VIDEO: Veolia unveils flagship urban waste park in London

The UK's first large-scale innercity integrated waste management facility has opened in South London, claiming to set new standards for community-led urban regeneration.

The project forms part of a 25-year PFI initiative between Southwark Council and Veolia Environmental Services and will play a key role in aiming to double the council’s recycling rate to 40% by 2014.

The facility comprises a 85,000 tonnes per annum materials recovery facility (MRF) and a 87,500 tonnes per annum mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plant. It also features an on-site transfer station and a reuse and recycling centre, accessible to the public.

The MRF is able to process materials such as glass and tetra paks while the MBT plant will produce recyclables and solid recovered fuels from residual waste. It is also the first MBT plant Veolia has built in the UK.

In officially declaring the plant open, Southwark Council leader Peter John spoke of his pride in seeing the project reach completion.

“Other council leaders are incredibly jealous of what we have here. With this facility, I am confident we will double our recycling rates and reduce our carbon emissions.”

Veolia’s CEO Jean-Dominique Mallet claimed that the project, from conception to completion, was “the fastest PFI process we’ve ever seen”.

“We believe it’s the future of urban integrated waste management – it is a facility for the community that will reduce road miles and environmental impact.”

He added that the MRF was capable of sorting one of the widest range of household materials in the country, and contained in-built flexibility to take into account future developments in packaging.

The opening ceremony on Monday (April 16) was officially hosted by broadcaster and environmentalist Kate Humble, who spoke of her enthusiasm for such initiatives.

“This facility has given me tremendous heart, it is playing a vital part in preserving our natural environments and habitats. The way the waste is being treated here is quite exceptional,” she said.

Humble also gave an exclusive interview to edieWaste about how the industry needs to widen its appeal to the public if it is to successfully address misconceptions around rubbish.

Maxine Perella

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