WANLIP PLANNING APPLICATION - CONTENTS:

Planning Application Forms
Non Technical Summary



1.       Introduction
         1.1    About the applicant
         1.2    Background to the Application
         1.3    Format of Application
         1.4    Environmental Impact Assessment procedures and scoping


2.       The Site and its Surroundings

3.       The Proposed Development

4.       Planning Policy Issues
         4.1   National Waste Strategy 2000
         4.2   Planning Policy Guidance note 10 (PPG 10)
         4.3   Planning Policy Guidance note 23 (PPG 23)
         4.4   Planning Policy Guidance note 22 (PPG 22)
         4.5   Strategic Planning for Sustainable Waste Management: Guidance on Option
               Development and Appraisal (October 2002)
         4.6   Regional Planning Guidance note 8 (RPG 8)
         4.7   Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Structure Plan
         4.8   Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Waste Local Plan
         4.9   Leicester City Council Household Waste Management Strategy
         4.10 Borough of Charnwood Local Plan

5.       Consideration of Alternatives

6.       Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) considerations


7.       Visual Impact
8.       Highways
9.       Odour and Bioaerosols
10.      Noise
11.      Drainage and groundwater protection
13.      Other Issues

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                           Page 1 of 27
14.      Overall Conclusions


Drawing 1 – Location Plan
Drawing 2 – Application Site Plan
Drawing 3 – Site Layout Plan
Drawing 4 – Elevations
Photograph 1- View southwards across site
Photograph 2 – View south westwards across site


A – Odour and Bioaerosols Assessment
B – Noise Assessment

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                         Page 2 of 27


1.1      About the applicant

1.1.1    Biffa Waste Services is the UK’s largest single supplier of integrated waste management
         services, including collection, treatment and disposal of a wide variety of wastes. As part of
         this service, Biffa currently operates 85 collection centres, 8 treatment plants and 38 landfill
         sites around the UK. Biffa also operates 23 local authority collection contracts, collecting
         waste from 700,000 households and recycles over 600,000 tonnes of material per year.
         The company has an annual turnover of £500 million and an environmental fund currently
         standing at over £20 million which utilises landfill tax monies and is administered through
         the Royal Society for Nature Conservation, in the form of the “Biffaward” scheme. Biffa is a
         staunch advocate of the benefits of an integrated and comprehensive approach towards
         sustainable waste management and is an active member of the Environmental Services
         Association (ESA) - the sectoral trade association for the UK’s waste and secondary
         resource management industry. Biffa is a wholly owned subsidiary of Severn Trent plc and
         has a strong history of operations in the midlands

1.2      Background to the application

1.2.1    This application is one of two planning applications which Biffa is submitting as the
         preferred bidder for the integrated waste management contract for Leicester City Council.
         The applications seek to develop essential facilities to assist in the delivery of much needed
         waste management infrastructure to help Leicester and its community move away from a
         previous heavy reliance on landfill and move towards substantially increased waste
         recycling and recovery, in line with and potentially in excess of statutory targets. The
         contract covers a 25 year period and, because the contract is for integrated waste
         management, Biffa will be responsible for all aspects of waste management, from
         household waste collection, the operation of the Community Recycling Centres, waste
         recovery and recycling and, finally, disposal of residual or non-recyclable wastes at our
         existing landfill sites. Waste will be collected from 117,000 households, with wheeled bin
         waste continuing to be collected and, from 2005, a kerbside recycling collection service
         which will collect glass as well as newspapers, magazines and plastics.           Biffa already

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                           Page 3 of 27
         successfully manages such an integrated contract on the Isle of Wight, where, as a result,
         substantially increased recycling rates of 45% have been achieved. The facilities proposed
         as part of the Leicester contract will achieve in excess of 40% waste recycling, rising to
         over 70% recycling and recovery when part of the processed waste is re-used as a fossil
         fuel substitute.

1.2.2    As part of the Leicester Contract, Biffa are proposing to invest £30million, which includes
         the development of two new waste management facilities, namely:

             a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) with offices, visitor centre and vehicle depot in
              Leicester, on the Bursom industrial estate at Mowmacre and
             a composting and anaerobic digestion plant with energy recovery, to the north of the
              City, on the Severn Trent Sewage Treatment Works at Wanlip

         The locations of the two sites are shown on Drawing No. 1 (Site Location Plan). This
         planning application relates to the Wanlip site. A separate planning application for the
         Bursom facility has been submitted to Leicester City Council, who are the relevant planning
         authority for that area.

1.2.3    The Bursom facility will be a state-of-the-art, fully mechanised waste processing and
         recycling facility for Leicester’s municipal waste, housed within a fully enclosed building,
         with high standards of environmental control.                   The Bursom facility will process mixed
         municipal waste and sort it into ferrous and non-ferrous metals for recycling, a light fraction
         (“floc”) for use as refuse derived fuel, an organic fraction for composting at Wanlip and a
         non-recyclable residue for disposal at existing landfill sites. The purpose of the Wanlip
         facility is to treat the fine organic waste fraction which arises from the sorting process at the
         Bursom site and turn it into re-useable agricultural compost, whilst at the same time
         recovering energy from the heat produced by the process. Overall, the new waste contract
         facilities will achieve a recycling rate of over 40%, with an additional 30% of waste diverted
         from landfill disposal through the re-use of the “floc” produced at Bursom as refuse derived
         fuel in cement kilns. This meets and far exceeds the Council’s recycling targets of 40% by
         2005. In fact it will enable the Authority to surpass the European Landfill Directive targets
         10     years     in   advance        of   their    implementation   date.    Other   targets   of   18%
         recycling/composting by 2003/4 and 27% by 2005/6 will also be achieved through the

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                                   Page 4 of 27
         development at Wanlip. The contract commences in April 2003, with construction of the
         new facilities to follow straight afterwards.

