Development Considerations

Discover some frequently cited topics and questions relating to the delivery of an Advanced Energy Recovery Facility near Alton

We have undertaken a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as part of the planning application so that the environmental effects of the development are clearly understood. This page provides information on some of the topics which have been included in the assessment and you can find the full EIA on the Application page, which is available here.

What are the environmental benefits of the site?

Energy recovery uses residual waste that cannot be recycled as fuel to create electricity for the National Grid. It therefore reduces carbon impact in two ways.

Firstly, every tonne of residual waste that we stop going to landfill reduces carbon impact. Using this residual waste instead of fossil fuel to create electricity benefits for the environment too. 

Overall, the proposed Alton facility will provide enough electricity for over 75,000 homes. Compared with landfill, it will save over 65,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. That's the equivalent of taking over 28,000 cars a year off the road.  

How much waste will there be?

The capacity of the site will be 330,000 tonnes of residual waste per year.

How big will the building be and how high are the chimneys?

The footprint of the building will be about the same as the existing building.  It will be about 40m high. The building will have a living wall on each side that will help it to blend in with the landscape and change through the seasons.  The two stacks will be 80m tall.

Will the plant be safe? If it is an advanced ERF does that mean there will be less emissions?

The plant will be safe.  The facility will operate within the strict emission limits for ERF plants which are set by the Environment Agency who then regularly inspect the site.  The plant will be fitted with the latest emissions monitoring and control systems and the emissions will be continuously measured and checked independently by the Environment Agency.  The emissions from all of our plants are published on our website.

This will be the most efficient plant we have ever built in terms of both electricity generation and emission control with the latest technology allowing us to make more improvements in air quality emissions so that they fall even further below stringent limits.

 

How many homes will it produce energy for and how can you claim it is more energy efficient?

The plant will produce enough electricity for about 75,000 Hampshire homes.  We are always working to make our plants better. This plant will be about 30% more efficient than the 3 existing Hampshire plants.  That is because we are using the latest technology for the boilers and turbines that turn the steam into electricity.

 

What will happen to our recycling when Alton shuts?

Alton will be replaced by a larger hi-tech recycling facility on a new site in a more central location. 

If you’re putting recycling on one site why not Alton?

The proposed single recycling facility will serve the whole of Hampshire.  It is better to put it in a more central location so the recycling can be transported shorter distances. 

 

What will happen to the people employed at Alton?

Our team at Alton will be able to be redeployed to our extensive network of Hampshire facilities including the new recycling facility or one of our other sites.  We will be talking to all of our team individually to see what they would like to do.

How will traffic be affected by the new facility?

At the moment there are about 64 lorry loads (128 movements) at the site each day.  The proposals will be for 108 lorry loads (216 movements) per day. There will be an extra 44 loads (88 vehicle movements) and all of these will use the existing access to the A31.   This is well within the existing road capacity and represents an increase in vehicle movements on the A31 of less than 1%.

Will the facility be noisy?

No. All of the proposed waste management operations will be undertaken within an enclosed building. However, there will be some elements of the proposals that generate some noise. 

Noise monitoring has been undertaken to understand background noise conditions and a detailed noise model has been developed to predict noise levels at nearby receptors. We have designed the facility so that noise is contained in the building and will not have a significant effect on the nearest residential receptors. 

If permission is granted we anticipate that the Council will apply conditions that will control the noise during operations. We also expect that they will ask us to prepare and work to a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) during construction. Again, this will be controlled by a condition.

Will the facility impact upon air quality?

Veolia is committed to ensuring that any emissions are within regulated limits and that the facility operates with the safety of residents and the wider Hampshire community in mind. Limits on emissions to air are set within the Environment Permit issued by the Environment Agency. Performance against those targets is published on Veolia's website for all ERF Facilities, see here.

All equipment within the ERF would also be subject to a Planned and Preventative Maintenance Programme and, in addition, various actions and monitoring procedures would be carried out by Veolia to ensure that the ERF combustion parameters and emissions remain within the Environment Permit limits. The ERF process is a highly established and reliable process and modern ERF facilities adopt the best available techniques in terms of design, control and management. It is not envisaged that there would be a situation whereby there would be a failure of the plant to meet the emissions to air limits. 

Will the facility impact upon local ecology?

Veolia has conducted a series of surveys to understand the local ecology. This information has been used to access the effects of the development on local wildlife and habitats. The landscaping design fo the scheme includes measures that will enhance the value of the site to the local ecology.

An Environmental Statement has also been submitted alongside the application and indicates that the proposed development would not have a significant residual effect on important ecological features and would achieve biodiversity net gain within the site. Further net gain in excess of 10% of baseline values can also be achieved with off-site mitigation.

The proposal complies with policy 175 of the NPPF in avoiding significant harm to ecological resources; avoiding physical damage or indirect impacts of more than minor significance on irreplaceable habitats; and taking opportunities to enhance biodiversity in and around the development. By achieving an excess of 10% Net Gain, it also complies with the likely future requirements of the Environment Bill.

Is the facility likely to smell?

No. All waste management operations will be conducted within an enclosed building.  The tipping hall will be controlled by forced draught fans located above the refuse bunker. These fans would draw air from the tipping hall and boiler hall into the furnace to feed the combustion process creating a slight negative pressure. This will prevent odours, as well as dust, from escaping. Furthermore, the waste within the bunker will be regularly mixed by the crane operators which will avoid waste build-up and minimise the anaerobic conditions which can cause odour.  

The design of the facility also incorporates measures to prevent the release of odour from within the building.  Odour has been assessed as part of our Air Quality Assessment and, once the facility is operational, will be monitored by both Veolia and the Environment Agency.

How will you prevent the facility from flooding?

A standalone Flood Risk Assessment has been prepared with respect to surface water and flood risk.  This assessment concludes that the proposed development is located outside of the 1:1000 annual probability flood outline and is therefore defined by the NPPF as being situated within Flood Zone 1. The site is therefore not considered to be at risk from flooding from the River Wey, or from reservoirs, canals and other artificial sources and fluvial sources.

How likely is an accompanying District Heating Network?

The plant will be designed to be able to export heat.  There are several potential heat users in the area, but our experience is that we can’t get commitment to take heat until the plant is a real prospect and is being built.

How will the site contribute to the local economy?

The facility will regenerate an existing facility unlocking significant economic opportunities.  It will result in 350 construction jobs and 40-45 permanent roles once operational.