New food waste processing site proposed for West Sussex

Thursday, 3 March 2022 06:00

By Karen Dunn - Local Democracy Reporter

Local Councillors have supported the idea of modifying a West Sussex waste treatment site to enable it to process food waste.

The £7.3m project, which would take around one year to complete, has been proposed by the county council for the Brookhurst Wood mechanical biological treatment facility, near Warnham.

The idea was tabled after the Environment Act 2021 required district and borough councils to collect food waste separately from recycling or general household rubbish.

No starting date for the collections has yet been set by the government but when it is, the responsibility for disposing of that waste will fall on the county council.

During a scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday (March 2), members discussed how the council’s 25-year contract with Biffa, which operates Brookhurst Wood, would have to be varied.

The rather expensive alternative would be to end the contract – incurring a £27m termination fee – and look elsewhere for food waste disposal options.

Chairman David Britton said the committee understood and supported the adaptation of Brookhurst Wood. It will fall to the members of the cabinet to make a final decision, based on a detailed business case.

Deborah Urquhart, cabinet member for environment & climate change, added: “It’s this council’s policy that we move as soon as we can in practical terms for food waste collections – not least because it saves residents on average £700 per year.

“That’s what they’re throwing away in food waste – 40 per cent of the black bag is food waste. It’s huge.”

If all goes as planned, the multi-million pound investment would not only allow  Brookhurst Wood to process food waste, it would also provide a Dry Mixed Recycling centre for Horsham District Council.

The district does not currently have one, meaning its recycling has to be delivered to sites in Ford, Burgess Hill or Crawley – with the county council ‘compensating’ the district to the tune of £314,000 per year.

Not only would the improved facility eliminate that cost, it would also reduce the number of lorries on the road and the pollution they bring. The government is expected to announce a starting time and funding details later this year.

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