1.2.4    In addition to requiring planning permission, the Wanlip facility will also be subject to further
         environmental and pollution control through the Waste Management Licensing regime,
         regulated by the Environment Agency.                            The application for the appropriate waste
         management licence has been submitted to the Environment Agency, who will, in turn,
         consult the planning authority. Government advice is that duplication of control through the
         planning process and the pollution control process should be avoided, although the two
         control regimes are intended to be complimentary.

1.3      Format of the Application

1.3.1    The application comprises the application forms, an Environmental Statement and a Non-
         Technical Summary.              The Environmental Statement is divided into five parts, Part I
         containing introductory information, Part II containing background information, contextual
         information and policy issues and Part III containing an assessment of specific potential
         environmental impacts. Plans are contained in Part IV and Appendices in Part V. The
         scope of the Environmental Statement has been discussed with the relevant officers at the
         County Council and includes details of the development, policy issues, consideration of
         alternatives, Best Practicable Environmental Option (“BPEO”) considerations and
         consideration of specific potential impacts in terms of visual impact, traffic, odour and
         bioaerosols, drainage and groundwater protection.                       Detailed technical appendices are
         included in respect of noise, odour and bioaerosols.

1.4      Environmental Impact Assessment procedures and scoping

1.4.1    European Community Directive 85/337/EEC on Environmental Assessment (the 1985
         Directive) requires that projects which are likely to have significant effects on the
         environment should be the subject of an assessment of those effects. The 1985 Directive
         was amended in 1997 by Directive 97/11 (the 1997 Directive).

1.4.2    The 1985 Directive was implemented in England and Wales in 1988, through the Town and
         Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations, which introduced the

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                                      Page 5 of 27
         need for formal Environmental Assessments to be carried out on certain development
         projects. The amendments in the 1997 Directive were incorporated in England and Wales
         into the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and
         Wales) Regulations 1999 (the 1999 Regulations), which came into force on 14th March

1.4.3    Although waste recycling development is not expressly covered by the 1999 Environmental
         Impact Assessment Regulations (the Regulations only refer to waste disposal installations),
         advice from Government in Circular 02/99 includes comment about recycling and recovery
         facilities. There is therefore a degree of inconsistency between the Regulations and the
         advice. Bearing this in mind, Biffa have discussed the format of the application with the
         County Council and are submitting a voluntary Environmental Statement. This avoids any
         potential confusion over the applicability of the Regulations and helps to demonstrate a
         precautionary approach.              This document comprises the Environmental Statement and
         includes the information required by the Regulations.

1.4.4    The 1999 Regulations do not give details on how an Environmental Impact Assessment
         should be carried out – advice on that being given in government Circular 02/99.
         Regulation 2(1) and Schedule 4 of the Regulations define the information required to be
         included in an Environmental Statement. This should include as a minimum:

                   A description of the development comprising information on the site, design and
                    size of the development.
                   A description of the measures envisaged for avoiding, reducing and, if possible,
                    remedying significant adverse effects.
                   The data required for identifying and assessing the main effects that the
                    development is likely to have on the environment.
                   An outline of the main alternatives studied by the applicant and an indication of the
                    main reasons for the applicant’s choice, taking into account the environmental
                   A non-technical summary of the information provided under the above.

1.4.5    This Environmental Statement includes the above information and takes into account the
         advice in Circular 02/99. The scope of the Environmental Statement has been discussed
         with relevant officers at the County Council and it is therefore focussed on what are

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                           Page 6 of 27
         considered to be the key issues, including detailed consultants reports in respect of
         potential impacts and control measures relating to noise, odour and bio-aerosols. Bio-
         aerosol emissions are not normally considered to be an issues with enclosed systems such
         as the one proposed. However, Biffa appreciate that it may nevertheless be raised as a
         concern and an assessment has therefore been included. Other issues covered in this
         Statement include planning policy, consideration of alternatives, Best Practicable
         Environmental Option (“BPEO”) considerations, visual impact, highways, drainage and
         groundwater protection, ecology, archaeology and flood plain protection.

1.5.2    In order to facilitate the environmental decision making processes with respect to planning
         and waste licensing, Biffa are applying simultaneously for both consents. As part of the
         planning application process, the Planning Authority will be consulting the Environment
         Agency.        The Environment Agency will likewise consult the Planning Authority when
         considering the Waste Management Licence application. By applying for the two consents
         simultaneously, both regulatory bodies have access to the full suite of environmental and
         pollution control information, which should aid understanding and help avoid unnecessary
         duplication or conflict in the final consent documents.

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                       Page 7 of 27


2.1.1    Wanlip Sewage Treatment Works is a substantial complex which is the primary location for
         treating sewage from Leicester and which also provides secondary treatment for waste
         treated initially at other, subsidiary sites in Leicestershire. It is therefore a strategically
         important site which facilitates effective sewage treatment and includes recycling of bio-
         solids (sewage sludge), for agricultural use.

2.1.2    The complex is located to the north of Leicester and the village of Wanlip, on the north side
         of the A46. The A6 lies to the west and the River Soar lies to the east. It extends to
         approximately 30 hectares (70 acres) and access is direct from the A46. Surrounding land
         is generally in agricultural use.

2.1.3    Within the Wanlip complex, the proposed application site occupies a roughly square area of
         land measuring approximately 90m by 80m (0.66 hectares) at the south east corner of the
         complex (see Drawing 2 – Application Site Plan). The land is within the operational area of
         the Works, outside the floodplain, and is currently hard-surfaced and used for occasional
         parking and storage (see Photographs 1 and 2).                  It is flanked to the south and east by
         dense, mature vegetation and to the north and west by the main area of the sewage
         treatment plant. The nearest residential property in Wanlip lies on the other side of the
         A46, some 250m away.


