Not wasting any time on plant

Artist's impression of the new waste processing plant at Millerhill
Artist's impression of the new waste processing plant at Millerhill

The contract to build a state-of-the-art energy-from-waste plant at Millerhill was signed last week, marking a milestone in the project.

Environment leaders from the City of Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils joined environmental services company FCC Medio Ambiente SA to finalise the 25-year contract to build and operate the £144 million facility which will serve Edinburgh and Midlothian.

In December 2014 FCC was named as preferred bidder by the partnership ‘Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian’ to design, construct, finance and operate the plant. This will be fuelled by waste collected by both councils that would otherwise go to landfill.

The councils have been supported throughout the procurement by Scottish Futures Trust, a Scottish Government-appointed body.

Construction is set to begin imminently, with the plant expected to open in 2018.

Councillor Jim Bryant, the cabinet member for economic development at Midlothian Council, welcomed this latest step towards the project becoming a reality.

He said: “This is another exciting milestone in an innovative project that will turn a derelict, brownfield site into an energy production centre.

“This represents another sizeable infrastructure investment in the Shawfair area.

“In addition to increasing recycling rates, the plant will produce electricity for the National Grid.”

The contract to process up to 135,000 tonnes of mixed waste annually will provide a long-term solution for the recovery of value from the landfill waste collected in Edinburgh and Midlothian.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, environment convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The procurement of this project is an example of successful partnership working between the two councils, and will benefit both Edinburgh and Midlothian’s zero waste strategies over the coming years.”

It is hoped that the project to treat both food and landfill waste on the site, creating renewable energy in the process, will help both authorities contribute to the national recycling target of 70 per cent by 2025 and the national landfill diversion target of 95 cent by 2025. A food waste treatment plant, which takes all of the food waste collected by the partner councils, is currently in operation on the Zero Waste Parc next to the Millerhill Marshalling Yard in Midlothian.