Suez wants to build major anaerobic digestion facility to be built at the firm’s Ellington Road site, between Ashington and Linton Colliery.
It is hoped that the new plant, which would replace an existing composting operation, would use food waste to generate enough gas to supply more than 3,000 homes.
After launching a public consultation on the plans this week, Suez said that odours from the site, which could be in operation by 2025, “would be controlled” using new, sophisticated technology.
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The company added: “The process will be fully enclosed with material pumped around the plant reducing the release of odours. Air within the building and digesters will be treated prior to release and we will have strict odour limits. These odour controls are much more sophisticated than that of the existing open-sided in-vessel composting facility, which will be replaced.”
The plant will turn processed food waste into renewable biogas and compost-like soil improver, with Suez saying it will generate enough power for 3,300 homes.
Local residents have until this Sunday, July 10, to take part in a public consultation on the plans, before an application to build the facility is lodged with Northumberland County Council.
Suez said the new facility would “blend into the local landscape in a similar fashion” to the existing composting building and that noise disruption for nearby neighbours “will be limited as the building is fully enclosed”.
Colin Curtis, Northumberland County Council’s resource and waste manager, told councillors this week that the proposal was “a good news story because it is replacing like for like, but improving the technology and capacity”.
The composting site in Ashington currently takes processed household waste from another Suez facility in Byker, which has itself been the subject of complaints from neighbours about its disgusting stench.
Newcastle City Council and Suez both confirmed that the development of the new Ashington facility would not result in the closure of the Byker plant.
The council recently announced that it would be launching a pilot of kerbside food waste collections from 4,800 homes in Bedlington Central, Morpeth Stobhill, Morpeth North and Pegswood.