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Cory Environmental - London's green electricity boost

(15 June 2006) Cory Environmental will build London's first river-served energy-from-waste plant at Belvedere, following a go ahead announcement by the Government. The site, in the London Borough of Bexley, is on the opposite bank of the Thames to the old Ford Motor works.

The decision was made by the Department of Trade and Industry's energy section as the plant will make a significant contribution to renewable energy. The decision made today follows public inquiries held in 2003 and 2005.

The decision came in the wake of several government waste strategy announcements highlighting the need to reduce the amount of household rubbish going to landfill sites. This strategy, which is European-wide places an emphasis on reducing waste (e.g less packaging), increasing recycling (e.g. bottle banks) and recovering the energy locked into waste that cannot be recycled. It is this, unrecycled waste, which will be used as a fuel to generate 66MW of electricity and avoid over 500,000 tonnes a year of waste being buried in holes in the ground.

Using household waste in this way reduces the demands on fossil fiels (oil, gas and coal) being burnt to generate electricity. The burning of fossil fuels is a major contributor to greenhouse gases and global warming.

The riverside plant will depend heavily on tugs and barges using the Thames. This is another benefit as it saves over 100,000 lorry journeys a year from lorries trundling through the capitals congested roads.

The application was made by Riverside Resource Recovery Ltd (RRL) a Cory subsidiary set up specifically for this plant. The plant is designed to process up to 585,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste - about half the size of the plant originally mooted. The majority of the waste will come from the four London boroughs of Lambeth, Wandsworth, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham via the Western Riverside Waste Authority. It has awarded Cory a 30-year contract worth £700 million.

The plant already has a clean bill of health from the Environment Agency and a licence from the Port of London Authority to use the river. Work on site is likely to start in about six months.

John Boldon, Cory's Group Planning and Communications Director, welcomed the news: " We must now turn our attention to working closely with the local communities through the Riverside Community Forum. We have kept local people and groups involved all along the way. Now we need to work even more closely. This will include making sure local job opportunities are realised.

"This is also good for London as a whole. While Cory has a 100 year history of managing the capital's waste, this marks a new era and is tangible proof of our commitment to recycle and recover waste."

Malcolm Ward, Cory's Chief Executive added: "We are delighted to have been given the green light. The decision is a clear endorsement that strictly controlled incineration with energy recovery has a major role to play in waste management. This will make a major contribution to helping London meet the European landfill diversion tragets. This will save millions of pounds in fines which would then have been levied on London Council tax payers."