Artists Impression Of Plastic Park

Plans for £165m Plastic Park fleshed out

Neil Tague

Peel NRE, the energy-focused arm of Peel L&P, is consulting on plans for a further five facilities at the scheme within the Protos energy hub near Ellesmere Port.

The developer wants the so-called Plastic Park to help address the UK’s need to process more of the 4.9m tonnes of plastic waste it produces each year.

Two facilities within the project have already received planning consent – the UK’s first waste plastic-to-hydrogen facility and a PET recycling plant that will convert packaging such as plastic bottles into other packaging products.

Planning consent was secured in April for the £20m PET facility, to be operated by energy firm Enviroo. The Protos site as a whole spans 133 acres.

Peel NRE has now launched a consultation process before it formally seeks planning approval from Cheshire West & Chester Council for facilities it said could provide capacity for up to 367,500 tonnes of mixed recyclables and plastic and save 170,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.

These are:

  • A materials recycling facility, which would separate out dry mixed recyclable materials (such as glass, paper, cans and card) into different waste streams and send them for recycling.
  • Plastics recycling facility One (PRF1): plastic from the MRF and mixed plastics would arrive pre-sorted to the site will be separated into different plastic types. The separated plastic would either go to PRF2 or the PET recycling plant already consented at Protos.
  • Plastics recycling facility two (PRF2): pre-sorted plastic from PRF1 would be washed and processed into flaked plastic that can be used to make new plastic products, such as food packaging or drinks bottles.
  • Polymer laminate recycling facility: plastics such as crisp packets and baby food pouches will be heated, the plastic will break down into an oil for reuse in manufacturing new products with the aluminium recovered for recycling.
  • Hydrogen refuelling station: taking hydrogen from the consented plastic-to-hydrogen facility to supply up to 1000kg of hydrogen per day to vehicles, sufficient to fuel approximately 20 HGVs from outside Protos and a similar number of internal HGV movements that will be servicing operations within Protos.

Richard Barker, development director at Peel NRE, said: “The Plastic Park is an innovative way of managing our plastic waste. It will be a single location where mixed materials can be sorted and processed, maximising the amount that can be recycled.

“We’ll be able to take almost all types of plastic, providing a simple solution for local councils. We envision multiple Plastic Parks throughout the country which will help manage waste plastic on our own shores. This will allow us to create a circular economy, starting in the North West.”

Last March, Peel called on the Government to back its plans for a national network of up to six Plastic Parks.

The consultation for latest Ellesmere Port plans runs until 30 July 2021 with methods of contact including a live Q&A on 20 July and an online questionnaire.

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