3.1      The Composting Process

3.1.1    The plant will process the organic waste fraction produced as a by-product of the municipal
         waste recycling facility at Bursom in Leicester, at a rate of approximately 40,000 tonnes of
         per year (8 loads per day). However, the waste contract requires an allowance for potential
         growth in waste arisings of 2% per year, although this may not materialise if future waste
         minimisation initiatives are successful. Nevertheless, to cater for this eventuality, the plant

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                                  Page 8 of 27
         is designed to take account of this, which in the worst case would mean a rise in inputs to
         65,744 tonnes per year (12 loads per day) by year 25 of the contract.

3.1.2    Water from the sewage works will be added to the organic waste to form a watery sludge
         and to enable small pieces of glass, metal and grit to be removed via a sand separator.
         This material, which looks like sand, will then be taken off site for reuse elsewhere. The
         organic mixture will then be pumped into sealed tanks where air will be blown in to keep the
         sludge mixed and heated to above 57 degrees Centigrade (130 degrees Fahrenheit) for 5
         hours. This process is similar to that used to treat milk and will kill harmful bacteria in the
         organic waste. The mixture will then be pumped into sealed cylindrical tanks. Here the
         material is mixed and kept at a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit)
         for 19 days. Because no air is present, bacteria present breakdown some of the organic
         materials and methane gas is produced. This “bio-gas” as it is called will be collected and
         used to generate 1.5MW of electricity. The final process involves removing the water from
         the treated sludge. This will be done in a special press with the water being returned to the
         sewage works. The remaining dried sludge, which now looks like a damp, dark brown peat
         like material, will be stored at Wanlip for 14 days before being spread on agricultural land
         as a compost and soil improver

3.1.3    The process will therefore involve a number of stages, namely:

               Homogenisation
               Sand separation
               Aerobic hydrolysis
               Anaerobic digestion
               Power generation from the biogas
               Compost dewatering
               Compost storage and marketing (by Severn Trent)

3.2      Site Layout and Operation

3.2.1    The proposed layout building elevations are shown on Drawings 3 and 4. The processing
         itself will take place within a fully enclosed system, with all waste being delivered in
         enclosed containers, unloaded in an enclosed waste reception hall and subsequently

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                          Page 9 of 27
         processed within an enclosed building and enclosed digester tanks. The buildings will also
         be maintained under negative air pressure, with all air emissions being past through a de-
         dusting and bio-filtration plant, to control odours, dust and bio-aerosols. The facility will
         comprise a waste reception and processing building measuring approximately 33m x 25m x
         12m high, 3 aerobic hydrolysis tanks approximately 10m high, 3 anaerobic digester tanks
         measuring approximately 11m high, a gas collection tank, electricity generation plant
         comprising two containers and a 6m high flare and the air emissions control equipment
         comprising two biofilters and a de-dusting plant.

3.2.2    The main building will be constructed from colour coated profiled steel cladding (silver), with
         brick up to door height and roller shutter doors in red coloured steel. The roof will also be
         profiled steel cladding (goosewing grey). The digester tanks will be coloured dark grey and
         will be surrounded by a concrete walled containment bunds.            External areas will be
         surfaced with an impermeable material, either concrete or macadam.

3.2.3    Approximately 8 loads per day (20 tonne loads) will be delivered to the site from Bursom
         site during daytime hours. In the event that input rises, as described in section 3.1.1 above,
         lorry inputs could potentially rise to 12 loads per day, by year 25 of the contract. The plant
         itself will be in continuous operation, since the composting/anaerobic digestion process is a
         continuous process. All organic waste will be delivered in containers and unloaded within
         the reception building before being loaded, by wheeled loader, into the hopper feeding the
         conveyor which supplies the homogenisation plant, where it is mixed with heated water.
         The suspension is then pumped, via the sand separator, to the aerobic hydrolysis tanks. In
         these tanks, the organic suspension is heated and aerated before being pumped to the
         anaerobic digestion tanks where the degradation of the remaining organic material takes
         place under anaerobic conditions over a period of approximately 19 days. This process
         produces biogas (methane) which is piped to the gas holding tank before being used to
         produce electricity via the two electricity generating engines. Excess heat and process
         water is recycled as part of the process and the electricity produced from the two
         generators (approximately 1.5 Megawatts in total) is supplied to the local electric grid, via
         the existing electricity sub-station present on site. After the anaerobic digestion stage, the
         digested material will be fed back, by pipeline, to the process building, where it will be de-
         watered by means of a press and deposited by conveyor into containers within the building.
         The containers will then be transported to Severn Trent Water’s sewage sludge storage
         area, for inclusion with the product from their sewage sludge recycling scheme.

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                         Page 10 of 27
3.2.4    All waste handling operations will be carried out within the building, which will be
         maintained under negative air pressure, with exhaust air passing through the odour control
         biofilters and de-dusting plant, before passing to atmosphere. From 40,000 tonnes per
         year of organic waste, the process will produce approximately 31,000 tonnes per year of
         compost and approximately 9,000 tonnes per year of sand.            After processing, the de-
         watered product from the facility will be supplied in containers to Severn Trent Water
         Limited, as already explained. Only the sand will be directly exported from the Biffa site, for
         disposal or re-use as secondary aggregate elsewhere. This will generate approximately 2
         lorry loads per day. Three members of staff will man the site.

