Our History

Earth from outer space

The History of Veolia in the UK

Veolia UK is part of a worldwide Group of companies, with over 163 000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries.

Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them. 


  • Veolia Energy Recovery Facilities generate nearly twice as much electricity as UK wind power
  • Veolia clean up for the EURO 2020 final
  • Veolia to manage waste services for NHS Test and Trace laboratory in Royal Leamington Spa
  • Veolia optimise lighting for one of the biggest acute hospital Trusts
  • Decommissioning in Shetland moves to the next level following the innovative explosive collapse of the Ninian North platform.
  • Veolia introduces new COVID-19 test kit treatment services to help ensure safety and compliance
  • The Princess Royal visits Veolia’s Southwark facility to celebrate training and thank key workers
  • Veolia prepares to double renewable energy delivery
  • Westminster showcases upcycled electric refuse collection vehicle at SMMT 
  • Groupe Renault, Veolia & Solvay join forces to recycle end-of-life EV battery metals
  • Veolia makes a major increase to the amount of recycled plastic used in milk bottles 
  • Veolia joins the new ETL Net Zero Carbon Delivery Framework
  • First electric vehicle for City of London starts a fully electric collection fleet
  • Veolia sees a 115% increase in apprenticeship intakes 
  • Veolia introduces new COVID-19 test kit treatment services
  • Veolia expands wood recycling and processing capacity by 50,000 tonnes per year


  • Veolia implement largest Energy Performance Contract in Irish healthcare
  • Veolia Environmental Trust awards the Woodland Trust £600,000 towards building the Northern Forest.
  • Veolia’s optimised operations and maintenance helps Northern Ireland Water manage COVID-19
  • Veolia to deliver low carbon energy to Alderley Park
  • Veolia High Temperature Incinerator Facility marks 30 years of successful operation
  • Veolia deploys new IMPACT 2023 strategy in the UK
  • Veolia becomes first waste company to join new OPRL membership
  • Veolia highlights significant carbon reductions by using energy recovery facilities to treat clinical waste
  • Veolia launches new plastic recycling report
  • Veolia pilots latest digital technology to advance recycling
  • Veolia manufactures hand sanitiser to overcome shortages and protect key workers.
  • Waste workers delighted by public support as StreetSmiles campaign covers UK
  • Veolia ERF starts low carbon heat delivery in City of Leeds
  • Energy Performance contract saves over £1M per year and cut 49,620 tonnes of carbon
  • Veolia launch new Sustainable Packaging Academy
  • Veolia becomes first recycling company to join UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap


  • Veolia has helped four south London boroughs rise up the recycling performance table
  • Veolia gains royal recognition for ‘Respect at Work’ training
  • Energy crisis meets climate crisis: Veolia urges immediate action
  • Veolia launches new ProCycle service
  • New Waste Management Collection Vehicles Help Improve Recycling
  • ‘Upcycled’ Refuse Collection Vehicles lead zero-emission revolution for London
  • Veolia gains Gold status in Defence Employers Recognition Scheme
  • Veolia calls for peat use to be banned to hit zero-carbon targets
  • Veolia & Irish Water Sign Upgrade Contracts for key water treatment sites
  • World class stadium soil makes pitches perfect for London players
  • Veolia delivers record investment to help communities and environmental projects
  • Decommissioning in Shetland expands with the arrival of more North Sea structures
  • Veolia helps Dwr Cymru Welsh Water to enhance sustainability
  • Veolia and Westminster City Council give pride  goers their most colourful clear up
  • Veolia launches first complete carbon reporting platform in the UK
  • Veolia calls for stricter guidelines to avoid 20,000 related deaths every year
  • Veolia awarded BITC Silver CORE accreditation in Northern Ireland
  • Veolia launches £1 million investment to grow plastics recycling
  • Veolia pioneer solution that enables black plastic bottles to be recycled
  • Veolia calls on UK businesses and the public sector to reduce emissions
  • Marathon clean up delivers PB for plastic recycling
  • London's South Quay Plaza tower to be fitted with Veolia CHP technology
  • Veolia and Anglian Water target over £1M savings through process optimisation
  • New Global Alliance Commits Over $1bn To Help End Plastic Waste
  • Veolia Signs First Non-Domestic Energy Efficiency Framework Contract For Glasgow Life
  • SELCHP Celebrates 25 Years Of Low-Carbon Energy Production In London
  • Veolia and LEON pilot deposit return scheme to solve on the go recycling
  • Nestlé and Veolia partner to tackle plastics waste
  • Energy recovery facility in Bedfordshire reaches financial close
  • Veolia launches new services designed to achieve compliance with the SECR
  • Veolia supports new state-of-the-art Danone Nutricia Plant
  • Veolia records new district heating success
  • Veolia Signs New “Tech-Driven” City Of London Waste Contract
  • Veolia offers employment to homeless in Westminster
  • £400m decommissioning contract winners for Scotland nuclear site revealed


