Suffolk’s energy-from-waste facility has been completed on time and on budget, and the site has started producing electricity – fulfilling its purpose of putting the county’s waste to good use. The site, at Great Blakenham,  has been taking the waste that can’t be recycled from homes and businesses across Suffolk, and beyond, since June when testing of all of the equipment and procedures began. But today, the testing phase was successfully finised, and the facility handed over from the building contractors to SITA UK who will run it for the next 25 years, on behalf of Suffolk County Council.

Already electricity is being generated by the plant, which it is estimated will save the county £8million this year alone. The facility will reduce our carbon emissions, produce enough electricity for 30,000 homes and is on track to achieve the environmental gold standard of BREEAM excellence.

energy_from_waste_facility_g010811 In 2012, the project picked up the Local Government Chronicle award for being the best example in the country of a council and private company working together for the benefit of local people. Following a number of high-scoring inspections, the site was judged one of the best run building sites in the country under the Considerate Constructors Scheme, which scores sites on a number of factors including safety, the welfare of staff and consideration for the local community.

The scheme has brought a number of benefits to the local community. During construction over 100 Suffolk firms won contracts, worth around £13.5 million, to supply goods and services to the site and it is estimated further £1 million a year will continue to be spent in the local economy. It has created 47 new jobs on site and a further 200 could be created if the proposed greenhouse project, which will use surplus heat from the site to grow tomatoes, goes ahead.

Already, eleven projects, including Great Blakenham village hall, Sproughton church hall and the 24 Ipswich Scout Group, have received over £240,000 of funding from the SITA Trust to improve their facilities. The funding is available to groups within a three-mile radius of the site.