3.2.5    As part of Biffa’s commitment to education regarding sustainable waste management, the
         intention is to install web-cams linked to the visitor centre at the Bursom site, where the
         operation can be viewed alongside the waste recycling operations being carried out at


4.1      National Waste Strategy 2000 (WS 2000)

4.1.1    Waste Strategy 2000:England and Wales sets out the Government’s objectives and targets
         for the management of most wastes. This reflects European policy in the form of the
         European Landfill Directive, which sets targets for reducing the amount of waste that goes
         to landfill and will require pre-treatment of wastes prior to landfill. National planning policy
         guidance for waste is set out in PPG 10 (Planning &Waste Management), referred to
         below. The Government ’s aim is that plans and decisions on waste management should
         choose the Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO). That will be based on three

             The waste hierarchy, namely:
                   • Reduction
                   • Re-use
                   • Recovery (recycling, composting, energy recovery)
                   • Disposal

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                          Page 11 of 27
                   (In order to maximise management of waste and materials towards the top of the
                   hierarchy and minimise it towards the bottom.)
             The proximity principle (waste to be managed as close to the place of production as
             Regional self-sufficiency.

4.1.2    The National Strategy explains that Regional Planning Guidance will guide decisions on the
         scale and spatial pattern of waste management, primarily relating to the recovery and
         disposal of waste. The Government intends to move towards BPEO by pursuing targets to
         increase the recycling and composting of waste, increase recovery of value (including
         energy) from waste and reduce its disposal to landfill.

4.1.3 Landfill remains the predominant method of waste management in the UK. The Waste
         Strategy 2000 reports that nationally approximately 83% of municipal waste and 54% of
         commercial and industrial waste is disposed in this way. Having regard to the waste
         hierarchy, landfill is viewed as the least acceptable waste management option, although it
         remains an important part of the waste management equation since there will always be a
         significant proportion of waste which cannot be re-used or recycled. The continued disposal
         of untreated wastes is seen as unsustainable and wasteful of primary resources. In order to
         achieve more sustainable waste management, both Europe and Central Government are
         seeking to bring about dramatic changes within very short timescales in the way that waste
         is treated by introducing challenging targets for reduction in landfill, by increasing recycling,
         composting and recovery.

4.1.4 The Waste Strategy 2000 imposes the following targets on Local Authorities to improve
         recycling, composting and recovery rates as follows;

         Recycling and Composting;
          To recycle or compost at least 25% of household waste by 2005
          To recycle or compost at least 30% of household waste by 2010
          To recycle or compost at least 33% of household waste by 2015

          To recover value from 40% of municipal waste by 2005
          To recover value from 45% of municipal waste by 2010

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                           Page 12 of 27
          To recover value from 67% of municipal waste by 2015

         In addition to the above targets the Landfill Directive includes other measures to encourage
         alternative methods of waste management to that of landfill. Of particular importance to
         these proposals is the requirement for the pre-treatment of all wastes prior to landfill.

4.2      Planning Policy Guidance note 10 (PPG 10 - Planning and Waste Management, 1999)

4.2.1    This provides the principal planning advice for planning and waste management, at national
         level. It explains 4 key principles which should be applied, as advocated in WS 2000:
             Best Practicable Environmental Option (“BPEO”)
             Regional Self Sufficiency (managing most waste within the region it is produced)
             Proximity Principle (managing waste as near as possible to its place of production, to
              minimise the environmental impact of transporting waste)
             The Waste Hierarchy

4.2.2    PPG10 explains that Waste Planning Authorities (WPAs) and the EA are expected to work
         closely together to avoid duplication between planning and pollution control requirements
         and to make best use of expertise. For development control, PPG10 emphasises that “the
         planning system should enable adequate provision to be made for waste management
         facilities in appropriate locations, without undue adverse environmental effects or nuisance”
         (para. 39). Furthermore, “it (the planning system) deals with the acceptability of a proposed
         development in terms of the use of land, and not the control of processes which is, in the
         case of waste, a matter for the Environment Agency”

4.2.3    With regards to transport, PPG10 explains that “there may be significant environmental and
         economic advantages when……..waste management facilities can be located close to
         where the wastes arise, different types of waste management facilities can be located close
         together or co-located on one site……..or use is made, as far as possible, of the major road
         network rather than local roads, for bulk waste movement”.

4.2.4    PPG10 (paragraph 42) also explains that controls should be in place to control specific
         local environmental impacts such as dust, odour, vermin and birds, noise, litter and the like.
         It explains that although these issues may be material considerations for planning
         purposes, many of the actual controls are secured through the waste management

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                           Page 13 of 27
         licensing regime rather than through planning conditions. Also, although some overlap will
         occur between planning and pollution control systems, duplication should be kept to a

4.3      PPG23 (Planning and Pollution Control, 1994)

4.3.1    Most of the advice in this document which relates to waste disposal has now been
         superseded by PPG10.                It does, however, discuss the overlap between planning and
         pollution control, stressing that the planning interest must focus on effects on current and
         future uses of land. PPG23 is currently under review but the general approach remains the
         same, so far as it relates to this application.

4.4      PPG22 (Renewable Energy, 1993 and Annexes, 1994)

4.4.1    PPG22 explains that domestic waste can be a source of renewable energy and can
         therefore play an important role in providing energy from non fossil-fuel sources and
         reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The 1994 Annexes to the PPG include an Annex
         on anaerobic digestion. This explains that the process is a method of waste treatment that
         produces a gas with a high methane content from organic materials (in this case, the
         organic fraction of the municipal solid waste processed at the Bursom facility).          The
         methane can then be used to produce heat and electricity, thereby providing an
         environmental benefit. The solid product from the digestion process can then be further
         processed to form agricultural compost, providing a further benefit. In the case of the
         Wanlip proposal, the digested residue from the anaerobic digestion plant will pass to
         Severn Trent Water, for further management as part of their bio-solids recycling and
         marketing operations.             The proposal therefore has a clear synergy with the existing
         operations at Wanlip

4.5      Strategic Planning for Sustainable Waste Management: Guidance on Option
         Development and Appraisal (October 2002)

4.5.1    This guidance has recently been published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
         (ODPM) and is aimed primarily at the waste Regional Technical Advisory Bodies (RTABs)
         to assist them in advising on the preparation of Regional Waste Strategies. However, it
         emphasises the need for significant investment in new and upgraded waste management

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                          Page 14 of 27
         facilities to achieve the Government’s targets for waste recycling/composting and the fact
         that “waste management is central to the sustainable development agenda”.                      It also
         endorses an integrated approach and a long term approach, referred to as a “planning
         horizon of at least 20 years”.               Materials Recycling Facilities, composting facilities and
         anaerobic digestion facilities are recognised as beneficial waste recovery facilities. The
         proposed development and the long term, integrated waste management contract it will
         form part of are therefore wholly compatible with this recent guidance.

