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The energy recovery facility at Four Ashes in South Staffordshire

Energy facility marks five years of reducing waste to landfill and powering homes

Staffordshire’s energy recovery facility has now been operating for five years – diverting a million tonnes of non-recycled household waste from landfill to generate electricity.

That’s enough to power the equivalent of 220,600 homes through energy generated into the national grid.

Over 25 years the facility at Four Ashes in South Staffordshire will save the county council over £250 million in landfill tax.

While the county council’s focus is on recycling waste through doorstep collections and at its household waste recycling centres, non-recycled waste can be used to produce energy. Environmental solutions company Veolia began operations five years ago this week.

Waste taken to the energy plant at Four Ashes is burned at extremely high temperatures in a controlled environment to produce energy which is fed back to the grid.

Tours of the plant can be arranged on request for Staffordshire schools and community groups. People can call 0203 567 6300 for further information on tours.

The facility has a ‘living roof’ which means sections are planted with species to help the building blend into the surrounding area and to increase biodiversity. The scheme also has the benefit from extensive landscaping, sustainable drainage and habitat creation.

Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Gill Heath said:

It is a significant milestone that the Four Ashes facility has been operating for five years now – diverting over a million tonnes of non-recycled waste from landfill to create energy.

Landfilled waste is costly to the environment due to the time it takes to break down and creates harmful gases. It’s also costly to councils and the taxpayer. We estimate we will save £250 million over 25 years using the facility.

Our priority is to maximise recycling first and then recover energy from the leftover residual waste.”

Scott Francis, regional manager for Veolia’s Energy Recovery Facilities said:

Veolia is delighted to have played a major part in changing the way that Staffordshire deals with its recycling and waste. In conjunction with the county council we’re ensuring that less and less waste ends up in landfill and, instead, helps to power homes across the county and beyond.”