Inside the giant furnace that will burn all of our rubbish

The Greatmoor EFW plant
The Greatmoor EFW plant

A huge incinerator which will create enough power to fuel all the homes in Buckingham and Aylesbury combined is nearing completion.

The Greatmoor Energy From Waste (EFW) facility is located just outside of Calvert and the project is being spearheaded by Bucks County Council and waste management company FCC Environment.

The Greatmoor EFW plant

The Greatmoor EFW plant

Work began on the giant site in September 2013, and the incinerator is expected to be fully operational by spring next year.

News of the plans caused concerns for nearby residents, with fears over increased traffic volumes and emmissions from the burning waste voiced throughout the process.

But developers at the state-of-the-art facility say that any fumes created by the waste will be repurposed within the site, and that there will be no smell.

They also claim that a new link road, and using trains to ship waste to honour contracts from Hertfordshire and North London will alieviate the traffic issue.

The Greatmoor EFW plant

The Greatmoor EFW plant

Innovations at the site include giant claws to help move the waste around the huge incinerator waste holding area, and a heated ramp to the tipping hall so that work can continue during bad weather.

The whole process is controlled from on high at a Starship Enterprise-style control centre which looms large at the top of the giant pit.

Richard Bellfield, FCC Environment’s group development director, said: “Greatmoor EFW will convert Buckinghamshire’s household and business waste that cannot otherwise be recycled into renewable energy and reduce the county’s dependence on unsustainable and expensive landfill disposal.

“The contract will run for 30 years brining significant sustainability and economic benefits to Buckinghamshire.

The Greatmoor EFW plant

The Greatmoor EFW plant

“The new facility will treat up to 300,000 tonnes of residual waste each year and will generate 22MW of electricity – this is the equivalent to the energy required to power up to 36,000 homes.”

The council says that savings made by the plant, which includes avoiding landfill tax and other penalties, will save council tax payers £150million over the lifetime of the 30 year contract.

However, the ash generated by the incinerator will still go to landfill, at a rate of around five tonnes a day.

This ash is not harmful to the environment, and developers say it can also be used in the road resurfacing process which may be an option long term.

The Greatmoor EFW plant

The Greatmoor EFW plant

Site workers will also be needed, and the 46 full-time members of staff needed to man the plant are expected to be found within the community.

Councillor Warren Whyte, local councillor and portfolio holder for planning and the environment at Bucks County Council, said: “This is great news for Buckinghamshire and our residents because it deals with our refuse problem.

“It deals with the very significant amount of money that landfill is costing the taxpayer.

“We have had a lot of people coming forward with concerns, and I think we have resolved most of them. The fact that the Environment Agency has already certified really helps. I hope that the education facility here will be a way of explaining the process.”