4.6 RPG 8 (Regional Planning Guidance for the East Midlands, 2002)

4.6.1    RPG 8 explains that the East Midlands produces around 13 million tonnes of waste per
         year (1995/6 figures), approximately 70% of which is landfilled.                It cross refers to the
         national waste strategy and explains that the East Midlands Regional Technical Advisory
         Body will be producing regional waste guidance in due course. Its includes the following

4.6.2    Policy 55: Waste Recycling and Reduction:

         Waste Planning Authorities and other agencies should adopt the targets for waste recycling
         and reduction set out in Waste Strategy 2000, as follows:

        by 2005, to reduce the amount of industrial and commercial waste landfilled to 85% of 1998
        by 2005, to recycle or compost at least 25% of household waste;
        by 2010, to recycle or compost at least 30% of household waste; and
        by 2015, to recycle or compost at least 33% of household waste.

         Development plans should, at the appropriate level:

        take an integrated approach to waste management and put in place effective local
         strategies that will encourage the reduction of waste and maximise recycling and recovery
         in accordance with the national waste strategy;
        make realistic assessments of the likely future requirements for the number, type and siting
         of waste treatment facilities in their area, taking account of Government policy to minimise

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                                 Page 15 of 27
         waste arisings and achieve the best practicable environmental option (BPEO) for the
         management of waste as close to the sources as possible within the region;
        avoid excess provision of landfill sites based on the continuation of past trends in waste
         management and consider the use of a phasing mechanism for the release of landfill sites;
        wherever possible, seek to integrate sites for waste treatment and disposal with rail and
         water-based transport in accordance with the BPEO; and
        require the waste implications of major and other specified development proposals to be
         audited and the waste arisings dealt with in accordance with Government policy.

4.6.3 RPG 8 also emphasises the importance of renewable energy sources and includes the
         following policy:

         Policy 57
         Energy Efficiency and Renewables:

         Development plans should take into account possibilities for:

                  new development to be appropriately located in relation to renewable energy
                  appropriate siting, orientation, density and layout of new development to minimise
                   energy requirements, and maximise the potential for connecting with existing energy
                   infrastructure, utilising waste heat from local generation schemes and for
                   incorporating other renewable energy.

         It then goes on to set targets for increasing energy production for specific types of
         renewable energy technology, including anaerobic digestion.

4.6.4    The proposed development will form an important part of an integrated approach to help
         achieve and exceed these targets.

4.7 Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Structure Plan (Proposed Modifications, 2002)

4.7.1    Proposed modifications to the Structure Plan were published this year but do not affect the
         policies most relevant to this proposal, which are:

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                          Page 16 of 27
4.7.2    Resource Management Policy 8: Land Release – Waste Management
         When allocating land and considering planning applications for the management of waste,
         consideration will be given to the need to release land to maintain an adequate network of
         waste management facilities. In releasing such land regard will be given to the principle of
         Integrated Waste Management, sufficient to meet local needs and to contribute towards
         regional self sufficiency in treating or disposing of all types of waste produced in the region,
         while minimising the effect on the environment.

4.7.3    Resource Management Policy 9: Environmental Impact of Mineral Extraction and Waste
         When allocating land and considering planning applications for the extraction of minerals or
         for waste management development or related development, account will be taken of its
         likely impact on the environment and the need for the development when it is a material
         consideration. Where development would cause demonstrable harm to interests of
         recognised importance, planning permission will only be granted where the need for the
         development outweighs such demonstrable harm.

4.7.4    Resource Management Policy 14: Recovery of Waste
         Proposals for waste management development which incorporate the recovery of waste will
         be permitted, provided any adverse environmental impacts of the development can be kept
         to an acceptable level.

4.7.5    The proposed development will help deliver integrated waste management in accordance
         with regional self-sufficiency, as required by Policy 8. Furthermore, its principle purpose is
         waste recovery, in accordance with Policy 14. As regards environmental impact of the
         operation itself, this will be kept to acceptable levels, as required by the above policies and
         as explained in section 6 of this report.

4.8 Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Waste Local Plan (2002 version)

4.8.1    The Waste Local Plan covers the period up to 2006 and contains both specific and general
         policies regarding waste development. Wanlip Sewage Treatment Works is noted as an
         existing waste management facility. Policies WLP1 and 2 support proposals for waste
         minimisation and recycling, subject to compliance with environmental considerations listed

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                          Page 17 of 27
         in Policy WLP8. Policy WLP8 contains an extensive list of specific environmental concerns
         all of which would be satisfied by the proposed development, in particular criteria (XIV)
         which requires development to contribute to waste recycling/recovery and energy recovery.

4.8.2    Policy WLP3 specifically relates to anaerobic digestion. The supporting text recognises the
         value of anaerobic digestion technology in the treatment of household waste and notes that
         this process is currently used for sewage treatment at Wanlip Sewage Treatment Works. It
         also comments that “If a new anaerobic digestion plant was proposed, the most suitable
         locations are considered to be existing sewage treatment works…..subject to appropriate
         environmental consideration”.               The policy itself states that planning permission will be
         granted, provided that:

         (i)       Any digestate produced as a residue of the process can be satisfactorily managed
                   and disposed;
         (ii)      Proposals meet the criteria in policy WLP8
         (iii)     Energy recovery is maximised where appropriate

         The proposed development meets all these criteria and its location within the Wanlip
         Sewage Treatment Works is wholly consistent with the aims of the policy.

