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Biffa proposed Newhurst site


Newhurst Energy from Waste (EfW) facility: a waste-fueled power station project capable of processing 350Ktpa of residual waste and generating 33MW of power.


On 28th June 2012 the Secretary of State issued his decision on our planning application for an energy recovery facility (ERF) at Newhurst Quarry. He upheld our appeal and gave planning permission for the development, noting that the reasons for approving it were “substantial and compelling”.

A copy of the Secretary of State’s report and decision on the ERF can be read here. An Environmental Permit for the ERF facility was issued by the Environment Agency on 8th June 2011.

In 2013/14 consideration was given to the detailed engineering design of the ERF, bearing in mind that the initial design was some 5 years old. The design review identified scope for further performance efficiency improvements which would optimise power production, increasing the anticipated power output by some 57%.

The proposed design changes required Biffa to submit a new planning application to Leicestershire County Council to ‘vary’ the approved scheme. Despite the limited nature of the proposed changes, the planning application also needed to be accompanied by an Environmental Statement. The application was submitted in July 2014.

Leicestershire County Council issued planning permission for the design changes in March 2015. The new permission only varies the approved plans and documents. No changes to any of the other conditions that the Secretary of State imposed on the originally approved scheme needed to be changed. A full list of the approved design changes is given below.

The design changes

The design changes are mainly in relation to the internal process lines and do not require any changes to the high quality architectural building design in terms of its size and height and no changes to the approved external finishes.

The facility would still provide the same significant economic benefits. With an investment of approximately £250 million the facility will result in 40 full time jobs and 300 jobs during construction in addition to significant economic benefits to local service providers.


The design changes are summarised below.

  • Replacement of the original two process lines with a single process line. With improvements to the chosen technology, it is possible to install a single line capable of processing up to 350,000tpa of feedstock within the approved building envelope. The new design would enable the power output from the site to be increased from 21MW to 33MW, an increase of some 57% for a corresponding increase of only 17% in fuel feedstock.
    The proposed increase in throughputs from 300,000 tonnes to 350,000 tonnes is still well within currently permitted approved maximum capacity of 375,000 tonnes per annum for the Newhurst site and would not result in a requirement to increase the HGV movement restrictions on the site.
  • Having a single process line means that only one flue stack would be needed.
  • The change in the internal arrangements means that flue stack would be moved slightly such that its base is within the building envelope.
  • Provision of additional cooling fans to improve process efficiency.
  • The use of a single process line releases space inside the building such that the office and ancillary accommodation would be housed within the main building rather than being in a spur on the side of the building.
  • The canopy roof over the IBA storage and maturation area is no longer required and processed IBA would weather better without it (IBA processing would still be carried out within the building envelope). Instead of a roof, The IBA maturation area will still be screened with “green” walling. External maturation and storage is standard practice at other operational ERF plants.
  • Minor changes to the internal site road layout.

    What happens now?

    The new planning permission included several conditions that required further details to be submitted to Leicestershire County Council for approval. The required details have been submitted and approved and work commenced on site to implement the planning permission in June 2015. The details of the new design are still being developed.

    We are also pleased to have signed an exclusive partnership with Covanta, a leading developer and operator of energy recovery facilities (ERFs) to explore the potential development of two large-scale ERFs in Leicestershire and Cheshire. The UK has a significant shortage of energy from waste treatment capacity. We look forward to exploring this opportunity further.