  • Business Stream and Veolia boost partnership with £10m water retail deal
  • Veolia optimise energy for Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
  • Veolia launches new full service solution for the recycling and recovery of pressurised gas cylinders
  • Veolia commences Irish Water's major upgrade to Ringsend Wastewater Treatment plant
  • Northampton to commingle under 10-year Veolia deal
  • Veolia partners with Knauf on 60,000 TPA Glass Recycling Plant
  • Veolia launches mobile chemist service to identify wastes and help compliance
  • Veolia launches new range of energy efficiency services to reduce costs and cut carbon
  • Veolia launches online marketplace for bioresources
  • JD Wetherspoon to avert 11,500 tons of food waste with Veolia UK contract
  • Veolia win inaugral Decom North Sea award
  • Veolia using advanced energy storage to improve performance of its High Temperature Incinerator
  • Veolia: FIFA World Cup sees increase in TVs sent to robotic recycling facility
  • Veolia:CHP, AD and biomass energy could secure UK energy supply
  • First Carbon and Energy Fund Ireland contract for Mater Hospital awarded to Veolia
  • Veolia to recycle 120m coffee cups in 2019
  • Veolia wins contract to design and build new Vartry Treatment plant
  • Combined heat and Power for Milton Keynes food production facility
  • Notting Hill Carnival clean up helps generate electricity and heat
  • Veolia to trial electric refuse collection vehicles in Sheffield
  • Veolia - Peterson to collaborate with Allseas on North Sea project
  • Veolia makes case for 50% recycled content in plastic bottles
  • Almost two-thirds of UK businesses yet to set emissions targets, survey says
  • Veolia's retrofit trial sees Euro-5 refuse trucks achieve clean air zone compliance
  • Veolia signs packaging sustainability agreement with Unilever
  • Veolia CHP performance reaches new heights
  • Industry recognised at Decentralised Energy Awards
  •  business giants join Ellen MacArthur Foundation's global commitment to eradicate plastics pollution
  • Report Highlights The Sustainable Benefits Of Veolia’s £1.5 Billion Investment In The UK Circular Economy
  • Tetra Pak and Veolia partner to recycle cartons
  • UK businesses target resource productivity through 'waste to wealth' commitment
  • Veolia widens armed forces commitment
  • UK on borrowed time to meet carbon targets according to new research


In 2017, Veolia was ​re-accredited for the Environmental Leadership Award from Business in the Community

