THE Duke of Kent has officially opened a new facility which turns rubbish into energy.
Prince Edward, the Queen’s cousin, was in Billingham today to take a tour of the SITA UK Energy from Waste plant, which burns rubbish to generate electricity.
The facility was built to cut the amount of waste sent to landfill sites.
It was created after three councils – South Tyneside, Gateshead and Sunderland – got together to discuss better ways to deal with their rubbish.
SITA won the £727million contract after the authorities examined a number of options to reduce the use of landfill sites.
Councillor Peter Mole MBE, chairman of the South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership’s Joint Executive Committee, said: “These new developments are the realisation of our very ambitious plans to significantly reduce our reliance on landfill and provide our residents with a greener waste management service.
“Thanks to these new facilities, we are proud to be able to say that we now divert over 95% of our waste away from landfill and, instead, put it to good use – either by recycling it into new products and compost or treating it to produce electricity. In fact, even the ash that comes from burning the waste is recycled into building materials.”
Construction of the new facility began in September 2011 and was completed in April 2014. More than 1,800 skilled professionals were employed during the building period, with a further 42 full-time, permanent jobs created to operate the facility.
A further 24 jobs have been created in the operation of three new waste transfer stations developed at Wrekenton in Gateshead, Middlefields in South Tyneside and Hendon in Sunderland. These allow the waste to be sorted for recycling before loading the residual waste into larger vehicles for transport to Teesside.
David Palmer-Jones, chief executive Officer for SITA UK, said: “The South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership’s investment in this new infrastructure shows how local authorities can meet their commitments to divert waste material from landfill and, at the same time, deliver a sustainable source of energy. SITA UK is delighted to play a part in helping the North East put its waste to good use.”
“On behalf of SITA UK and the South Tyne & Wear Waste Management Partnership, I am delighted and honoured to welcome His Royal Highness to formally open our new energy from waste facility.”