What is the latest update on the project?

Planning permission for an Energy Recovery Centre was granted In September 2019.

Why do we need this facility?

There is a clear, demonstrable need for this facility to help manage Corby and Northamptonshire’s waste. The facility will reduce the amount of waste currently going to landfill and reduce the need to export waste from the county. The waste will be used to generate around 23MW of base load, clean energy – enough to meet the energy needs of most of Corby’s homes.

How much waste will be processed?

The consented facility will have a planned throughput of 260,000 tonnes per annum, although the actual throughput is expected to be lower. The centre will treat household waste and commercial waste arisings from the region. The centre will not treat hazardous or clinical waste.

What is Refuse Derived Fuel?

RDF consists largely of combustible components of municipal solid waste (MSW), comprising household, commercial and skip waste after the recyclable material has been removed.

How much energy will be generated by the facility?

The facility will generate around 23MW of renewable energy. Crucially this will be base load, clean energy that will reduce the need for fossil fuels and is more reliable than intermittent generation such as wind or solar. 23MW is enough to meet the energy needs of most of the homes in Corby.

Where will your fuel come from?

Ample waste is available locally to feed the proposed facility. It is commercially most sensible for us to utilise locally-arising waste and we will work hard to secure feedstock from local sources.

Why have you changed technology?

The previous planning consent comprised gasification technology, which converts waste fuels into a gas that is then used to heat water to drive a turbine to generate electricity. In the last two years the financial landscape for gasification projects has changed: as a relatively new technology, with few existing plants, funders have been reviewing the performance of recently completed gasification projects before committing substantial funding to new ones. At the same time, government subsidies available to gasification projects have been removed.

While the financial landscape has changed, the urgent need for new waste residual treatment infrastructure in Northamptonshire has not. Therefore, the owner of the Shelton Road site, Corby Limited, decided to submit a revised planning application, using a tried and tested conventional energy recovery Technology.

What is the new technology?

The approved energy recovery centre will process waste derived fuels in a combustion chamber where oxygen is added to produce temperatures over 850°C. The heat from the chamber is used to create steam which is used to make electricity by turning a steam turbine as well as producing heat for local networks.

All gases from the combustion chamber are filtered and cleaned before being vented to the atmosphere in line with strict controls monitored by the Environment Agency.

Is that the only change from the currently consented scheme?

The new energy recovery centre will feature a local heat and private wire network to provide cheaper and more environmentally sustainable heat, cooling and electricity for local businesses and housing.

The facility comprises a proven, effective technology, with several similar plants operating across the UK and many more in environmentally forward-thinking places like Scandinavia. The plant will not be reliant on subsidies.

The key difference in the technology from the previously consented gasification scheme is the use of additional oxygen in the energy recovery process.

The facility is designed to treat household and commercial waste. The plant will not treat hazardous or clinical waste.

The plant will generate 23MW of clean electricity - enough to meet the energy needs of most of Corby’s homes.

Due to the change in the technology and the intention to accommodate all of the proposal within a self-contained building, the height of the building has been increased along with the stack. The energy recovery centre will be contained within the original site.

During peak hours, the plant will generate similar traffic movements to the previously consented scheme.

What emissions will come out of the stack?

Detailed air quality modelling has been undertaken to predict the impacts associated with stack emissions from the process. Computer modelling has been carried out to on the dispersion of emissions from the facility which demonstrates that there will be no unacceptable impacts on local air quality, public health or nature conservation sites. Maximum off-site impacts are predicted to be negligible at all receptor locations. Emissions associated with operational traffic flows associated with the proposed development have also been identified as negligible.

Public Health England advises that well run and regulated Energy Recovery Centres (ERCs) do not pose a significant threat to public health. It also states that the effects are likely to be so small that they would be undetectable.

All ERCs in the UK are tightly regulated and must operate within the national and EU's requirements as set out in the Industrial Emissions Directive (formerly the Waste Incineration Directive). The Environment Agency also carries out spot-checks to ensure that the monitoring equipment is operating correctly.

How do you control Air Emissions?

There are strict air emissions limits set by regulatory bodies and Corby Limited will employ state-of-the-art emissions control technology to keep well within the limits and minimise our impact as far as possible.