  • Veolia helps Scottish Water achieve energy self-sufficiency
  • Water 2027: Future-proofing UK Water
  • Veolia launch new scheme to benefit community projects in Shetland
  • Veolia to optimise energy performance across three hospitals for Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
  • Veolia delivers major carbon savings to the University of East Anglia
  • More convenient on-the- go recycling facilities would boost the UK’s recycling rates
  • Veolia supports Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life
  • Apprenticeship excellence: the backbone of future business
  • Veolia and Stafford Borough Council partner up to boost recycling rates
  • Veolia extends energy efficiency to prehistoric power houses
  • Buchan Alpha arrives in Shetland for disposal
  • Veolia facility at Great Yarmouth receives the first offshore structure for decommissioning
  • Nation wakes up to coffee cup recycling on-the- go-go
  • Veolia furthers sustainability for the British Antarctic Survey
  • Veolia helps Quorn deliver healthy carbon savings
  • Veolia re-accredited for the Environmental Leadership Award from Business in the Community
  • Veolia will power the first high energy Proton Beam Therapy Centre in the UK
  • Veolia further advances road safety through £5 million investment
  • Veolia to increase energy efficiency for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Veolia closes the loop with Knauf Insulation
  • Veolia to team up with Business Stream to grow retail water market
  • Apprenticeship Drive: Veolia’s new Fleet Technical Academy is going full throttle
  • Veolia CHP adds to renewable generation from food waste
  • Veolia boosts renewable generation for Southern Water
  • Veolia acquires Cynergin to boost energy growth
  • First Rigs to Arrive for Decommissioning in Great Yarmouth
  • HRH The Princess Royal officially opens the Battlefield Energy Recovery Facility
  • Churchill College, Cambridge furthers sustainability goals using a new Veolia CHP


Veolia is recognised as a leader in environmental and social responsibility by winning the Responsible Business of the Year Award 2016, Business in the Community’s flagship award

  • HRH the Duke of Kent officially opens Veolia’s Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF) in Leeds
  • The second Imagine 2050 report is published revealing the innovation business models needed in three key UK sectors to meet resource and waste challenges between now and 2050 
  • Whitfield Clinic becomes the first hospital in Ireland and the UK to achieve the new ISO500001 energy management accreditation through working with Veolia 
  • Hertfordshire County Council awards Veolia a 30-year, waste management contract
  • London Borough of Camden awards Veolia a 16-year environmental services management contract
  • Veolia is recognised as a leader in environmental and social responsibility by winning the Responsible Business of the Year Award 2016, Business in the Community’s flagship award
  • Veolia’s strategic commitment to the plastics recycling economy in the UK is furthered through the acquisition of manufacturing assets in East London 
  • Veolia and Covanta join forces for the development of the Rookery Pit South Energy Recovery Facility (ERF)
  • St Albans City and District Council awards Veolia an eight-year recycling, waste and street cleansing contract
  • Hampshire County Council awards Veolia a £70 million Household Waste Recycling Centre contract
  • Veolia completes the acquisition of Boomeco, a waste wood processor and producer of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF)
  • Veolia further strengthened its position in generating energy from biomass by securing a £50 million contract from  Equitix  ESI CHP, to operate the Sherwood Biomass Plant in Nottingham
  • Veolia joins the FoodCycle Breadline Challenge, in the fight against food poverty
  • Cogenco  Limited is fully integrated into the Veolia UK group
  • Edinburgh Airport and Veolia optimise water network management on-site by signing a 12-year contract
  • Estelle Brachlianoff became 2degrees’ Leader of the Year UK 2015 for  being at the forefront of a new industrial revolution
  • Imperial College London research, commissioned by Veolia, reveals the circular economy is set to boost UK GDP by £28 billion
  • Veolia announces new Great Yarmouth decommissioning facility to support  Southern North Sea
  • Business in the Community awards Veolia 4-stars in the Corporate Responsibility Index 2015 and its Sustainable Products and Services award 


One Veolia

  • Waste and water businesses become one
  • Official planning permission granted for our Leeds recycling and energy recovery facility which will feature a unique ‘Living Wall’ and is due to open 2015.
  • Veolia named as Vocational Employer of the Year and Large Employer of the Year for the £5m investment and outstanding support it has provided to its workforce
  • Business in the Community (BitC) awards Veolia second place in its national Corporate Responsibility Index
  • Telford & Wrekin selects Veolia to manage its recycling and waste services in a new long-term PPP contract
  • Southwark Council and Veolia launch London’s first low carbon energy from waste district heating network which is based at SELCHP will save 8,000tpa of carbon emissions
  • Agreement signed for Dalkia to join One Veolia.
  • Veolia commits to supporting the British Government’s Syrian chemicals’ initiative by destroying 190t of ‘B’ precursors at its Ellesmere Port high temperature incineration facility
  • Veolia receives a Queens Award for Sustainable Development for setting the sustainable benchmark in manufacturing green products and energy
  • Estelle Brachlianoff receives CBI First Women Business of the Year Award
  • Company strengthens its position in the Northern North Sea offshore decommissioning and recycling marketplace by winning a 14,000t Norwegian oil platform decommissioning project
  • Veolia signs a three year contract worth just under £6m Siemens UK to provide an integrated range of recycling services and take resource management to the next level
  • Veolia group name adopted by the energy businesses


