Despite the recession dominating trading across the UK during 2009, SITA UK, one of the country’s leading recycling and resource management companies, is looking forward to continuing success in the north east of England.
Nationally, SITA UK serves over 12 million people and handles more than 10.6 million tonnes of domestic, commercial and industrial waste through a network of facilities.
The company, which has a turnover in excess of £840 million, employs over 6,000 staff – with around 350 here in the north east. Its business activities have a tremendous impact on the regional economy by also supporting hundreds of additional jobs in the construction, goods and services supply chain.
"2009 has been a difficult year for most companies in the UK," said John Grainger, SITA UK’s processing general manager for the north east.
"The recycling and waste management industry has been no exception. Across our industrial and commercial business, our customers have been tightening their belts and our public sector clients are in similar positions.
"However, despite this back drop, we have had a very good year here in the north east, where we have seen significant investment, particularly in Northumberland and the Tees Valley. Importantly, I anticipate that there will be considerably more investment to come in 2010."
Services provided by SITA UK include recycling, business and residential waste disposal, street cleansing, landfill engineering, civic amenity site management and creating energy from waste… in fact, every aspect of recycling and waste management.
Mr Grainger firmly believes the company is having a tremendous impact across the region.
"We are delivering environmentally-responsible and increasingly innovative solutions for the public, local government, industry and commerce, enabling our customers to reduce their own impact on the environment," he said.
Over the last 12 months, some major waste management initiatives have come to fruition across the region, with investment topping £100 million.
"In October 2009 we officially opened a £70 million extension at the Tees Valley energy from waste facility at Haverton Hill. The plant has taken residual waste from the Tees Valley boroughs since it first opened ten years ago, and has been accepting waste from Northumberland since the new extension became operational in May this year," he added
"The extension, which created 25 new jobs, takes the capacity of the whole facility to 390,000 tonnes of waste a year, making it SITA UK’s largest EfW site in the country. Best of all, it creates 30MW of electricity for the National Grid – that’s enough power to supply about 40,000 homes.
"SITA UK’s Tees Valley investment, together with an ultra-modern £12 million recycling facility built at West Sleekburn, Northumberland, and major improvements to a dozen household waste recycling centres across the county, is helping Northumberland County Council to divert 92 per cent of its household waste from landfill. Again, around 25 permanent jobs were created there. These projects have also been completed as part of SITA UK’s PFI contract with the county council."
Bigger plans for turning the region’s waste into energy are in the pipeline and could get underway in 2010, according to Mr Grainger. "We have received approval from Stockton Borough Council for a £120 million state-of-the-art facility, which will be built adjacent to the existing Tees Valley plant at Haverton Hill.
"The North East Energy Recovery Centre (NEERC) will give an enormous boost to the whole region and will help confirm the Tees Valley as a centre for energy recovery. It will manage up to 256,000 tonnes of waste each year and produce 21MW of electricity."
Once the NEERC is operational, SITA UK will have the capacity to handle around 640,000 tonnes of waste and generate over 50MW of electricity in the Tees Valley. And, as part of its drive towards sustainable development, this plant will also generate heat and power for use by local industries, which will greatly improve their sustainability.
Also planned in 2010, will be further major investment at the existing energy from waste facility to improve the plant that has been in place since the opening in 1998, and a multi-million pound enhancement to the In-Vessel Composting facility at Ellington, Northumberland.
Mr Grainger said "Investments on the scale that we have seen in 2009 made a significant contribution to the economic viability of the region during a period of general economic uncertainty.
"Everyone’s hoping that the economy significantly improves in 2010 and, as it does, SITA UK will be looking for major improvements in the marketplace and playing its part to ensure the region maintains its lead on recycling and renewable energy."