A RECYCLING plant will be built near Chester to convert 100,000 tonnes of waste oils and fats into biodiesel fuel.
Plans for the facility on the site of the Stanlow oil refinery were unanimously backed by members of Cheshire West and Chester Council's strategic planning committee.
It will be run by Argent Energy, which has operated a facility in Scotland since 2005, and will see eight tanker-loads of waste water arrive at the site every hour, six days a week.
No objections were received from local councils, residents or organisations, and environmental agencies registered no cause for concern.
The move will create about 100 full-time jobs plus about 100 during construction, and could be worth up to £9 million a year to the local economy.
A report to the council states: “The development process takes waste oils from waste water treatment works and other sources, cleans them and ultimately processes them in to a refined product, which can be made into biodiesel.
“The pre-treatment facility would take about 101,360 to116,051 tonnes per year of waste oils to produce the refined 75,000 tonnes per year of finished product.
“The processing plant is designed, in particular, to handle wastes from waste water treatment works, with waste arriving in tankers and unloaded via tallow pumps, or unloaded from HGVs into receiving tank pits.”
The pre-treatment plant will be enclosed in a building measuring about 50m by 100m, and there will be two 30m high stacks.
The report states the development is in line with government policy and the Waste Management Plan for England.
It states: “The Government supports efficient energy recovery from residual waste – of materials which cannot be reused or recycled – to deliver environmental benefits, reduce carbon impact and provide economic opportunities. Our Government’s aim is to get the most energy out of waste, not to get the most waste into energy recovery.”
It also adds that production of bio-diesel is beneficial as it is “contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment, and, as part of this, helping to improve biodiversity, use natural resources prudently, minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon economy.”
The Health and Safety Executive did not advise against the granting of planning permission and the Environment and Highways agencies had no concerns. Essar, which owns the site, had no comment to make on Argent Energy’s application.
The plant will operate Monday to Friday between 7am and 6pm, and between 7am and 1pm on Saturdays.
Jim Walker, managing director of Argent Energy, said: “We’re delighted the application was approved. This is the logical extension of our business and we hope to start construction work in October or November. There will be a 15 to 18 month build time.
“We’ll be producing 75,000 tonnes of bio-diesel a year from things like cooking oil recovered from food waste and the sewers. This is residue and waste that has little or no use in other industries that we are recycling and taking the pressure off landfill.”