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Planning application submitted for Materials Recovery Facility

12th February 2019

Photograph of Planning application submitted for Materials Recovery Facility

A planning application has been submitted to construct a new centralised waste management facility (Materials Recovery Facility) to recover recyclates and produce Refuse Derived Fuel, as the Council's preferred interim arrangements for meeting the requirements of the ban on landfilling which commences in January 2021. The site is located at the Longman, Inverness (previously the landfill site).

Around 140,000 tonnes of waste are produced per annum by Highland households and Highland Council Business Waste Customers. At present, 43% of this material is recycled. The remaining 57% of Highland refuse is sent to landfill at a cost of approximately £11 million each year.

Once constructed, the facility is expected to annually process up to 83,000 tonnes of residual waste generated within the Highlands. The Materials Recovery Facility will remove any items which can be recycled such as cans, bottles and plastic pots and tubs; it will then gather and package the remaining waste material to prepare it for transportation to Energy-from-Waste plants elsewhere in the UK.

Councillor Allan Henderson Chair of the Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee said: "The national legislation changes coming in on 1 January 2021 mean, like all other councils, we will not be allowed to landfill our biodegradable municipal waste. The aims of this ban are to promote waste being regarded as a commodity or resource, maximise reuse and recycling, and stimulate a circular economy. The landfill ban will also reduce the amount of methane being produced by landfill sites."

The application will be assessed over the coming weeks before it is presented to the South Area Planning Committee for a decision.

The application can be viewed at using the reference number 19/00503/FUL.

What is a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)? These can fall into two main categories, those that are designed to process large volumes of mixed recyclables (e.g. from the blue bins) into their individual material streams and prepare them for sale in the commodity markets; or, as in this case, others that deal with mixed residual waste and look to recover value from the material by removing small amounts of recyclable streams such as metals and plastics, but in the main, producing a refuse derived fuel in readiness for sending to Energy from Waste facilities.

Currently almost all residual waste is landfilled with around 32,000 tonnes being bulked and transported out of the Highlands for landfill disposal in Aberdeenshire under a contract with SUEZ until September 2019. The remainder is landfilled at Council sites at Seater in Caithness, Granish in Aviemore, or Duisky landfill site in Lochaber.


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