4.9      Leicester City Council Household Waste Management Strategy

4.9.1    Leicester City Council has set a target to recycle and compost 40% of household waste
         arisings by 2005 within its statutory Recycling Plan 1999 to 2004. This compares with the
         Government’s national target of 40% recovery of household waste by 2005 as set out in its
         Waste Strategy 2000.

4.9.2    The Government has issued statutory Best Value Recycling and Composting Performance
         Standards to all Authorities in its Guidance on Municipal Waste Management Strategies
         March 2001, using the recycling and composting rates achieved in 1998/99 as a base line.
         The performance standards required are for the rate to double by 2003/2004 and to treble
         by 2005/2006. For Leicester this equates to a recycling and composting rate of 18% and
         27% respectively which are accounted for in the Council’s Recycling Plan 1999 to 2004.
         Leicester’s recycling rate currently stands at 10%, with the remainder going to landfill.

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                                Page 18 of 27
4.9.3    The Council’s strategy is to obtain an integrated waste management approach provided by
         the private sector within a single collection, treatment and disposal contract for a period of
         25 years, commencing on 1st April 2003. Although the City Council has devised its own
         municipal Waste Management Strategy, based on this approach, it is a member of the
         county-wide Waste Management Partnership which includes the County Council and the
         district councils. This partnership helps to co-ordinate waste management decision making
         across the wider area. A key driver for Leicester’s strategy is to increase recycling and
         reduce the previous heavy reliance on landfill.

4.10     Borough of Charnwood Local Plan

4.10.1 The application site is adjacent to the Soar Valley Area of Local Landscape Value
         described on the Charnwood Local Plan Proposals Map and protected by policy CT/9.
         Polices CT/1, CT/2 and CT/6 also relate to the protection of open countryside areas, in
         particular their character and appearance.                      Policy CT/6 further requires that proposals
         should not create excessive noise, dust, fumes, smell or other nuisance. The proposed
         development utilises already developed, operational land within the Wanlip complex and
         will not result in any encroachment or adverse impact on the character or appearance of
         the area. Noise, dust, odour and potential nuisance will be controlled, as described in Part
         III of this Statement, and will be regulated through both the planning system and the waste
         licensing system. The proposal is therefore considered to be in accordance with these


5.1      Although there is no general requirement to consider alternatives, Biffa have opted for the
         site in question for a number of reasons. Firstly, and notwithstanding the high standard of
         environmental control associated with the proposed plant, Biffa do not consider the Bursom
         site is appropriate for the composting/anaerobic digestion operation in view of the very
         close proximity of residential development to that site and there are clear operational and
         planning advantages in locating it within the existing sewage treatment complex at Wanlip,
         in accordance with the relevant Waste Local Plan policies. The Wanlip plant therefore has
         the advantage of being close to the Bursom site (see Drawing 1: Location Plan), thereby
         minimising transport in accordance with the “proximity principle”, whilst also being

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                                      Page 19 of 27
         integrated into an existing, major waste treatment facility, with good road access directly off
         the major road network. It is also a greater distance from residential properties, although
         notwithstanding this, a fully enclosed operation is proposed, with in-built air quality control
         plant (see section 5.2 below), so as to ensure no adverse impacts on residents in Wanlip.
         Potential environmental impacts are considered in detail in Part III of this Statement. The
         location of the facility at Wanlip has clear synergies with Severn Trent Water’s current bio-
         solid recycling and marketing operations, thereby establishing a clear, productive outlet for
         the final compost product and associated liquid residues.

5.2      Within the Wanlip complex the only other potential location for the plant was within an area
         on the east side of the complex, currently occupied by a building and an adjacent area
         which has been planted with trees. That location is within the floodplain and is more visible
         from the A46 than the proposed location. It would also be difficult to develop from an
         engineering point of view and would necessitate the removal of an area of planted trees,
         which currently provide useful visual screening. In contrast, the proposed location makes
         use of a currently underused, hard-surfaced area, which is outside the floodplain and which
         is also visually screened by existing mature vegetation.

5.2      As regards the technology chosen, this has distinct efficiency and environmental benefits,
         compared to traditional, open-air “windrow” compost systems which are often used for
         composting this type of material. Firstly, the process is carried out within an enclosed
         system of buildings and tanks, providing increased environmental control over emissions.
         Secondly, the methane can be harnessed effectively and used for heat and electricity
         generation. Also, the visual appearance of the process building and digester tanks will not
         be out of character when considered in the context of the Wanlip Treatment Works as a


6.1      Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) is a complex concept, put at the heart of the
         waste management decision making process in Waste Strategy 2000 and PPG10
         (Planning and Waste Management). However, the definition used arises from the Royal
         Commission on Environmental Pollution, rather than a planning background, and is stated
         as being “the outcome of a systematic consultative and decision making procedure which
         emphasises the protection and conservation of the environment across land, air and water.

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                         Page 20 of 27
         The BPEO procedure establishes, for a given set of objectives, the option that provides the
         most benefits or the least damage to the environment as a whole, at acceptable cost, in the
         long term as well as in the short term”.

