After two years of planning, a newly built £100m waste recycling plant is almost ready to accept its first bagfuls of Wakefield’s rubbish.
Among vast warehouses on land that was once South Kirkby Colliery, 95 per cent of the district’s rubbish will be diverted from landfill, sorted by futuristic laser-guided machines, then recycled, transformed into fuel at nearby Ferrybridge Power Station or converted into gas on site to power the waste plant itself by rather less technical means - bugs, which feast on treated waste and produce methane.
Wakefield Council signed a 25-year deal with Shanks Waste Management in 2013 to help overhaul the way waste from the district is dealt with.
The investment alone is worth around £100m and the PFI contract as a whole is worth £750m.
It is the only site in the country to deal with both the rubbish and recycling from an entire local authority - which in Wakefield’s case, includes 152,000 households.
Peter Eglinton, managing director of Shanks said: “My guys are passionate about dealing with waste and they are desperate to get their hands on waste and start getting it through the machinery.”
Next month, it will start to receive its first truck loads of rubbish and recycling, and by September will be servicing the entire authority’s waste.
Julie Greenwood, the strategic waste policy manager for Wakefield Council said: “This is allowing the council to modernise local government services, to make that move for the future generations of Wakefield.
“This project won’t just revolutionise how we collect waste, but what we do with it.”