Planning Success for Coventry’s Materials Recycling Facility!

Coventry City Council has been looking into the technical and economic viability of developing a ~175,000 tonnes per annum Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), to process the Council (and seven partner councils) domestic and commercial collected recyclate. The facility would also provide an opportunity for the region to optimise recycling rates, enhance recyclate quality, deliver higher returns and greater landfill diversion.

Wardell Armstrong has been involved in the project from its commencement in 2017 at the feasibility stage through to our current role as Project Manager and Technical and Planning Advisor during the procurement, design, planning and delivery phase. Alongside procuring the process and civils contractors for developing the MRF, our team has also been working with the Council and stakeholders on the planning application. Due to the scale and nature of the development, a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was required, and the site (severely overgrown and disused allotments) has not been short of its challenges.

Over the last two years we have worked with the client team and community to safely remove asbestos from the site, undertake unexploded ordnance surveys, deliver a full biodiversity impact and enhancement assessment, translocate trees, take grafts for replanting fruit trees, deliver a full site investigation, design appropriate access routing, undertake a photovoltaic panel feasibility study, investigate direct wire opportunities for renewable energy from the neighbouring energy from waste plant as well as numerous surveys in relation to hydrology, ecology, landscape, heritage, noise, air quality and traffic.

Public consultation has also been undertaken alongside liaison with several local interested parties, and most of this during a global pandemic. This month, all the hard work of both our multi-disciplinary team and wider client team has paid off, with the planning application receiving approval at the January virtual Planning Committee! Cllr Patricia Hetherton, Cabinet Member for City Services says, “This is an exciting opportunity for Coventry and the development of this facility is great news for all those involved in the project. The benefits of it include job creation, improvements to the local environment and of course we hope this new facility will allow each partner involved in the project to improve their recycling performance.”

The project hopes to achieve contract award with the preferred contractors in April this year, with the facility becoming fully operational by the summer of 2023.

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