Cutting the ribbon at new waste plant in Lancashire

Lend Lease/Amec open Lancashire recycling centre

Domestic waste from Lancashire residents this week started going to a new facility near Blackpool that will divert over 80% of their household rubbish from landfill.

A ribbon was cut as the first load of black-bin waste arrived at Thornton Waste Recovery Park on Monday.

The facility was built and will be managed by Global Renewables Lancashire, a joint venture between Lend Lease and Amec, and will employ 160 people.

A large fully-enclosed composter will initially treat both green garden waste followed later in the year by the addition of food scraps, while a high-tech combination of mechanical and biological processes is used to produce a compost-like material from black-bag rubbish.

The facility at Thornton is one of two waste processing facilities being developed by Global Renewables Lancashire to recover and process municipal waste over the next 25 years under a £2bn PFI contract, which remains one of the largest investments of its kind in the UK.

Cllr Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "We're saying goodbye to large-scale landfill and welcoming a future in which most of our waste is reused. People in Lancashire and Blackpool can count themselves among the most environmentally friendly residents in the country.

"I'm proud that here in Lancashire we'll be among the top performing authorities in the country, and that we'll be achieving this without burning our rubbish, something the people of Lancashire feel very strongly about."

The second waste recovery parks is under construction at Farington near Preston. Together, the two sites will handle over 500,000 tonnes of household waste every year.

Martin Hopkins, chief executive of Global Renewables Lancashire, said: "This is the very best technology of its kind and a world class facility that everybody should be proud of. Together, with Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council, Global Renewables will ensure that this county becomes the greenest in the UK."

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