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£800million waste treatment plant is taking shape
4:00pm Wednesday 1st January 2014 in Echo News
A NEW £800million waste treatment plant in Basildon’s Courtauld Road is fast taking shape.
A huge metal skeleton structure is towering over Basildon as more than 5,000 tonnes of marine-standard steel have been ferried in to create what will be one of the largest waste plants in Europe.
Some 200 workers are thought to be on the site to make sure the new facility is ready in time for the first rubbish delivery, scheduled for July 2014.
Six thousand concrete piles have been driven deep into the ground to create a solid foundation for the massive structure since Urbaser Balfour Beatty first officially started work in July.
A new roundabout is also being installed in Courtauld Road.
The plant will deal with more than 400,000 tonnes of black bag rubbish, recovering any recyclables before a massive anaerobic digester rots the rest of the waste into compost, reducing its impact on the environment.
Plans for the new waste plant first emerged in 1998, but have only been realised 15 years later after facing fierce opposition from residents and environmental campaigners.
More than 5,000 people signed a petition objecting to the plan over fears it would reduce property values, cause unpleasant smells and attract heavy duty traffic.
Despite this, the development won planning permission from Essex County Council last year.
However, preparatory work for the controversial facility has been going on for several years.
Many protected species, including reptiles and great crested newts, also had to be moved to a new habitat, just north of the A127.
Councillor Sandra Hillier, who chairs the community liaison group for the project, said: “We worked very hard to stop this being built, but now it is there, we have to work with it and do the best we can for the community.
“As I understand it, there are about 80 employed staff who are from the Basildon area and several apprentices have been employed, one of whom has been given a permanent position.
“Hopefully, there will also be a trust set up like the one we have for Veolia to give money back to local community groups, so there will be benefits for the local area.”
The first residual waste is due to arrive at the site in July 2014, signifying the start of a 12- month period to trial the facility and ensure the system will be able to operate at the required capacity.
It is hoped the facility will be fully up and running to capacity in summer 2015.
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