6.2      Notwithstanding the above, the planning guidance in PPG10 published in 1999 introduced
         BPEO as a planning consideration, with a general requirement that it should inform “waste
         management decisions” (PPG10, paragraph 6) and should also play a part in policy making
         decisions, through the Waste Local Plan process and development of waste strategies.
         Although there is a reference to BPEO in the context of site location in Annex A to the PPG
         (Planning considerations and planning conditions), there is no specific requirement or
         suggestion in PPG10 for BPEO assessments to be carried out for each individual location.
         The references to BPEO in PPG10 are generally in terms of using it as a strategic, mainly
         regional, tool to provide an overall context for decision making. Unfortunately, the lack of
         specific advice on the practical application of BPEO in PPG10 has caused some confusion,
         particularly within the planning system.                   Research on the subject to help inform the
         Regional Technical Advisory Bodies and Waste Planning Authorities on applying BPEO at
         the appropriate strategic level has been in progress for some time and has recently been
         published (see section 4.5 above). However, that is primarily aimed at regional strategy
         level, rather than at planning application level. Other Government research published in
         May this year provided a good practice guide (Guidance on Policies for Waste
         Management Planning, May 2002), which re-affirms that BPEO is primarily a strategic
         decision making tool, rather than a site-specific, development control tool.

6.3      In the context of Leicester and Leicestershire, BPEO considerations have informed the
         local authorities in preparing their local plans and strategies, including the City Council’s
         proposed integrated waste management contract, providing a move away from a previous
         heavy reliance on landfill.

6.4      Although this application only relates to the proposed plant at Wanlip, BPEO considerations
         need to pay regard to the overall process, including the proposed recycling facility at
         Bursom which will produce the organic waste residues to be treated at Wanlip. As regards
         the proposed site locations, the proximity principle advocated in national waste planning
         advice emphasises that waste management facilities should be located as close as
         possible to the source of the waste arisings, to reduce the environmental impact of road
         haulage. PPG10 therefore generally advises that industrial locations in urban areas are

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                                 Page 21 of 27
         appropriate for management facilities. The site at Bursom satisfies this criteria, in principle.
         For composting operations, particularly where the end use is agriculture, PPG10 advises
         that sites may be located outwith the urban areas, for example on farmland. The proposed
         facility at Wanlip is close to the Bursom site, thereby minimising road haulage, whilst at the
         same time being located away from potentially sensitive residential areas and within an
         existing, large-scale waste treatment facility, close to the agricultural end-users. Biffa does
         not therefore believe that the location of a composting facility at Bursom would represent
         BPEO, due to the close proximity of residential property, whereas the proposed location at
         Wanlip does represent BPEO and is in accordance with Policy 3 regarding anaerobic
         digestion in the Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Waste Local Plan. That policy also
         requires energy recovery, which is included in the proposals for Wanlip.

6.6      As regards site-specific environmental impacts these are addressed in detail in Part III of
         this Statement. Alternatives considered in relation to the Wanlip site have already been
         discussed in section 5 above. The key point is that Biffa have specifically opted for a fully
         enclosed, mechanised process, with full emissions control at Bursom, combined with an
         enclosed, controlled process at Wanlip. The purpose of the Bursom plant and the Wanlip
         facility is to recover more value from waste and reduce quantities going to landfill, which is
         wholly in accordance with BPEO principles, whilst minimising local environmental impact,
         again in accordance with BPEO principles.

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                          Page 22 of 27


7.1      In general, the Wanlip complex is well screened by local topography and surrounding
         woodland and sits relatively unobtrusively within the local landscape. The proposed site for
         the composting and anaerobic digestion plant is a small area of the complex, at its south
         east corner. The land concerned is wholly within the operational boundaries of the sewage
         treatment works and the proposal will not therefore result in any encroachment into
         surrounding countryside.             Furthermore, the land is already developed insofar as it has
         previously been hard-surfaced and used for temporary storage.             From the south and the
         east, the application site is completely screened by substantial, mature tree belts along the
         north side of the A46 and along the east boundary of the Wanlip complex (see Photographs
         1 and 2 in Part IV of this Statement). From other directions the site is screened by the
         expanse of sewage treatment plant and structures which make up the Wanlip complex.

7.2      Although industrial in nature, the proposed plant will be set within the operational,
         developed area of a much larger sewage treatment works which comprises a range of large
         scale sewage treatment plant and buildings. It will also be visually screened from the A46
         and properties to the south, in Wanlip, by the existing vegetation and topography. On that
         basis, it is not considered that the proposed development will give rise to any adverse
         visual impact on the area or the surrounding countryside.

8.       HIGHWAYS

8.1      At a general level, the facility forms part of an integrated system linked with the recycling
         facility at Bursom in Leicester which will substantially reduce the amount of municipal waste
         going to landfill in Leicestershire, thereby reducing the amount of traffic going to landfill. At
         a site-specific level, the site has good road access, directly off the A46. Also, as already
         explained, the location of the facility at Wanlip, close to the Bursom site producing the
         organic waste, is consistent with waste planning policy concerning the “proximity principle”.
         This helps reduce road haulage and its associated environmental impact.               As regards
         vehicle routeing, vehicles carrying organic waste from Bursom will head south from the
         Bursom site to the A563 ring road, then heading west to join the A46 via the A5360 (see
         Drawing 1 – Site Location). Lorries will therefore use the main road network and will not

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                            Page 23 of 27
         travel through Wanlip village. All lorries will be under Biffa’s direct control and routing can
         therefore be effectively enforced.

8.2      Organic waste containers will be delivered by lorry at approximately 8 x 20 tonne loads per
         day during daytime hours (between 6am to 6pm weekdays and 9 am to 4pm on weekends
         and Bank Holidays). It is possible that occasional loads may need to be delivered outside
         those hours if circumstances dictate at Bursom. However, the overall number of lorry
         movements will not change. Removal of sand/grit from the plant will generate 2 lorries per
         day.     The additional Severn Trent Water traffic generated through the provision of the
         composted material to Severn Trent Water amounts to an additional 6 loads (exports) per
         day from the Wanlip complex.

