Frequently Asked Questions

Viridor is happy to discuss its proposals for an Energy from Waste Combined Heat and Power facility at Oxwellmains, near Dunbar and related issues with any interested groups or individuals.

The following points have been discussed by local groups and in response, we offer answers to the questions that arise most often.

We’ve grouped the questions as follows:

Types of waste used as fuel

Heat usage from the plant

Community consultation already undertaken

Offering value for money

EfWs in the UK

Viridor and the Environment


Types of waste used as fuel

Are there proposals for the facility to handle dangerous wastes?
There is no question of any ‘dangerous wastes’ being transported to the site as it will only be licensed for the disposal of non-hazardous municipal and commercial wastes from which recyclable materials have been removed.

What is Municipal Solid Waste?
It comprises household waste collected from homes and other wastes that councils collect such as street sweepings.

Will the proposed EfW facility accept hazardous or clinical wastes?
No it will not. It will only process non-hazardous wastes, comprising up to 150,000 tonnes a year of residual Municipal Solid Wastes and 150,000 tonnes a year of trade waste from local businesses.

What is residual waste?
Residual waste has already been through some form of pre-treatment such as the removal of materials for reuse, recycling or composting.    Materials will be separated by local authorities before they are delivered to the facility, through normal kerbside segregation schemes, household waste recycling centres and by other waste producers in compliance with current pre-treatment regulations for commercial waste. 


Heat usage

Will the heat energy be utilised and how?
A Heat Plan with details of discussions undertaken to date has been submitted to accompany the application.   Viridor is currently pursuing several potentially viable and deliverable opportunities for combined heat and power (CHP) schemes   through negotiations with interested parties.

However Viridor cannot expect to have obtained a clear commitment from a future user of the heat output without having secured a planning consent.  We can confirm however that the plant will produce sufficient electricity to run the facility and to supply the grid with over 22 megawatts (MW) of electricity. 


Community Consultation already undertaken

What consultation has been undertaken?
In respect of the first application, Viridor wrote to local residents, held three public consultation events, launched a public information website, put out regular updates, held briefings for local stakeholders, distributed a newsletter to over 4,000 people and responded to all queries received.

In line with its normal practice Viridor is continuing to provide information and engage in constructive dialogue with the local community.  As a result we have arranged the following in respect of the revised application.

● A further newsletter for local residents
● Detailed stakeholder and Oxwellmains site liaison group briefings
● Individual briefings and a press pack for the media
● Staff briefings
● This revised and updated website with extensive scientific references in the library

Viridor welcomes and responds to feedback.


Offering value for money

Does this offer Value For Money?
Whether the proposed facility offers good value for money for local authorities will ultimately be decided by the authorities as they will choose the best value route for their waste. 

However we would point out that landfill costs are set to rise significantly with landfill tax alone due to be £48 per tonne by 2010.  In addition there is a risk of local authorities attracting large EU fines if they do not meet their landfill diversion targets.

EfWs in the UK

What other EfW facilities are currently in use in the UK?
There are already 20 similar EfW facilities in the UK, including two in Scotland - one in the Shetlands and the other at Dundee. Other EfW sites in the UK include, Teesside, London, Sheffield and Nottingham.

Does Viridor operate other EfWs?
It currently operates one clinical and confidential waste incinerator in Devon and has a 400,000 tonnes a year EfW facility under construction near Heathrow Airport, London. In July 2007, the company gained planning consent for an EfW CHP facility in Exeter.

Would an EFW facility compete with greater levels of recycling?
No.  Examples of best practice across Europe and the UK show that EFW can be complementary to high levels of recycling.  It can significantly improve resource efficiency within a comprehensive approach to recycling and waste management.


Details of Planning

Will local residents be affected by noise from the site?
No, all waste treatment will take place in a fully enclosed and sound-proofed building so noise levels will be kept well within acceptable limits.

When would work start on the new facilities?
Commencing work on site depends on how long it takes to determine the planning application.   The earliest possible dates for each step of the process are as follows:

 Decision - 11/2008
 PPC Permit - 11/2008
 Start of construction Winter - 2009/2010
 Start of operations - 2012/2013


Viridor and the Environment

What does the Environmental Impact Assessment cover?
The full Environmental Impact Assessment submitted with the planning application covers the full anticipated effect of the facility on the environment incorporating air quality, noise, traffic, visual appearance, ecology, archaeology, hydrology, hydrogeology, and ground conditions.

How will local wildlife habitats be affected?
Viridor has commissioned an ecological survey of the area that could be influenced by its planning application to determine which habitat types are present, and will record any sightings or evidence of protected species. Depending on the outcomes of these studies appropriate mitigating action will be taken to protect species as appropriate and as required by law.

Does Viridor have a good environmental track record?
Yes. The company was the first in the UK waste industry to gain ISO 14001 accreditation across all major facilities. It introduced its exemplary Environmental Management System in the early 1990s. The company measures the impact of its operations on the environment and has invested heavily in environmental protection measures. Its Environmental Policy and Annual Environmental and Social Report are available to download at www.viridor-waste.co.uk.

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