Prestigious onshore contract for the decommissioning of eight gas platforms

In 2011 we were awarded a prestigious onshore contract for the decommissioning of eight gas platforms from the Southern North Sea at the former Swan Hunter shipyard on the River Tyne.

We won a fourteen-year contract with the London Borough of Haringey for municipal waste collection, cleansing and street cleaning and a three year contract extension with BOC to deliver commercial and hazardous waste services at its 80 UK locations.

In partnership with Whitbread, the UK’s largest hospitality company, we were given the Best Initiative for a Large Business at the Climate Week Awards for our landfill diversion initiative.

The first UK industrial biomass steam plant (12MWth) built by Veolia is opened by HRH Prince Charles. London’s first Biomass district heating plant at Tottenham Hale, designed, built and operated by Veolia, starts operation.

Our Pitsea and Croft Farm (Doncaster) landfill sites were both selected for the Wildlife Trusts’ prestigious Biodiversity Benchmark certification.  Pitsea is a haven for wildlife and flora and fauna and played host to BBC2’s Springwatch and Autumnwatch programmes.

Hertfordshire County Council awarded us a contract for a new recycling and energy recovery facility which will power over 50,000 local homes and divert thousands of tonnes away from landfill.

We opened our new regional head office in Kingswood Lakeside, Cannock, which received a prestigious BREEAM “Excellent” rating and a new commercial recycling facility in Birmingham.

In 2012, our investment of £260m saw four new recycling and recovery facilities located across the UK fully commissioned and operational.  These consisted of the Newhaven ERF,  Gillmoss MRF and the Southwark and Padworth  Integrated Waste Management Facilities.

We launched ‘A Clean Sweep for Britain’ in partnership with ‘The People’ newspaper to give something back to communities where we live and work. The public selected four community spaces in Stoke-on-Trent, Lancashire, Andover and Haringey.

Business in the Community (BitC) awarded us a top “Platinum” Rating in its Corporate Responsibility Index (CRI) – one of only 25 companies nationally to receive this accolade. We were also the most improved company within the CRI and went on to win the BitC’s Climate Change Award.

Leeds City Council appointed us preferred bidder for its 25-year residual waste treatment PFI contract. The proposed recycling and energy recovery facility in the Cross Green Industrial Area will create 300 jobs during construction and 45 permanent posts.

We also gained planning approval for a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant at our Garston solvent recovery facility in South Liverpool, significantly reducing its carbon footprint and opened a new commercial recycling facility in Basildon.


2009 saw a major milestone in our quality, environmental and safety performance.

The OHSAS 18001 award coincided with the company achieving a 27% reduction in Lost Time Incidents (LTIs) and winning the National Recycling Award for Innovation in Health & Safety.

This was a direct result of the development of a strong safety culture through increased training and awareness as well as the launch of RAE (Risk Assessment Expert) a cartoon crash test dummy that highlights accident prevention.

The Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority (MWDA) awarded the company a twenty year integrated recycling and waste management contract to update the area’s recycling infrastructure.

We signed our first UK biomass CHP contract using process by-products as fuel. UK package CHP fleet exceeds 1000 units

We used the platform of the first ‘Futuresource’ exhibition at ExCeL to launch our ‘Waste Manifesto’ which includes a series of position statements contributing to the national debate on recycling and waste management issues. A second Waste Manifesto followed in 2010.

Our landmark sponsorship of the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in partnership with the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine saw our Chief Executive, Jean-Dominique Mallet help present the awards at a ceremony attended by over four hundred people. All our staff and their families were entitled to free admission to the exhibition and were given the opportunity to enter our own Staff Photography Competition.

