sector contractors to deliver services to specified performance standards.

For the South West Devon Waste Partnership, the Waste Infrastructure Grant is given directly to the Partnership quarterly by Defra which will offset the Partnership costs of waste disposal. The grant does not need to be paid back to the Government unless the Partnership contravenes conditions agreed within the grant.

Will the EfW facility inhibit or impact recycling efforts in the region?

Increasing the amount of recycling and composting is and will remain one of the Partnership’s top priorities. Although the recycling rate varies between the Partner councils, the Partnership is aiming to achieve a combined recycling rate of over 50 per cent by 2019/2020. Each Partner council is developing and delivering its own initiatives to reduce their waste and recycle more, as well as working together with Devon Authorities’ Waste Reduction and Recycling Committee (DAWRRC) to promote recycling through the county.

However, there will always be a proportion of our waste which cannot be recycled that will need other solutions. The Energy from Waste facility provides a good way to achieve the required diversion from landfill while using the waste as a fuel to produce green energy. It is also important to consider the growth of waste through population increase which in the Devon area has been significant in recent years and is projected to continue with Plymouth and Torbay having been designated as New Growth Points for population increase.

The Partnership forecasted its future waste treatment needs, based on significantly increasing its recycling rates from where it started, and the Energy from Waste facility was sized appropriately for the amount of waste we expect to be produced by the communities in south west Devon, so as not to ‘crowd out’ recycling. The Partnership, along with the district councils and waste contractors are making efforts to increase the level of materials recycled in the area. However, this also depends to some extent on the market for recycled materials, which is very difficult to control or predict.

For more information on recycling please see the relevant sections on the Council websites below:

What types of rubbish are accepted at the facility?

The facility was designed to serve the needs of the local communities and therefore accepts household and municipal waste (the rubbish put out by every household to be collected and some commercial waste) from Plymouth and the surrounding region. By agreement, any surplus capacity in the plant is able to be used to provide waste treatment and disposal needs for local businesses.

What impact does the process have on local air quality?

Energy from Waste (EfW) is a clean, proven and reliable process. Reliable studies have shown that EfW facilities do not have a significant impact on the air quality of the surrounding area. They do not increase the risk to human health beyond that which already existed in the area from other activities associated with normal life.

EfW facilities are amongst the most highly regulated industrial plants in the UK in terms of their emissions to atmosphere and are required by law to monitor the levels of any substances emitted. Once in operation, an EfW facility must conform to the Waste Incineration Directive, which was incorporated into English law through the Waste Incineration (England and Wales) Regulations 2002. This sets strict limits on the quantities of pollutants a thermal treatment plant may produce. All modern waste combustion processes would be expected to produce substantially less pollution than permissible under the Waste Incineration Directive.

MVV and the Environment Agency monitor the emissions from the facility continuously. The emissions data is logged and available on the Links and Downloads section of the MVV Environment Ltd website.

What happens to the ash produced from the plant?

There are two forms of ash produced from the energy from waste process – incinerator bottom ash (IBA) and fly ash known as Air Pollution Control Residues (APCR).

The bulk of the ash is the non-toxic IBA, made up of things that do not burn such as rubble, glass and metals. This ash is sent to Holland for processing and treatment where metals are recovered for recycling and the treated IBA is used as a secondary aggregate in earthworks, reclamation, low grade concrete and road building.

The APCR is the smaller component and is classed as hazardous because of its high alkaline level. The alkalinity is due to the chemicals added to remove pollutants from the exhaust gases. It is removed from site in sealed containers and disposed of at a dedicated facility outside of the south west Devon region.

What are the operating hours for the plant?

The plant is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; however deliveries and the removal of ash are restricted to the following hours:

  • Monday to Friday – 8am to 7pm
  • Saturday – 8am to 6pm
  • Sunday – 10am to 4pm
  • Bank Holidays – 10am to 4pm (excluding Christmas Day)
  • Christmas Day – Closed

Document downloads

SWDWP Joint Working Agreement

Joint Working Agreement

Procurement documents

MVV Planning and permit applications

MVV Environment Permit

Decision Document

Publications relating to Energy from Waste by other agencies and organisations