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What is BDR?

BDR is a partnership of Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham Councils set up two decades ago to jointly manage waste generated in the three boroughs, where it is beneficial to do so.

Why work together on this?

The three councils are neighbours with similar populations and can help each other. Working together is a more efficient way to use resources for services and facilities which cross local authority boundaries. It makes the most of economies of scale, reduces the need for transport and therefore the impact on the environment, and provides best value for the tax payer.

In some cases the three councils are also able to work with Sheffield City Council for example in the development of the South Yorkshire Waste Strategy.  By working together the four councils are able to form a collective direction for waste management in South Yorkshire

Does the BDR Waste Treatment Facility mean recycling is not so important?

Definitely NOT, recycling is more important than ever. Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham councils are committed to increase recycling rates. In 2001, recycling rates across the three authorities were around 3%. Vigorous campaigning by the three councils and a good response from local people mean this figure is now more than 40%.  However, the three councils aim to exceed 50% with the help of local people, continued service promotion and the BDR Waste Treatment Facility.

Who will deal with the leftover waste?

3SE, a consortium of Renewi (formerly Shanks) and Scottish and Southern Energy plc, will operate the BDR Waste Treatment Facility for 25 years starting in 2015.

How will they do this?

3SE are using three sites – Bolton Road at Manvers in Rotherham, Grange Lane transfer station in Barnsley and Ferrybridge Power Station in West Yorkshire.

At Bolton Road, mechanical biological treatment (MBT) technology is used to process black or grey bin waste. This produces a solid recovered fuel. There is also an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant producing sustainable energy and a bio-compost.

The solid recovered fuel is then transported to a multi-fuel plant next to the existing coal-fired power station at Ferrybridge, where it is used to generate electricity.

Barnsley’s Grange Lane transfer station is used to bulk up waste, and there are plans for a shredding operation to be installed.

What is Mechanical Biological Treatment?

Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) is a method of treating mixed household waste as well as commercial and industrial waste. In the biological part of the process the waste is shredded and moved by crane on to a special bio-drying floor which lets air pass through it so any biodegradable materials rot faster. As the waste breaks down it generates heat which is used to dry the waste, making it easier to process. The mechanical part of the process involves removing materials that can be used or recycled. This includes metals, glass, plastics, and stone or grit. These have value as a resource and are of limited or no use as fuel.

Does it burn waste?

The MBT process does not involve burning waste at the Bolton Road site. At the end of the process a dried fuel is produced which is taken to Ferrybridge and burned in a multi-fuel plant, producing enough energy to power 160,000 homes.

What is Anaerobic Digestion?

Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is a series of processes in which micro-organisms break down biodegradable material – in a similar way to composting – in the absence of oxygen. It takes place in a warm, sealed, airless container. AD is a renewable energy source as it produces bio-gas which can be used to generate heat and electricity and the material left over can be used as a soil nutrient to help restore land.

How long will the waste be in the building?

The drying process takes between 12-15 days. The waste reduces in volume by over one quarter and is then sorted and recyclable materials removed. The smallest waste, called ‘fines’, are then transferred to the AD building where it is fermented for four weeks. This produces methane gas which will be used to generate electricity to supply the Bolton Road site, with any surplus being sold to the National Grid.

Does the facility operate 24 hours a day?

Parts of the plant – the biodrying fans, biofilters and dust extraction system – may be in operation 24 hours a day but there are restrictions on vehicle movements. Vehicles will arrive and leave between set hours. The majority of movements are expected to be within normal working hours, 0600-1900 Monday to Friday. A much smaller number of vehicle movements will take place at weekends between 0600-16.30.

How safe are the technologies?

Very safe. They are subject to the most stringent regulations and highest industry monitoring standards, with overall benefits to the environment.

How is the health of local residents safeguarded?

The facility has been designed to the stringent standards currently in operation and set by the World Health Organisation. The design and operating regime of the facility was scrutinised by the Environment Agency before an Environmental Permit was issued to the operator. The plant is monitored continuously by the operator, the three councils and the Environment Agency throughout its life.

What is an environmental permit?

An environmental permit is a document issued by a regulating body which sets out the conditions which the operator of a facility must follow to ensure prevention of harm to the environment or human health.

Why does the Bolton Road facility require an environmental permit?

The Bolton Road facility processes waste and for this reason requires an environmental permit.

What safeguards will there be about emissions, dust or smells?

The facility operates to the very highest standards set by the Environment Agency and is continuously monitored by the agency, the three councils and the contractor. Strict regulations ensure that emissions do not have an impact on people or the environment. All waste is handled inside the facility. Any dust that is generated inside the facility is drawn through its air cleaning system, so it won’t be released outside. The facility is fully enclosed, so activities such as the unloading of waste take place inside. Silencers and acoustic shields have also been fitted and are used in a range of ways to keep noise to a minimum. All lights are shielded to ensure light is directed where it is needed and it does not create a glow in the night sky.

How is the presence of flies minimised?

The facility is enclosed and doors are fast closing. Waste is processed as soon as possible after it is received. Pesticides suitable for fly control are used as required in the waste reception area, especially in fly season between the months of April and October. Fly numbers are also recorded. Good housekeeping methods are used to reduce the chance of flies breeding on site and all cleaning activities are recorded in line with site procedures. Shanks also implement a programme of fly monitoring around the site to ensure that they are being adequately controlled.

When did it open?

Construction work on access to the site began in Autumn 2012, with building of the facility itself beginning in the spring of 2013. The first waste was received into the site in February 2015 and the facility reached full service on 3rd July 2015.

How many jobs have been created?

The BDR Waste Treatment Facility employs over 40 staff in a range of roles including administrative, engineering and semi-skilled operatives and a further four staff are employed at the Grange Lane Transfer Station.  Over 90% of staff have been recruited from across South Yorkshire.

What kind of waste is dealt with at the site?

It is leftover household waste – in other words the waste we put in our black or grey bins – as well as a very small amount (about five per cent) of office and shop waste. It is NOT toxic, medical or agricultural waste.

What impact do lorry movements have on the area?

Up to 150 vehicles go in and out of the plant each day (a total of up to 300 movements). This represents a tiny fraction of overall vehicle movements in the area. Care is taken to ensure that as few of these as possible are routed through populated areas. There is a traffic management plan as part of the contract which requires that the contractor minimises environmental impacts due to vehicles, as well as adhering to planning conditions.

What is a waste transfer station?

3SE operate Barnsley Council’s Grange Lane transfer station. Refuse collection vehicles from Barnsley deposit their loads there, where it is held in bulk before it goes to the MBT plant in larger vehicles. This considerably reduces the number of journeys and impact on the environment.