Government cash to fund Milton Keynes Council biomethane scheme

editorial image

MILTON Keynes is set to benefit from £1.8million of Government cash which will enable council waste vehicles to run on biomethane.

The cash will be used to purchase new chassis for Milton Keynes Council’s 13 food and garden waste collection vehicles. This will enable them to run on biomethane produced from the borough’s organic waste.

The council is one of 85 local authorities which have been successful in a bid for funding from the Weekly Collection Support Scheme set up by the Department for Communities and Local Government to support weekly refuse collection.

The funding will provide considerable savings to the council in rising fuel costs, which will help keep the cost of weekly waste collections down.

It will begin in 2013/14, with the aim of delivering new vehicles by 2014/15.

Currently all the food and garden waste collected from the green bins is taken to a specialist plant in Cambridgeshire where it is turned into compost.

The council is currently progressing plans to build its own anaerobic digestion plant in Milton Keynes, which will treat all the organic waste and generate biomethane.

Boimethane is similar to natural gas but as it’s produced from organic waste is renewable. This will be used to fuel the collection vehicles.

The new plant is scheduled to be in operation during 2014.

Additional benefits offered by the converted vehicles include lower CO2 emissions using fuel from a renewable source and improved air quality as biomethane produces less particulate and fewer nitrogen oxide emissions than diesel.

Councillor David Hopkins, the council’s member for environment and waste, sai: “We are delighted to have secured such a substantial sum as we understand the Government received 130 bids from councils across the country.

“This funding will enable us to make further savings, using our own waste to fuel our collections vehicles, providing a sustainable solution to rising fuel costs.”

In another green waste-related move, the council has just signed a contract with FCC Environment to divert 50,000 tonnes of household black sack waste from landfill each year from April 2013.

Waste in black sacks will be taken to a new materials recycling facility at Bletchley landfill site, which will recycle any recyclable materials found and produce waste derived fuel, known as solid recovered fuel (SRF). This can be used to generate low carbon energy.

Andy Hudson, the council’s head of environment and waste, said: “Milton Keynes Council is focused on reducing waste to landfill whilst improving environmental performance across the borough. This new contract with FCC Environment will help significantly with Milton Keynes’ ambition of zero waste to landfill.”

Milton Keynes’ black sack waste will be treated by FCC Environment until its own waste treatment facility, Milton Keynes Waste Recovery Park, becomes operational in Old Wolverton. The plant is expected to be up and running in 2016.