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Veolia Environmental Services has officially opened a 26 MW waste to energy facility that will process around 300,000 tonnes of residual waste each year in Staffordshire, UK.

The facility has been developed as a part of Staffordshire County Council’s target of sending zero waste to landfill, while maximising recycling.

According to the company – a part of Veolia Environnement (Paris Euronext: VIE and NYSE: VE) – the facility will save Staffordshire taxpayers £250 million over the next 25 years.

The plant was officially opened by HRH the Duke of Gloucester, and represents the biggest PFI contract in Staffordshire County Council’s history.

Veolia explained that the facility has been built with the latest technologies and developed b in partnership with CNIM Clugston, a partnership between UK construction firm Clugston and French waste to energy equipment manufacturer, CNIM.

“The development of the new plant is all part of the ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ strategy, which is tackling head on the growing problem of domestic waste,” commented Estelle Brachlianoff, executive vice president for Veolia in the UK and Ireland.

“We are dedicated to maximising recycling first, and then recovering energy from the leftover residual waste,” she continued.

Brachlianoff added that new infrastructure such as the Four Ashes waste to energy facility is vital if the UK is to meetlandfill diversion targets and reduce carbon emissions.

“It can also bring significant economic benefits and by working closely with Staffordshire County Council we are helping stimulate economic growth and improve environmental performance,” she concluded.

Staffordshire County Council leader, Philip Atkins added: “In addition to the facility generating energy for the grid, we are also looking to use heat created for nearby business sites.”

Atkins also noted that in developing the facility 85% of the construction workforce came from Staffordshire while 95% of equipment used was procured from the county.

“Throughout development we have worked with the community alongside our partners Veolia and will continue to do so,” said Atkins.

“An education centre on site will be open to schools from Staffordshire and the surrounding areas – helping young people understand why it is important to recycle and that energy is a finite resource,” he continued.

Veolia added that the facility will generate enough power for 35,000 homes and has created 40 new jobs.

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