A RENEWABLE energy company wants to build a power plant on green belt land, creating 12 full-time jobs.
Andigestion has lodged plans for a biogas facility on a 2.5hectare site at Harlington Quarry, north of Cranford Lane, to house buildings, storage and mixing tanks for the collected waste, plus generators.
The plant would generate electricity for the National Grid by the sustainable process of anaerobic digestion (AD), the treatment and processing of organic wastes to produce methane, which can be turned into power. Andigestion, a subsidiary of mineral company Summerleaze, picked the site from a starting point of 39 sites.
This was whittled down to a final six, which included the Tavistock Road former coal depot, in West Drayton, and the former Powergen site in North Hyde Gardens, Hayes.
They opted for Harlington Quarry because of its remote location, away from homes and other developments, and good access points.
The waste would be taken from the boroughs that are working together on the West London Waste Plan (WLWP) – Hillingdon, Ealing, Hounslow, Brent, Harrow and Richmond.
The aim of the WLWP is for self-sufficiency in dealing with waste, and to reduce reliance on landfill outside the capital.
It is proposed that up to 49,500 tonnes of household and commercial food waste would be treated at Harlington each year.
The nearest AD plant is in Northamptonshire, and Andigestion hopes that by offering this type of facility in west London, it will be able to compete for waste management contracts.
Mike Lowe, one of its directors, told the Gazette: “We are proposing a processing site within a catchment area that needs it.
“It is a very good location in terms of the lack of visual intrusion and screening by the surrounding trees. It would produce little noise, so we needed to consider how visible it would be.
“We looked at many sites and this one fitted our criteria best. Our biggest hurdle will be the fact it’s on green belt.”
The West London Composting plant in Harefield uses a different method to treat waste, and only deals with waste from three of the six boroughs.
The company first has to convince planners that it is not an ‘inappropriate development’ for green belt and there are ‘very special circumstances’, such as the benefit of a renewable energy source and the lack of a suitable alternative.
Andigestion produces 70 per cent of the electricity produced by AD at dedicated plants in Holsworthy, Devon – the first to be built in the UK – and in Cambridge.
The plans can be viewed by search for application number 2373/APP/2012/2011 on the Hillingdon Council website.
Summerleaze operates the sand and gravel quarry in New Denham.
■ Should this site be retained as green belt, or would a renewable power plant be good for the future? Email email@example.com.