Waste and recycling company SITA UK is to submit a planning application for a rail waste transfer loading station at Knowsley Industrial Estate in Kirkby.
The plans are part of the company's bid to secure a 30-year contract to treat Merseyside and Halton's residual waste, diverting it from landfill.
SITA UK proposes to transport Merseyside's waste to a planned energy-from-waste facility in Wilton, Teesside. At this facility, non-recycled waste will be burned under controlled conditions to produce energy, recovering value from waste material that would otherwise be sent to landfill.
The transfer station would enable up to 500,000 tonnes of residual waste a year to be bulked and transported via rail, reducing the amount of vehicles on the roads.
As part of the formal planning process, SITA UK has submitted a request to Knowsley Council's development control team for a screening opinion. This seeks to clarify the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment and to agree the topics which the planning application will cover.
Corrina Scott-Roy, planning manager at SITA UK, said: "This is the first stage of the planning process and over the coming weeks we will be seeking feedback from the local community as we develop the application.
"If we are successful in securing the contract to deal with Merseyside's residual household waste, the transfer loading station will enable us to reduce the number of HGVs needed to transport this waste by making use of the existing rail link on the site."
The 13.6 acre site, currently operating as a rail freight transfer station by the Potter Group, will only be developed if SITA UK and its partner, Sembcorp, secures the 30 year resource recovery contract with Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority, which is running a competitive procurement process for the contract.
Potter Group's managing director, Matthew Lamb, said: "The opportunity to expand our operations in Knowsley with SITA UK will lead to the creation of more jobs and will provide a significant boost to the volume of rail traffic using the facility.
"While SITA would take operational control of the existing facility, we would redevelop an adjacent site and transfer our operations and jobs there. We look forward to playing our part in helping SITA provide a long-term and responsible solution to the management of municipal waste in the region."
The existing buildings on the site will be used with minimal further construction work required. An on-site visitor centre is also proposed which will support waste and sustainability education programmes in the region.