In 2010 we started the year by announcing that every employee was entitled to a half day’s volunteering activity. The company won the flagship seven year Westminster municipal services contract worth £260 million with an option for a further seven year extension and was praised by Westminster City Council for the “strong partnership” we had developed with them since we were first awarded a contract with them in 1995.

Our Integrated Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Public Private Partnerships (PPP) portfolio was further strengthened with a new contract with Staffordshire County Council. 

Our UK generation capacity exceeds 300MWe – CHP exceeds 250MWe. Construction started on Veolia’s 18MWe biomass CHP in Chilton. 

Since coming to the UK we have invested over a billion pounds in a nationwide recycling and waste management infrastructure through our integrated contracts. Our Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs), ERFs, composting facilities, Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) and transfer stations have all contributed to the UK’s significantly improved landfill diversion performance.

Agreement was reached with Whitbread for three hundred of its restaurants and hotels across the UK to receive dedicated collections of food waste which are sent for anaerobic digestion.  The company also opened its first commercial services Materials Recovery Facility in Castle Donington, near Derby as part of the expansion of our commercial recycling infrastructure.

In June, the Chief Executive of Veolia Environmental Services worldwide, Denis Gasquet, attended the launch of our £2 million purpose-built marine barge ‘Sea Green’ based in the Port of Southampton.  The barge undertakes waterside collections on behalf of the cruise and commercial shipping industries and then treats and recycles the waste at our Marchwood marine service centre.

Finally, in October the company was awarded the Carbon Trust Standard certification for reducing its carbon emissions by more than 19% over the past three years.  The Carbon Trust Standard recognises organisations that have measured, managed and reduced their carbon emissions and are committed to further reductions.


In September 2006, Veolia became the UK recycling and waste management market leader.

This represented an excellent fit in terms of complementary skills, infrastructure and geographic coverage and included the major high temperature incineration (HTI) facility at Ellesmere Port.

Three months later, we strengthened our position in the commercial waste recycling market through the acquisition of the West Midlands paper and recycling company, Hollands Recycling. 

The same year, we were awarded a 26 year contract with Nottinghamshire County Council and the seven Borough/District Councils, aimed at increasing recycling in the County to 52% by 2012.

In 2007, we were awarded a top AAA rating by BMJ Ratings for our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy and performance in five key areas – environment, human resources, sales and marketing and purchasing and civil society. This was further endorsed again in 2010 where we were once again acknowledged for our high performance by BMJ Ratings.

In October, Shropshire County Council awarded the company a 27 year integrated contract to improve recycling and waste services for residents.

Offshore oil rig2007 was indeed a busy year; our £1.2m oil rig decommissioning facility in Lerwick Harbour on Shetland, which we manage on behalf of SBS Logistics, became fully operational. The pad was central to the implementation of a joint contract with Aker Kvaerner Offshore Partners to decommission 16,000t of material from TOTAL’s Frigg offshore platforms.

In 2007, we also reinforced our commitment to combined heat and power schemes through the acquisition of Cogenco adding to the existing UK CHP portfolio.

In 2008, we made a number of acquisitions including Liverpool-based Albion Distillation Services, a leading chemical distillation and solvent recovery business and Caltech Holdings Ltd, the Grangemouth based industrial cleaning company.  Further purchases included Bury-based C&C Recycling and the Liverpool (Canada Dock) commercial business of Shanks Waste Management.

Our investment in NHS hospital energy plant reached £50 million.

The Olympic Development Authority (ODA) awarded us the prestigious contract to establish a centralised waste management service and consolidation centre at the Olympic Park in Stratford. Movement of waste by water was a key facet of the operation thus reducing road traffic congestion. 

Other major contracts signed included a two year cardboard recycling contract with ASDA and an agreement with Astra Zeneca to provide a total waste management solution to all its UK manufacturing, research and office facilities.

Within the municipal sector we joined forces with the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM) to deploy the RecycleBank® system to incentivise recycling.  RBWM piloted the scheme with participating residents rewarded with Points that can be redeemed at local and national businesses including Marks & Spencer.

