It’s widely known that at least 750 homes will be demolished if Heathrow’s third runway goes ahead, but perhaps lesser known is the fate of the incinerator lying in its path.
Lakeside Energy from Waste (EfW), a joint venture between Grundon Waste Management and Viridor, processes non-recyclable waste from more than 12 local authorities including Kingston, Croydon, Merton, Sutton and Richmond.
The EfW facility produces 37MW of low carbon energy, which is enough to provide power for around 56,000 homes, a town roughly the size of Slough.
It will be demolished if the runway goes ahead.
Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith said: “The incinerator will have to be moved if the third runway goes ahead and the cost will be many hundreds of millions of pounds.
“No one will want it in their backyard so the planning process will be complex and lengthy, and in the absence of a replacement, local authorities will be forking out around £50m a year in extra landfill taxes.
“This is yet another huge and unplanned cost associated with Heathrow expansion, a project that is already deeply uneconomic and anticompetitive.”
Heathrow, which said it is “working closely” with the Lakeside plant, has promised to relocate it but has failed to make any commitment to when, how or where.
On February 5, before a transport committee, Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye admitted the issue needed to be dealt with “sooner rather than later”. but gave no further information.
Robert Barnstone, of campaign group No 3rd Runway Coalition, said the estimated cost of relocation is £500million or more than £700million should the plant be forced to close.
He said: “Efforts to find an alternative site have so far not had any success.
“If Heathrow does expand then an application for a new site for the plant, if found, must be made this year in order to meet the timetable by when the airport would require the land that Lakeside currently resides on.
“If the plant closes or its relocation is delayed this will result in an additional 450,000 tonnes of waste being handled by the already creaking waste management network in West London and the surrounding areas.
“The likelihood is that this waste will head to landfill or will need to be exported at huge environmental and financial cost.
“It is also estimated that any delay in providing an alternative site for relocation will result in a significant financial burden being placed on those local authorities that rely on Lakeside estimated to be approximately £50million per annum.”
Lakeside director Richard Skehens said removing the facility and offering no replacement would have a “significant and detrimental economic, environmental and social impact” on the local area and entire region.
Huge cost to many local authorities if Heathrow does not relocate Lakeside waste incinerator
The proposed Heathrow 3rd runway would require the demolition of the Lakeside waste incinerator. Heathrow has made no effort so far to ensure this is relocated. If there is a period without an incinerator, local authorities would have to spend many millions of £s on landfill tax (£86.10 per tonne) to dispose of waste that the Lakeside plant would have dealt with. In their submission to the Transport Committee, Grundon and Viridor say: “The revised draft NPS fails to address the planning policy vacuum that businesses like Lakeside face in trying to relocate in advance of Heathrow securing consent.This vacuum needs to be filled for the benefit of all of those businesses threatened by the new runway … the draft NPS still fails to provide any explicit support for the relocation of the Lakeside EfW or the associated complex. Indeed, if the Lakeside EfW and the waste complex as a whole were not replaced, given the lack of acceptable alternatives, the direct consequences would be disruptive and financially harmful to the local authorities that rely upon the services provided. … the revised NPS should state: The Government recognises the role of the Lakeside Energy from Waste plant in local waste management plans. The applicant should make all reasonable endeavours to replace the Lakeside Energy from Waste plant.”
Lakeside incinerator plant would need to move, at Heathrow’s expense, if runway is built
Grundon and Viridor’s Colnbrook incinerator at Lakeside Road would have to be demolished for a Heathrow north west runway. This, as well as local roads and the M25, are significant obstacles to the runway plan. The issue of how much Heathrow will pay for this is being negotiated. Early in 2015, Heathrow was reported to have struck a deal with Grundon and Slough Borough Council to overcome the risk to delivery of a runway, agreeing that the incinerator would be moved a short distance away, onto (Green Belt) land already owned by Grundon. It is not clear this is correct. Heathrow said it was preparing a “joint feasibility study”. Heathrow said in 2015 that “NATS have given an initial opinion that the site is suitable for accommodating the height of flue stack required (75m).” Three of the four lakes at Colnbrook Lakeside are now set to be lost, due to the runway. In order that the incinerator remains open all the time, with no gap, building would need to start at least 3 years before being operational. But the runway might never get the go ahead … It is reported that discussions are taking place on payment of the multi-million costs of relocation. Adam Afriyie revealed in Parliament in 2015 that the government would not be paying. Robert Goodwill said it would be “a matter for the airport to take forward with the owners of the site.”