A GIANT incinerator capable of powering up to 30,000 homes will be online by 2018 if planners give the long-awaited project the green light.
The £144 million energy-from-waste plant – called the Millerhill Energy Recovery Centre – has taken a step forward after Spanish-based firm FCC Medio Ambiente SA announced it had won the contract to run the facility, thought to be worth £475m over the next 25 years.
It is hoped the plant will process up to 195,000 tonnes of household and commercial rubbish each year from Edinburgh and Midlothian – helping both local authorities meet their landfill targets.
A former railway yard south of Fort Kinnaird – previously Millerhill Marshalling Yards – has been earmarked for the incinerator that will also produce heat for nearby estates.
A pre-planning application has now been lodged with Midlothian Council. David Molland, a planning manager for FCC Environment, said: “The Millerhill ERC would receive approximately 195,000 tonnes per annum of residential, municipal and commercial and industrial waste.
“Following further recovery of materials from the residential waste and the subsequent combustion of the waste, the facility would generate heat energy in the form of steam.”
Lesley Hinds, environment convener for Edinburgh City Council, said the energy-from-waste centre at Millerhill would be vital in helping the region become more eco-friendly.
“This is a key part of our long-term strategy on the journey to drive down landfill waste,” she said.
“Our priority is to encourage the public to cut down on waste and to fully engage in recycling. This facility will ensure that any waste remaining after recyclable materials have been separated out will be treated as a resource and no longer disposed of in a landfill site.”
Midlothian councillor Jim Bryant, cabinet member for economic development, said FCC was chosen to run the centre because its plans included the provision of a new heat source for residents.
He said: “I am delighted with the economic benefits and opportunities which the regeneration of this brownfield site presents and I will be particularly keen to see FCC develop a local heat network that can link into some of the other exciting projects that are set to transform this area.”
In 2011, Midlothian Council approved planning permission in principle to erect a range of waste treatment facilities at a new Zero Waste Parc (Prevention and Recycling Centre) located on the site.
Work has already begun on a anaerobic digestion facility capable of converting 30,000 tonnes of food waste annual into electricity.