We also commenced long term partnerships with the London Borough of Southwark and with West Berkshire Council to provide recycling and waste management services for residents as well as new infrastructure to better manage municipal waste.

By the end of 2008, we had in place national recognition and procedural agreements within municipal services with a number of trade unions including UNISON as well as Unite the Union and GMB.  Additionally we had a joint national agreement with URTU and Unite the Union within our commercial services activities.


The new millenium began with the strategic acquisition of KD Offshore in Marchwood, Southampton.

Three years later, we won the contract to service the Queen Mary 2 – the world’s largest cruise liner – and the marine pollution facility now serves the 300 + cruise liners visiting the port every year.

In 2001, we signed an on-site contract with pharmaceutical giant, Astra Zeneca, at its Macclesfield site.  We also gained a 35 year integrated recycling and waste management contract with Sheffield City Council, which included responsibility for operating their award winning District Energy Network.

A testament to the work of our refuse and street cleaning staff in Westminster came with the title Britain’s Cleanest City in 2003 and we began work on a 25 year integrated waste management contract with East Sussex County and Brighton and Hove City Councils.

The same year we became the refuse, recycling and cleansing contractor for Camden and won a new contract to service the Bullring Shopping Centre and an emergency response contract with Midlands Expressway for the M6 Toll Road.

We also started our 23MWe CHP serving Macclesfield site.

Our dry salt mine, Minosus, was given the go-ahead to be used as an underground storage facility for hazardous waste in 2004.  We took full control in 2006 and the site is now the first facility of its kind for the permanent disposal of a range of solid and granular hazardous wastes.

In 2004, we also started a 140tonne per hour steam plant for Heinz.

In 2005, we acquired Shanks’ hazardous waste business for £28 million, foreseeing expansion in the sector following the implementation of new regulations redefining more products as hazardous. We developed compliance schemes for hazardous waste, waste electrical and electronic equipment and packaging waste in line with new legislation and signed major contracts with BP and Shell.

We also commenced operation of serving Eli Lilley in Liverpool with 13Mwe CHP.  

The year closed with a major milestone for the company.  We adopted a powerful new brand system in which the four businesses within Veolia Environnement would share the same name: Veolia Environmental Services (formerly Onyx), Veolia Water, Veolia Transport (formerly Connex) and Veolia Energy/Dalkia.


Veolia won its first refuse collection contract with Broadland Council in 1990 - a partnership which continues to this day.

In 1993, the company gained the first of ten major regional PPP (Public Private Partnerships) or PFI (Private Finance Initiative) waste contracts from Birmingham City Council, which included building and operating a new Energy Recovery Facility (ERF).

The following year, our 16MWe CHP plant officially opened on Zeneca’s Huddersfield site, following the opening of a 17.5MWe CHP for Tunnel Refineries, Greenwich four years earlier.

Also in 1994 was the awarding of the landmark 28-year Hampshire waste management contract as part of Project Integra, now a byword for excellence in landfill diversion. Our partners are Hampshire County Council, 11 district/borough authorities and the unitary authorities of Portsmouth and Southampton.

In 1997, we made the first of a number of major acquisitions in the form of Leigh Interests, later to form our commercial and industrial waste management arm. The launch of our packaging regulations compliance scheme and our own independently run Environmental Charity followed a year later. Since that date we have donated £5 million to worthwhile causes up and down the country.

A major development in 1999 was the opening of the UK College of Environment and Transport, forerunner of Campus Veolia UK. The Campus is an award-winning facility which offers a centre of training excellence for our entire workforce.

From 1999 onwards, growing public awareness of major global environmental challenges, expensive energy and the greenhouse effect prompted development of renewable energies.

Pre 1990

Veolia began operations in the UK.

In 1966, Veolia began UK operations with the formation of Associated Heat Services (AHS) by Sir Derek Ezra, to provide on-site energy management for industry, public and district heating sectors.

By 1980, Veolia's services had increased to include multiple utilities, along with HVAC installation and maintenance. In 1985, we supplied our first CHP to Brighton Hospital, signifying a landmark moment for the company.