Frequently Asked Questions
At Ford ERF, we will treat 275,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste each year and generate enough energy to power 68,000 homes. That’s equivalent to powering a town the size of Bognor Regis.
We’ll also provide a boost to the local economy, generating employment and supply chain opportunities, as well as training schemes for apprentices.
The significant changes we have made to our application also include altering the architectural design of the facility and improving the site layout in order to minimise visual impact and to optimise the opportunities for landscaping on site.
The main building itself will contain a tipping hall, waste bunker, boiler house, ash storage, turbine and flue gas treatment. There will be separate structures for the transformer and electrical rooms and air-cooled condenser.
The Waste Sorting and Transfer Facility will contain a large waste processing building and car parking.
You can also see how the proposed facility would look from the South Downs National Park. This image form part of our visual impact assessment, which will be included with other viewpoints as part of our planning application. View viewpoints from the SDNP
Both facilities have been designed to minimise noise where possible. Site management procedures will be adopted to manage this.
During operations, periodic perimeter surveys would check for odours and the results would be recorded in an operations log book that would be available for inspection by the Environment Agency.
All areas where waste is handled are fully enclosed within the buildings.
ERFs in the circular economy
The waste hierarchy ranks waste management options according to what is considered to be best for the environment. At the top (best for the environment) is waste prevention and avoidance. At the bottom (worst for the environment) is disposal to landfill. Energy recovery sits above landfill on this spectrum and is therefore considered a better option.
Over the last three decades there’s been a distinct push to drive waste further up the hierarchy and avoid environmentally costly landfill, which emits harmful greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane.
Energy recovery facilities offer a more sustainable option for diverting from landfill waste that can’t be recycled or re-used and therefore plays a vital role in the waste hierarchy.
Ford ERF will treat waste material left over after the recyclable elements have already been removed. This type of waste is referred to as ‘residual waste’.
Materials that have been separated and collected for recycling will only be treated by Ford ERF if the material is subsequently found to be too contaminated to recycle.
Both Grundon and Viridor operate recycling facilities, such as Viridor’s materials recovery facility (MRF) at Ford. Both businesses actively encourage their clients to improve their recycling rates. This not only has environmental benefits but also makes good business sense.
Investment in recycling infrastructure is largely determined by the global secondary raw materials markets. The performance of recycling and the availability of recyclable materials in the waste stream is also influenced by a range of complex factors – including product and packaging design choices and materials, demographic, and geographic factors.
The government is working to improve the situation by addressing the issues holding back recycling rates and this will lead to further private investment in the recycling sector.
Occasionally, waste that has been separated for recycling will be judged subsequently to be too contaminated to be effectively recycled. This could mean it has not been segregated properly at source or is too dirty e.g. food contamination. In these cases, it may need to be treated at an energy recovery facility.
The waste management industry has been very successful at increasing recycling rates over the last 20 years. However, when the recycling rate gets close to 50 per cent – as it is now - there are several complex factors that make it increasingly harder to make ongoing improvements. Progress can, and will, still be made but the speed of that progress becomes slower and residual waste will still need to be managed responsibly as the recycling rates slowly improve.
Grundon Waste Management and Viridor are both committed to increasing recycling rates. This includes offering support and advice to their clients to help them improve their recycling rates – as this not only has environmental benefit but also makes good business sense.
Grundon Waste Management’s materials recovery facilities have an annual capacity of over 400,000 tonnes, and through state-of-the-art sorting technology, typically recover 90 per cent of these materials for recycling. You can find out more about Grundon’s work on its website.
Viridor’s material recycling facilities also operate to a similarly high recovery rate. You can find out more on its website.
The residual waste processed will be a mix of biogenic waste (food and organic material) and fossil-based waste (plastic etc). The energy generated can therefore be considered as partially renewable as the biogenic portion is recognised to be a lower carbon alternative to fossil fuels.
However, when biogenic residual waste is in landfill it degrades and releases methane - a more potent global warming gas than CO2. Methane is not produced by energy recovery facilities.
So, on balance, treating residual waste by energy recovery instead of sending it to landfill saves 200kg of CO2e per tonne of waste treated and also avoids the release of the more potent methane.
The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has created an FAQ in response to questions about the role and operation of energy recovery facilities in the UK, you can read this here.
Traffic and transport
You can view our proposed HGV route here.
Environmental and technical
We would use a continuous, automatic monitoring system, which operates 24 hours a day, all year round. The monitoring results would be automatically sent to the regulator – the Environment Agency – which reviews them against the relevant UK and international standards.
You can find out more information on how emissions are monitored here
- Dust (Particulates) - Particulate Matter is generally categorised on the basis of the size of the particles. It is made up of a wide range of materials and can arise from a variety of sources. Particulate Matter derives from both human-made and natural sources, such as sea spray, Saharan dust and volcanic eruptions. In the UK one of the biggest human-made sources of particulate matter is transport.
- Total Organic Carbon - Total Organic Carbon is part of a group of liquids and gases often called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many industrial processes emit VOCs including printing, surface coating and painting, however, households and road transport also contribute a substantial fraction.
- Hydrogen Chloride (HCl) - At room temperature, Hydrogen Chloride exists as either a colourless or slightly yellow gas. The main source of Hydrogen Chloride is old coal burning power stations.
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) - Carbon Monoxide is formed from incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels. The largest source is from road transport; older vehicles which do not have catalytic convertors produce significant amounts with newer cars producing very little.
- Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)- UK emissions are dominated by combustion of fuels containing Sulphur, such as coal and heavy oils by power stations and refineries. In some parts of the UK, notably Northern Ireland, coal for domestic use is a significant source.
- Oxides of Nitrogen - All combustion processes in air produce oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO) are both oxides of nitrogen and together are referred to as NOx Road transport is the main source, but this can also be formed in lightning storms and from natural breakdown processes in soil and water.
Emissions management is built into the design of the ERF. Flue gases are treated to ensure ERFs are a low source of environmental pollutants and contribute only a small fraction of both local and national total emissions of particles.
Non-recyclable waste is burnt under controlled conditions and heat from the combustion process generates high pressure steam and energy. The combustion gases are cleaned before they are released to atmosphere. There are typically four components to the flue gas cleaning and abatement technique:
- Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction (SNCR), by injecting urea into the combustion chamber, abates nitrogen oxides;
- Hydrated lime reagent, is injected to neutralise acid gas compounds;
- Activated carbon, is injected to absorb mercury, dioxins and furans;
- Bag filtration remove fine particulates.
During operations, the ERF and WSTF will create 58 permanent jobs, 54 of these jobs will be at the ERF and 4 will be at the WSTF.