How will any emissions be monitored?

The Corby Energy Recovery Centre will operate under strict air emissions control limits. To demonstrate compliance, we will use a combination of continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS) that monitor emissions 24 hours a day, seven days a week and perform regular stack testing.

Who is Corby Limited?

Corby Limited owns the site in Shelton Road and is a limited company registered in the Isle of Man.

What will you give back to the community?

The project will generate 200 construction jobs and then 35 long-term, permanent jobs. The facility will include a visitor and education area. We are also looking at the option of setting up a Trust dedicated to supporting local community projects and to see whether we can provide any other benefits to the community.

Will we get cheaper electricity?

The new energy recovery centre will be capable of providing cheaper and more environmentally sustainable heat and power for local businesses. All electricity produced by the facility will be fed directly into the National Grid.

How many local businesses have said they will use the heat and power?

It is too early to confirm specific customers for the heat and power, but there are a number of major consumers in the vicinity that we believe will be very interested.

How much waste still goes to landfill from this process?

None. What is left over after the process will be used as secondary aggregate for road building and for concrete block manufacturing.

How tall will the stack be?

The stack will be 75 metres tall (subject to final air dispersion modelling). To put this into context, the stacks on the nearby Corby power station are 70 metres tall.

Why does it have to be so tall?

It needs to be that height to comply with regulations on emissions control and air dispersion.

Will it ruin the view from Kirby Hall?

No. We have specifically carried out a visual assessment to demonstrate that neither the facility nor the stack will be visible from Kirby Hall.

How many lorries will be coming in and out?

There will be a maximum of 85 HGV lorries coming to the site per day, the equivalent of 170 lorry movements a day. We will make use of a Traffic Management Plan to ensure that HGVs do not travel through surrounding villages to access the site but stick to an agreed route using the main arterial roads. Any drivers found to be in contravention of this will be barred from delivering to the site.

What is your timetable going forward from here?

The facility was granted planning permission by Northamptonshire County Council in September 2019. The developers are currently formulating their plans ahead of the start of construction.

Will the facility smell?

Residual impacts from odour are considered to be negligible at all receptor locations. Odour impacts associated with the proposed development will be minimised by the design of the facility, abatement plant and the implementation of an odour management plan.

What is the site currently used for?

The site currently forms part of a car storage and distribution operation. It is well suited for the proposed development as it comprises brownfield land within the Willowbrook Industrial Estate on Shelton Road, in a traditionally industrial part of the town.

Will the facility process any dangerous or toxic substances?

No. The facility will only process refuse derived fuel. It will not accept any hazardous waste, dangerous substances, tyres, asbestos, gas cylinders, radioactive waste, oil, solvents or car batteries.

How safe is the technology?

Modern energy recovery centres such as this are strictly monitored by the Environment Agency and comply with all applicable legislation including control of emissions.

Does energy recovery technology constitute ‘renewable’ energy?

Yes, the technology is defined by Ofgem and DEFRA as ‘renewable’ by virtue of the fact that it will combust a ‘renewable fuel’ to generate electricity. The technology will require a permit from the Environment Agency in order to operate, which will impose strict controls on all aspects of the process.

What will be the visual impact of the facility?

The visual impact of the facility will be minimised by features within the surrounding area which screen the site from public viewpoints. There are no designated landscapes, Conservation Areas, Listed Buildings or Scheduled Monuments either nearby or within the zone of visual influence. While the stack will be a noticeable addition to the skyline, it will only be seen from a few limited view points and in the context of the existing industrial/commercial nature of the townscape.

Does the facility undermine efforts to increase recycling rates?

Our facility does not undermine efforts to increase recycling. Minimising waste and increasing recycling are very important steps in but unfortunately can’t deal with all the waste produce. Our facility provides the opportunity to treat waste left over after recyclable materials have been removed and uses the left over non-recyclable material to produce clean, renewable energy.

This approach helps to divert waste from landfill. A significant portion of the fuel for the proposed facility comes from renewable organic material in waste, which if landfilled creates methane gas that is over 20 times worse than carbon dioxide in terms of climate change. Our facility recovers it in a clean way, using a proven process which is all safely regulated by the UK Environment Agency.