DHL seeks permission to burn hundreds of tonnes of waste in Colnbrook

Local employer DHL wants permission to start burning hundreds of tonnes of waste at its site in Colnbrook, adjacent to Grundon’s existing super-incinerator.

DHLs facility in the shadow of Grundon's incinerator

DHLs facility in the shadow of Grundon’s incinerator

DHL wants to build a new waste processing facility to support its expanding airline catering operation in Colnbrook.

The new facility would allow DHL to process waste generated from its in-flight catering offering on site.

DHL’s Flight Assembly Centre in Colnbrook’s Lakeside Industrial Estate became fully operational in 2010 following a £1.5bn ten-year deal with British Airways. DHL predicted at the time that the expansion would create up to 600 jobs preparing in-flight meals.

Recent expansion means the company expects to generate a further 5 tonnes per day of additional waste, including both uncontaminated waste and “CAT 1” long haul waste from planes.

The new waste processing facility would process over 5000 tonnes of waste, linked to its existing centre by a “corridor link”.

It anticipates around 550 tonnes of food waste would be burned at its facility in Colnbrook every year after a drying process that would reduce the volume and weight of the waste.

DHL hopes to build a small Energy from Waste solution and points to the precedent of Grundon’s Energy from Waste (EfW) facility already at Lakeside. Grundon’s facility includes a Clinical Waste Incinerator and Materials Recovery Facility which, as DHL points out, dominates the surrounding area.

The company proposes to install an approved biomass combustion system that will run 365 days a year.

The Boiler manufacturers have completed the combustion testing on a sample from the Colnbrook operation and, according to DHL, early engagement with DEFRA suggests the system meets the emissions criteria for regulatory approval:

… although not conclusive as they are “in-house” test results, they look positive …

However, it admits that one of its tests – completed without “an additional ceramic exhaust gas filter” – was unsatisfactory. On commissioning it says the boiler would be set up to meet the limits as required by the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme which pays companies that generate and use renewable energy to heat their buildings.

Despite the concern about existing emissions in the Air Quality Management Zone the company sees no need for community engagement:

Given the existing use of the site, the ancillary nature of the proposed development and the lack of any surrounding residential properties, no community engagement has taken place. This is in accordance with the Council’s Statement of Community Engagement and the guideline set out within the NPPF.

However, this appears to contradict the advice given by SBC in its “Statement of Community Involvement” which encourages applicants to discuss their proposals informally with their neighbours before submitting their formal application.

The application, number P/10864/006, was lodged in July and could be decided as early as September’s Planning Committee meeting on September 4.

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