Agenda item

A presentation will be provided by Mr Steve Bell, Waste Commissioning Lead Officer  Neighbourhood Services.


Mr Steve Bell, Deputy Head of Waste Management, Buckinghamshire Council, advised he was leading on the High Heavens Bio-waste Transfer Station project.  S Bell provided a presentation, see slides 3-14 of the slide deck appended to the minutes.  S Bell highlighted the following key points:


  • A brief history of the project.
  • An overhead photograph of the current High Heavens complex.
  • The sites which were affected by the project.
  • The preferred option showed the proposed layout; the dotted areas would be demolished.  The new food waste building would be moved to a new location on the site and would replace the existing Dano building.
  • Fire tanks would be available in case of fire.
  • The comparison to the previous project option and what had stayed the same/changed.
  • The proposed timescales indicated the project should be completed by the end of 2021.
  • The project would deliver significant improvements to the management of waste within the High Heavens Waste Complex, bring the facilities up to date with industry standards, ensure the site could continue to manage the waste produced from additional homes as the county grew and make it quicker and smoother for Council collection and contractor vehicles.


The following key points were raised in discussion:


  • Cllr Mike Pack, Chairman of Great Marlow PC, was disappointed and unable to support the proposal as it did not provide the facilities to process all the waste streams in a sanitised inhouse environment.  He felt that it was not clear how the proposal provided environmental protection as 80% of the waste streams would be processed externally for the next 20 years which would be a retrograde, short-sighted step.  Cllr Pack stated that Great Marlow Parish Council would set out mitigation measures in their response.  Cllr Pack also felt that it was not correct to say there would be no change in vehicle movements; they would double.  There was also a request to increase the operating hours which he believed would affect the local community. 
  • Following a query from Cllr Whitehead on how many dwellings were within 200 yards of the site and concern over the increased odour; S Bell advised he would have to check the number but stated that there would be no increase in the odour levels.  The new food waste building would be purpose-built with an air extraction system.  Other materials were dealt with on site and S Bell was not aware that there had recently been any odour issues; there were strict controls on how quickly the green waste was processed to prevent odour.  The new facility would not be treating any waste; it would be a transfer station.


  • Cllr Whitehead also requested confirmation on the number of vehicle movements and whether the facility would be large enough to cope with an increase in the number of dwellings over the next 20 years.  S Bell confirmed there would be no change, in the short-term, in the vehicle movements projected for the next 25 years to the previous application which had been granted.  S Bell advised he would email Cllr Whitehead on the number of projected dwellings and the vehicle movements.


  • Cllr Roger Wilson requested the cost of installing the new equipment and the return.  S Bell confirmed that the capital cost would be approximately £5 million, there would be no business income.  S Bell explained that, if Buckinghamshire Council had to go to the open market to secure a third party contractor to provide the services delivered at the High Heavens Waste Complex, it would be at a significant increase in cost to the Council.  The other alternative would be to build another facility.  S Bell agreed to provide some indicative costs relating to the use of third party contractors to provide the services by email to Cllr Wilson.


  • It was confirmed that the project would be considered by the Planning Committee.
  • In response to a query on the disadvantage of not managing waste undercover; S Bell explained that it was not sensible to process bulky waste undercover due to fire issues; this should be carried out in a separate area with fire systems on site.   Wood waste and green waste did not need to be undercover.  Green waste could have potential for odour, but the permit meant it had to be moved within a timeframe.  There was no odour from wood waste.  Food waste needed to be in a building due to animal by-products and odour. 


The Chairman thanked Steve Bell for attending and for his presentation.



Supporting documents: