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FAQ

Air Quality

How will Wheelabrator protect local air quality?

Robust air quality standards are set by the UK Government based on medical information and to protect public health and the environment. Wheelabrator Harewood will therefore be designed to ensure air quality in local communities is maintained. We will need an environmental permit from the Environment Agency in order to operate our facility. Air quality is then monitored continuously to ensure it is compliant at all times with the requirements of the permit. More detail on our measures to protect air quality will be presented in our Environmental Statement.

What emissions will there be and how will they be controlled?

The emissions will comprise a mixture of steam, gases and particulates. The level of each will be determined and presented in the Environmental Statement. The Environmental Statement will also detail the controls that will be installed to ensure compliance with the limits set to protect health and the environment as well as meeting national air quality targets. The controls and limits will be discussed and agreed with the Environment Agency. 

What safety measures are designed in to your facility to ensure air quality protection, even when there’s an equipment failure?

The facility has been designed for safe operation under all conditions. There will be a network of sensors within the facility that provide continuous feedback on facility operation and performance. This system includes a number of interrelated controls which can adjust the system to ensure optimum operations at all times – even in the result of specific parts of equipment failure. Operations will be overseen 24 hours a day by trained control room technicians, who will monitor all aspects of plant performance. A scenarios management plan will be in place and this system will be reviewed and maintained.

Will Wheelabrator monitor air quality itself and how will communities know this information is reliable?

Air quality monitoring systems will be regularly checked and calibrated by an independent, accredited body. Similarly, periodic manual testing would also be undertaken by independent, accredited, specialist service providers. While we will commission these specialists, they will work in an objective and independent manner. This is consistent with professional practice for the industry and in accordance with the requirements of the accreditation held by these service providers.

Will air quality monitoring results be made available to the public?

Yes. Waste-to-energy operators are required to submit air quality monitoring data to the Environment Agency under the requirements of the environmental permit. This data then becomes matter of public record.

Who regulates waste-to-energy facilities in the UK?

Waste-to-energy facilities are regulated by the Environment Agency. We will apply to the Environment Agency for an environmental permit. This is a separate process to the DCO application. The Environment Agency is responsible for determining whether the proposed facility will be operated safely. If a permit is granted, the Environment Agency then becomes the regulator and scrutinises monitoring data. It can visit the site on an ad hoc basis, assess compliance and has the powers to cease our operations if it feels it appropriate to do so.

DCO Process

What is the DCO process?

You can find more information about the National Infrastructure (or DCO) planning process on the Planning Inspectorate's website: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/application-process/the-process/

What stage of the DCO process is Wheelabrator Harewood at?

We are currently at the pre-application stage of the DCO process. The first stage of consultation is informal consultation that is not required by the Planning Act 2008. However, it was carried out to provide the local community with an early opportunity to consider and comment on our initial proposals for the site. The second stage of consultation will be formal (or statutory) consultation that must be undertaken in accordance with the Planning Act 2008 before the application for development consent can be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate (acting on behalf of the Secretary of State). We currently expect this second stage to take place in the autumn. We expect the application will be submitted towards the end of 2019.

What are your next steps for consultation?

We will review all feedback received from our recent non-statutory consultation and continue to develop our proposals further. A second stage of consultation will be held later this year and advertised in advance, before a formal application is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. We currently expect to submit the application towards the end of 2019.

What opportunities will there be to comment on the proposals?

Following our recent non-statutory consultation, there will be a number of other opportunities to comment and be involved in the process, these include:

  • During the Stage Two consultation – we expect to hold this in the autumn.
  • If the application is ‘accepted’ for examination by the Planning Inspectorate, people can register as an interested party through the submission of a relevant representation.
  • During the examination, including at the hearings.

How do I submit comments to the Planning Inspectorate?

After we submit our application (currently expected towards the end of 2019), there will be an opportunity for you to provide feedback directly to the Planning Inspectorate. You can find out more about the process on the Planning Inspectorate's website: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-east/wheelabrator-harewood-waste-to-energy-facility/

What local and national stakeholders will be consulted?

The exact list of statutory consultees for a project is determined on a case-by-case basis and this will be determined in advance of the next consultation in the autumn. You can find a list of prescribed consultees here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009/2264/pdfs/uksi_20092264_en.pdf

Why has the capacity been set at 51MW, is it because that's the point at which a project is defined as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project?

We expect to generate between 51MW and 65MW (gross). This is based on a number of variables that will be determined as we progress to more detailed engineering. The 51MW (gross) figure we used during consultation is the minimum we expect to generate and was used as the baseline for our proposal.

Why is there a disparity between 51MW on the exhibition materials and 65MW in the Scoping Report?

51MW is the minimum expected amount of energy we intend to generate. The maximum we will be able to generate will be up to 65MW. 51MW was used in the exhibition materials in order not to overstate the benefits of the proposal.

Why did you not hold an event on a weekend?

The non-statutory consultation (14 February - 22 March 2019) was our first consultation, where we held two 'drop in' sessions in Barton Stacey and Longparish.  We will be holding further consultation events later this year, one of which will be held on a Saturday and / or until later into the evening.

Ecology

Will local soils and rivers be protected adequately once the facility is operational?

Yes. The air quality assessment will consider the dispersion of emissions and assess these against limits set for the protection of human health and the environment. We will also prepare a human health risk assessment that will be checked by technical specialists at the Environment Agency and at Public Health England who will review the robustness of the methods and conclusions.

How will sensitive local ecology be protected?

Our Environmental Impact Assessment will consider the potential for impacts on key local ecology, taking into consideration current background levels for emissions and the measures put in place for the protection of habitats. If any unacceptable impacts are considered likely by the assessment, additional mitigation would be proposed to reduce those impacts to acceptable levels.

How will nearby SSSIs be protected?

SSSIs within 2km of the facility are assessed as part of the detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The scope of these assessments will be agreed with Natural England. The outputs of these assessments will be shared with the relevant consultees to ensure that any potential impacts are correctly mitigated.

Landscape & Visual

Will there be smoke coming out of the stack?

No – but a plume will be visible under certain weather conditions. This plume is a result of water vapour coming from the stack. It will not always be visible and its likely frequency will be considered in the air quality assessment. Similarly, its visibility will be assessed within the landscape and visual assessment in the Environmental Statement.

How bright will the lights be at night and will it impact the dark sky?

Lighting will be considered within the Environmental Statement and form part of the detailed design of the project. The approach will be discussed with Test Valley Borough Council and Hampshire County Council.

How big will the proposed facility be?

We expect the tallest part of the building to be up to 55m high. The two stacks will be between 90m-100m tall.

What can be done to reduce the scale?

The height of the building from ground level will be largely determined by the technology within it. We will be working on our design prior to submission of our application and will mitigate the visual impact, where possible, including the height of the building.

Are there lights on top of the buildings and will they be on at night?

At this stage, lights on top of the building are not confirmed. This will be determined in consultation with the MoD and the Civil Aviation Authority, and if necessary included in the design for consideration in the landscape and visual impact assessment.

Will it be seen from the AONB?

Our initial landscape and visual impact assessment suggest that it will be visible from parts of the AONB. We'll be working closely with officers from the AONB to make sure that the facility has as little effect on viewpoints from the AONB as possible. The Environmental Statement will consider this topic further. 

Noise & Odour

Will the facility smell?

No. Odour control at waste-to-energy facilities is well developed and consists of both design and operational measures. For example, the waste is delivered in enclosed lorries and the entire management process is then completed entirely within the buildings themselves. The tipping hall and waste bunker remain under negative pressure, so these areas actually draw air into the building when the doors open. In addition, the doors themselves open and close quickly when deliveries arrive and lorries leave, further strengthening the measures in place to ensure any odour stays inside the building.

Will the facility be noisy?

There are well defined noise limits for the protection of local residents that the facility will need to adhere to. Detailed modelling will be carried out to verify that these noise levels are achievable and to put in place mitigation measures to meet these.

What will you do to make sure the facility doesn't attract pests and vermin?

Effective pest management and control is a function of both the design and operation of waste-to-energy facilities.

In terms of the operation of the facility, a pest management plan will be put in place, as required by the Environment Agency, as part of the environmental permit. This pest management plan will include measures such as the timely processing of waste, regular site inspections and good housekeeping measures, and the retention of a nominated contractor to provide monitoring and pest control services in the event that they are required.

Typically, pests are not an area of concern with well run and modern waste-to-energy facilities.

Site

Why was this site chosen?

This site offers existing waste use on site that is complementary to our own, it has excellent transport links to the strategic highway network, and is central to the waste management need that has been identified in the region.

What other sites did Wheelabrator consider?

We're continually assessing development opportunities. The A303 Enviropark site was subjected to a high level comparative assessment against allocated sites within the region.

Why is the facility not being proposed closer to a city where there is more waste produced?

The site is well located close to local trunk roads along which much of the waste is already travelling on its way out of the county for landfilling or treatment. The site is therefore well located to accept waste both from within Hampshire and from the wider region using these roads.

Can you not just expand one of your other facilities?

No, the proposed facility is designed to serve the waste treatment capacity requirements of this region in which there is currently limited capacity for diverting non-recyclable waste from landfill or export. Our other facilities serve different waste catchment areas. 

There is no heat off-taker, so why build the facility here?

We're looking to identify possible activities nearby that could benefit from heat generated by the facility. However, the viability of the facility is not dependent on this. 

Transport & Traffic

How many lorries a day will there be?

Our transport assessment is still to be carried out but the current assumptions are that we will receive around 140 waste delivery vehicles per day, five consumables deliveries per day and 40 staff will access the site per day. There will also be removal of fly ash in five tankers per day. Bottom ash is assumed to be sent next door for recycling, however as a prudent step in our assessment we have included 22 lorries per day to remove ash from site.

What will the emission levels be from 140 trucks? What effect will that have on local health?

Emissions from transport will be considered by the environmental impact assessment process and the combined impacts of emissions from road traffic and emissions from the facility will be presented in the Environmental Statement. There are rigorous standards set for the protection of human health that the development will need to abide by and will be assessed against.

What are the delivery hours?

Our thinking is developing around this. Whilst it is typical to accept deliveries during a 12-hour window of approximately 7am to 7pm, we will be applying for 24 hour deliveries to ensure an optimised delivery profile. This may help alleviate pressure on the roads during the day time. We would welcome feedback on this.

How will you stop deliveries coming through the villages?

Whist Wheelabrator will not be the haulage contractor, our site rules will impose strict conditions upon drivers travelling to and from site. For example we have the ability to specify routes.

In the event of an incident on the A303/A34, how will you prevent lorries driving through the villages?

A management plan will be put in place by Wheelabrator to set the protocol for deliveries in the event part of the A303 is closed. This may include holding vehicles on site until the issue is cleared and instructing deliveries already en-route to stay on their current route and not use local villages such as Barton Stacey, Longparish or Whitchurch. While we can’t control mandatory road diversions that are put in place by the emergency services in the event of a major accident, we can work with our contracted fuel suppliers to ensure there are contingency arrangements in place.

How will bottom ash be transported between the Wheelabrator and Raymond Brown sites?

Bottom ash will be transported the short distance using a dedicated vehicle designed to run between the sites. This vehicle will not need to leave the site to perform this function.

People say the A303 and A34 are operating close to capacity. They are often congested, especially during the summer. How will you ensure that Wheelabrator Harewood won't add to the congestion?

The capacity of the strategic road network and ability to accommodate the development proposals will be considered as part of the Transport Assessment and reported as part of the application for development consent. The Transport Assessment process will be subject to scrutiny by Hampshire County Council as the highway authority and Highways England, which operates and maintains the A303 and A34.

The slip roads to and from the A303 are short and will be difficult for HGVs, will you upgrade the junction?

HGVs already use these slip roads daily for other activities. Nevertheless, the use of the slip roads by HGVs will be assessed as part of the Transport Assessment, which will consider capacity and safety of road users in consultation with Highways England and Hampshire County Council (Highway Authority). The assessment will determine if any offsite upgrades are required and, if required, the form of these changes would be agreed with Highways England and Hampshire County Council.  

Waste

Hampshire's waste is already being treated by the three existing waste-to-energy facilities in the county. Is there a need for additional waste treatment capacity in the county?

Yes. Municipal waste from Hampshire is being treated by Project Integra – three waste-to-energy facilities within Hampshire. There is, however, a significant volume of commercial waste from Hampshire that is being landfilled both within or outside the county or is being moved out of the county for additional treatment or final disposal. Some is exported to Europe. Our facility will treat this waste, as well as similar waste - and potentially municipal waste - from nearby counties.

Where will the waste come from?

Waste will come from the local region, including Hampshire. In reality, waste companies will want to deal with waste as close to its source as possible, to cut down on transport costs. Hampshire currently has very little landfill capacity, and as such is treating and landfilling commercial waste out of county as well as landfilling a proportion within the county. It is this material, along with similar additional material from the surrounding region that will be treated at Wheelabrator Harewood.

Will you be importing waste from overseas?

No. An average of three million tonnes of waste is exported each year to Europe due to a lack of domestic waste management infrastructure.

Exactly how much of the waste will come from Hampshire and how much from outside?

There is a significant volume of suitable commercial and industrial waste generated in Hampshire that continues to be landfilled, predominantly outside of the county. Additionally waste from Hampshire is being treated to create a fuel that is then exported to waste-to-energy facilities on the continent. At this early stage we are not able to state precise sources of waste, however we have a high level of comfort that a reasonable proportion will come from Hampshire.

What wastes will you accept?

We would apply to take municipal waste and non-hazardous Commercial and Industrial waste; waste from business premises. This is a general term, but the exact wastes that can be accepted will be specified in an Environmental Permit issued by the Environment Agency and will be specified against European Waste Catalogue (EWC) codes. While the permit is likely to allow a reasonably wide range of suitable non-hazardous wastes, the vast majority of the waste we accept is most likely to fall within three EWC codes, namely:

20 03 01 – Mixed Municipal Waste

19 12 10 – Combustible Waste (Refuse Derived Fuel)

19 12 12 – Other wastes (including mixtures of materials) from the mechanical treatment of waste

 

Will the waste be checked to make sure it doesn't contain anything it shouldn't?

In the UK, those involved in the production, control, storage, transport or treatment of waste are bound by a Duty of Care as set out in the Environmental Protection Act. As such, waste is well controlled and documented.

At Wheelabrator Harewood, only waste that complies with the environmental permit will be accepted. In the event that non-compliant waste is identified, it will be removed from site for safe disposal/treatment.

In addition, we will conduct spot checks on those supplying us with waste to audit and inspect both their operations and the nature of their waste. 

Why can’t money be spent on improving recycling rates in Hants instead?

This is a matter for Hampshire County Council. It is worth noting that we will not be targeting the municipal waste in Hampshire, and as such will have no direct impact on municipal recycling rates in the county.

Will there be plastic in the waste?

There will be an element of plastic in the waste stream. This represents those types of plastic that cannot yet be easily recycled, as well as plastic that remains after businesses or householders have separated their waste.

Plastics that have been collected for, and are suitable for, recycling cannot be accepted by Wheelabrator Harewood under the standard conditions of an environmental permit. 

If we are moving to a circular economy, how can you be sure there will be enough waste for the lifetime of the facility?

Wheelabrator supports the transition towards a circular economy. We also acknowledge that within a circular economy there will be materials that have reached the 'end of life' point and are only suitable for energy recovery.

We're confident there will continue to be sufficient waste available in the region and this is why we're proposing this significant level of inward investment.

Water & Aquatic Environment

How much water will be used by the facility?

The facility will use water in the process, however we operate a closed system and do not discharge process water from site – we reuse water by condensing the steam back into process water, and by collecting rainwater on site for use in the facility. An estimate of our water usage is still to be determined through detailed design and will be reported in the Environmental Statement.

Where will Wheelabrator Harewood get its water from?

We expect to connect to the water main. This will be determined through consultation with the Water Authority during the Environmental Impact Assessment process. In addition, we will also harvest rainwater for use within the process.

How will the fishing industry be affected by construction of the facility?

Dever Springs Fishery is c.800m from the site boundary and we don't expect noise from construction to be at a sufficient level to affect the behaviour of the fish. The noise and vibration assessment presented within the Environmental Statement will consider these issues, along with any mitigation measures deemed necessary.

Will the proposed facility affect the water table?

We're not intending to construct the facility below the groundwater table. As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment, a Flood Risk Assessment will be carried out to determine if mitigation is required.The ground conditions assessment will consider risk of contamination to groundwater, which is heavily managed and regulated for industrial facilities in UK.

The area has flooded in the past, how will this be mitigated?

Local data has already been gathered on water courses, groundwater, and surface water flooding to inform the EIA Scoping Report. A Flood Risk Assessment will be carried out as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment to determine if mitigation is required.

Will the coolers be water based cooling?

We expect to use air cooled condensers at the facility. Final design will be determined as part of the detailed design.

Other

Why weren't more specific details of the project presented during the non-statutory consultation events?

We wanted to inform the community of the project at the earliest opportunity, even though this meant our proposals have not yet been fully-developed. We feel that early engagement presents the maximum opportunity for the community to offer its thoughts on the development of our proposals. We'll be holding a further consultation later this year to allow another opportunity to comment on more detailed proposals.

How will the facility export the electricity?  Will there be pylons?

No. A grid connection will be developed by the District Network Operator (DNO). It will seek consent or use permitted development rights to bring the connection to our site. It is the intention of the DNO that the cable will run underground between our site and the point of connection at Andover.

Why have you only written to people within 3km of the site?

We considered the initial informal consultation to be a project announcement - providing the details of the proposal and inviting feedback on the concept. The consultation zone was designed to engage with those local communities located closest to the proposed site. Letters were sent to local residents and businesses with postal addresses within the consultation boundary but the consultation events were advertised beyond this area. We are considering revisions to the consultation zone ahead of the next stage of consultation.

Will there be a community fund and, if so, how much will it be?

Yes there will be. We have established community funds at our other facilities, in line with our aspiration to be a good neighbour. These are determined on a case-by-case basis and we welcome feedback on this subject.

Will there be opportunities for local suppliers?

Yes. Opportunities will exist for local businesses to be involved in both the construction and operation of the facility. For example, our Wheelabrator Parc Adfer facility recently announced that the project has used more than 60 local suppliers during the first part of its construction with local firms managing around £4 million of work opportunities to that point. At Parc Adfer the long-term supply chain opportunities have been valued at more than £40 million over the next 25 years.

How many other facilities do you have in the UK?

We have one operational facility in the UK at present. Three further facilities are expected to start operating later in 2019.

How will hazardous materials and fly ash be transported and stored?

Fly ash will be collected in sealed silos on site and pumped directly into tankers to be removed for disposal or treatment off site. Fly ash accounts for approximately five per cent of the overall throughput of the facility.

Why are you proposing a waste-to-energy facility, are they not an old form of energy generation?

Modern waste-to-energy facilities use advanced and sophisticated technology to recover energy from waste while protecting human health and the environment.  They also support the waste hierarchy by providing an alternative to landfill and, as seen elsewhere in Europe, they exist in countries that have high recycling rates. Waste-to-energy facilities continue to be commissioned across the world as a modern and efficient means of resource management.

Why isn't the National Grid connection part of your application?

It isn't included in our application as the distribution network operator (DNO) will deliver the grid connection and will determine the precise route and method of installation. However, the potential options for connection works will be considered as part of the cumulative effects assessment in the Environmental Impact Assessment which will be submitted with our application.  

Will there be an impact on aviation in the area and have you spoken to the MOD?

We're already in conversation with the MOD and Civil Aviation Authority, as close neighbours to the project, and we'll ensure they're fully aware of the potential impacts our project may have on their operations. As part of the planning process, they will also be statutory consultees, so we're required to ask for their feedback on our proposals as part of our consultation. 

How do we know you won’t expand this facility like you are doing at FM1 and Kemsley?

There is no intention to build a second facility at this site.

Will there be a visitor centre?

While there won't be a dedicated visitor centre at Wheelabrator Harewood, we will be equipped to host groups at the facility. We are committed to community engagement and education and, as such, we'll be happy to consider hosting any educational visits on a case-by-case basis. 

How many operational staff will there be?

During operation, we anticipate that the facility will employ approximately 50 people, full-time. 

How many construction staff will there be?

The exact number of people needed during construction will be determined when the design of the facility has been finalised.  The numbers on site at any time would then fluctuate, depending on what stage of the build we're at. We currently estimate that during peak construction there will be approximately 1,000 construction workers on site.