8.3      Overall levels of Severn Trent Water traffic from the Wanlip complex are detailed in their
         recent planning application for sludge de-watering facilities which explains that, after
         development of the those new facilities, traffic levels will be significantly reduced by 714
         lorries per month (28/day) to around 834 per month (32/day). Of that figure, 23 lorries per
         day relate to sewage cake export, with 9 from imported material for treatment by Severn
         Trent Water. The Biffa proposal will give rise to an overall addition of 16 lorries per day
         from the Wanlip complex as a whole (8 imported loads of organic waste per day from
         Bursom, plus 2 exports per day of sand/grit, plus 6 loads per day additional Severn Trent
         export). This still means there will still be a significant decrease in overall traffic levels,
         compared to historic levels from the Wanlip complex, even after the development of the
         Biffa plant.

8.4      In summary, traffic generation from the proposed development is relatively low and will be
         confined to the major road network. Vehicles will also be under Biffa’s direct control and
         vehicle routing can therefore be effectively enforced. It is therefore not considered that the
         proposed development will give rise to any unacceptable impacts in terms of highways
         capacity or in terms of residential amenity considerations.


9.1      Matters such as control of dust and odour are important factors in the design of the scheme
         and the inclusion of features such as an air filtration system and maintenance of the main
         building under negative air-pressure will ensure a high standard of environmental control of

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                         Page 24 of 27
         such emissions.            The system will also provide full control over bioaerosols (micro-
         organisms such as fungal spores and bacteria) which, as well as occurring in the natural
         environment can also be found in waste.                         Bioaerosols emission is normally an issue
         associated with open-air composting facilities, rather than enclosed systems. In recognition
         of this, Biffa have opted for a fully enclosed and controlled system, rather than an open-air
         “windrow” type system.

9.2      All waste handling and processing will be undertaken within an enclosed building, which will
         be maintained under negative air pressure and which will incorporate full air emissions
         control through a bio-filtration and de-dusting plant. The aerobic hydrolysis and anaerobic
         digestion processes will take place within an enclosed system of sealed tanks. Specific
         control over dust emissions, odour emissions and bioaerosols emissions is primarily
         exercised through the provisions of the Waste Management Licence and associated
         monitoring requirements, rather than the planning regime. However, the issues are also
         generally regarded as planning considerations, insofar as the Planning Authority needs to
         satisfy itself that the proper control mechanisms will be in place and there will be no
         unacceptable impacts on local amenity. Biffa therefore commissioned Atkins consultants to
         undertake an assessment of odour and bioaerosols impact and a copy of their report in
         included as Appendix A.

9.3      The Atkins assessment concludes that the high standard of proposed odour control would
         result in released air having low odour concentrations and this, combined with the fact that
         the prevailing wind is away from the nearest housing, means that the potential for
         significant odour impact is low. As regards bioaerosols, the proposed systems will ensure
         that any micro-organisms released from the waste will remain inside the facility and are
         unlikely to have any impact on human health or the environment outside the site.

10.      NOISE

10.1     Noise impact is a planning consideration and it is recognised that noise from operations,
         particularly during the night-time operation of the plant, may be of concern to the local
         residents in Wanlip, albeit that the application site is some 250m from the nearest
         residential property (Manor Farm, Wanlip) and is separated from properties in Wanlip by an
         elevated section of the A46. Biffa therefore commissioned Atkins consultants to undertake
         a noise impact assessment. This assessment considered both daytime and night-time

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                                     Page 25 of 27
         background noise levels and the potential impact of the proposed operations. A copy the
         assessment in included as Appendix B to this Statement.

10.2     The predicted noise levels at the nearest noise sensitive property (Manor Farm) are below
         existing background daytime and night-time noise levels and the assessment concludes
         that all relevant noise criteria would be complied with and there would therefore be no
         unacceptable impact in terms of noise from the development.


11.2     Detailed control over site drainage is addressed in detail and controlled thorough the
         Operational Working Plan forming part of the Waste Management Licence. The drainage
         system will be a contained system and all internal and external operational surfaces will be
         constructed from impervious materials.                   Foul drainage from process operations in the
         building will discharge to the foul drainage system and drainage from hard surfaced
         external areas will pass through a solids interceptor system. The hydrolysis and digester
         tanks will be housed within concrete containment bunds, in accordance with standard
         Environment Agency requirements to safeguard against spillages or leaks.


12.1     The development does not affect any national or local sites of importance for nature
         conservation and comprises operational land which has previously been subject to
         engineering operations including hard surfacing.                The proposal therefore raises no issues
         in terms of ecological impact or archaeology. The application site also lies outside the
         floodplain and therefore raises no floodplain protection issues.


13.1     The proposed development represents an important waste recovery facility, incorporating
         energy recovery, which will form a vital part of the necessary integrated waste management
         facilities to handle Leicester’s municipal waste over the next 25 years. It will help achieve
         and exceed statutory waste recovery and composting targets, in full accordance with
         national, regional and local waste planning policy, whilst at the same time achieving this in
         an environmentally acceptable way.                     The location of the composting and anaerobic

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                                  Page 26 of 27
         digestion facility at Wanlip is close to Leicester, thereby minimising road haulage, and the
         incorporation of the facility into a major, existing waste treatment facility has clear planning
         and environmental advantages and operational synergies with Severn Trent Water’s
         existing bio-solids recycling programme and outlets, in full accordance with relevant Waste
         Local Plan policy. The plant itself will use state-of-the art technology and will incorporate
         full containment of waste handling and processing operations, with air filtration and odour
         control. The siting and operation of the plant will not give rise to any unacceptable adverse
         impacts and the proposal complies with all relevant Development Plan criteria.             It is
         therefore considered both acceptable and desirable in planning terms.

Biffa Waste Services – Wanlip composting and anaerobic digestion plant
                                                                                          Page 27 of 27

To top