The Becon Consortium, the private sector group behind inward investment plans for a £240million integrated waste management facility at Hightown Quarry, Mallusk has reached the next stage of its proposals with the application for an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) permit to operate the facility.
The application is seeking an environmental permit from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) to operate the state of the art facility which is designed to help the member councils within the arc21 waste management group meet their EU landfill reduction targets and avoid potential fines. The permit, if awarded, would cover the operation of a mechanical biological treatment facility which will increase overall recycling levels within the arc21 area by up to 10%, and an energy from waste facility which will export 14MW of electricity to the National Grid – enough to power more than 30,000 homes and make a significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s renewable energy targets. Establishing the facility in the Hightown Quarry, an existing industrial site that is currently regulated and licensed for mineral extraction, provides an excellent opportunity to use waste as a valuable resource for local energy generation rather than exporting it, and reduce our reliance on imported fuels for energy production.
Ian Smith, Project Director, Becon Consortium said,
“This IPPC permit application is a very important phase of the overall project designed to ensure that the state of the art facilities we are proposing meet all the stringent environmental requirements for a project of this nature. Once operational, people can be reassured that the facilities will operate safely, meeting all necessary environmental regulations and that they will be rigorously monitored by the NI Environment Agency to ensure it operates within the terms of the Environmental Permit.
“As the project has progressed, we are pleased to see an increasing acceptance in Northern Ireland that we have to move away from landfill to develop more sustainable solutions for our waste. Similar facilities have been in operation for many years across Europe demonstrating the important role theses facilities play in helping a region achieve its strategic aims, particularly in economic development and resource management, as well as energy diversity and security.
In order for Northern Ireland to be self sufficient in terms of waste management, other similar projects will also be required to make substantial progress towards a situation similar to that in Switzerland which, according to the latest EU statistics, has zero biodegradable waste to landfill.”
In terms of a contribution to economic growth, as well as the electricity generated, it is estimated that the construction phase will provide 455 direct jobs at peak construction and support a significant number of additional jobs in the supply chain. The facility will also create and sustain 337 direct and indirect jobs annually during the operational phase.