FAQs

A. About

01. What is Stoke Clinical Waste Incineration Facility?

Stoke Clinical Waste Incineration Facility is a new, state of the art, clinical waste treatment facility. It will be able to process up to 16,000 tonnes of clinical waste per year through a high temperature incineration process. As well as providing a much needed means of clinical waste disposal. Waste heat from the process will be recovered and used to generate saturated steam (steam in the water vapour and liquid water state at the same time), which in turn will be used to produce hot water and electricity.

02. What are the benefits of the facility?

The new facility will create 29 new and permanent local jobs.

The new facility will provide a safe, compliant and environmentally friendly means of treating clinical waste. It will also provide a much needed and cost-effective means of clinical waste disposal for organisations such as the National Health Service (NHS).

The electricity generated will be used to power the facility and any excess electricity exported to the local distribution network.

03. Why is this facility needed?

There is a lack of purpose-built clinical waste treatment facilities that are safe, compliant and environmentally friendly in the UK. This facility provides a cost-effective means of clinical waste disposal for organisations such as the National Health Service (NHS) and other private medical companies.

04. What sort of waste will the facility process?

Only very specific medical wastes can be accepted at the new facility in strict accordance with environmental permitting conditions. Medical wastes are classified by the European Waste Codes (EWC) system. The clinical wastes received at the new facility will mainly be those that are associated with yellow, orange and tiger stripe clinical waste bags.

05. Does the facility have planning consent?

Yes, the site was granted planning permission in March 2020.

06. How much will the project cost and how will it be funded?

The redevelopment work will cost approximately £20 million and is privately funded.

07. Why has this location been chosen?

Stoke was identified as a suitable location for a treatment facility of this nature given the vast amount of clinical waste which is both generated locally and is transferred through the area. The specific site was selected because of its previous use as a biomass facility which allows the reuse of the existing infrastructure and for the employment of skilled local labour during the operational phase of the project.

08. Are there other sites like this in the UK?

There are several other clinical waste treatment facilities in the UK that use an incineration process. Our Company Group operates a very similar plant at Malvern. You can find out more information by visiting www.malvernoperations.co.uk.

B. Who is who?

09. Who is behind the project?

The facility will be owned by Clinitek (Stoke) LLP.

The facility will be operated by Stoke Operations Limited.

Waste Energy Power (WEP) Partners have been appointed to deliver ongoing Management Services for the project on behalf of the owner, Clinitek (Stoke) LLP. Waste Energy Power (WEP) Partners will sit between Stoke Operations Limited and Clinitek (Stoke) LLP, covering project, technical and commercial management functions.

10. Who will construct the facility?

Cobalt Energy Limited will manage the overall construction of the facility.

The key Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractors are Incinco Limited (who will supply the incinerator technology), Heliex Power Limited (who will supply the power generation technology) and A1-CBISS (who will supply the emissions monitoring technology).

11. Who will supply the waste?

Andusia Hazchem Treatment Limited will supply the clinical waste for the facility.

C. Operation overview

12. What technology will be used?

Clinical waste will be treated using conventional reciprocating grate incineration technology. The technology will conform to the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), Directive 2010/75/EU, residence time and incineration temperature requirements, which is 1100°C for at least 2 seconds.

13. How does the process work?

Clinical waste will be delivered to the facility in specially designed sealed bins and registered via a computerised system. Bins will be visually inspected for clinical waste conformity and either accepted or rejected. Rejected bins will be returned to the waste supplier.

Bins will be mechanically loaded and weighed and then the clinical waste enters the incinerator reciprocating grate system.

A controlled flow of air and negative pressure will be maintained in the incinerator and gas path by means of an Induced Draft (ID) Fan. Combustion air fans provide the air (oxygen) for incineration at the grate. Start-up and supplementary burners are used to start incineration and maintain the temperature (1100oC) to ensure the complete burn-out of the clinical waste at the grate. Fuel oil and a combination of waste oil can also be used to maintain the process temperature.

Hot flue-gases flow from the incinerator through the gas path and are treated to reduce Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulphur Oxides (SOx) and heavy particulates, before exiting to the atmosphere via the stack. Maintaining the correct and optimum incineration conditions via a closed loop control system also greatly reduces pollutants. A Monitoring Certification Scheme (MCERTS) calibrated Continuous Emissions Monitoring System (CEMS) measures and records emissions to ensure they are in accordance with environmental permitting and legislation.

Incineration Bottom Ash (IBA) from the incinerator grate, fly ash fall-out from the hot flue gases and Air Pollution Control residues (APCr) will be collected and fed into receptacles (skips / bags) and transported to off-site facilities for treatment. IBA and APCr sampling will be completed for legal compliance as dioxins and furans cannot be measured via CEMS.

Waste heat will be extracted from the hot flue gases via a fire tube, Waste Heat Recovery Boiler (WHRB) situated in the gas path. The heat recovery boiler raises saturated steam that is fed to steam screws, which rotate to drive electrical generators. The saturated steam will also be used to produce hot water to sterilise the bins. 

The electricity generated will be used to power the facility and any excess electricity exported to the local distribution network.

14. Are there any products left at the end of the process and, if so, what happens to them?

The process produces minimal by-products, which are effluent water, Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA), Air Pollution Control Residues (APCR) and fly ash and flue gases. Effluent water will be treated and cleaned. Incinerator Bottom Ash can be recycled in aggregate production and used as sub-base for roads for example. Air Pollution Control Residues and fly ash will be treated at a licensed facility off-site. Flue gases will be treated to render them safe in accordance with environmental permitting conditions, before they are released to the atmosphere via the stack.

15. When will the facility open and how long will it operate for?

The facility is scheduled to begin commercial operations August 2021. It is designed to operate for 25 years.

16. What will be the operation times?

The facility will operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year for operation and maintenance. Actual incinerator operation is scheduled for 8000 hours per year.

Deliveries will take place:

• 07.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday inclusive

• 08.00 to 13.00 Saturdays

• Waste will not be accepted on Sundays or Public/Bank Holidays

D. Traffic

17. Will there be additional traffic on the road?

When operational, there will be additional traffic mainly consisting of clinical waste deliveries, residue collections and staff vehicles. The number of deliveries for Stoke Clinical Waste Incinerator will be less than the planned for the original, existing facility and therefore will not significantly impact the local road network.

Deliveries will only take place between:

• 07.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday inclusive

• 08.00 to 13.00 Saturdays

• Waste will not be accepted on Sundays or Public/Bank Holidays

18. What are the proposed traffic routes?

The facility is located adjacent to Scotia Road (53°03’13.4″N 2°12’19.2″W). Vehicles will access and leave the site via the A50.

19. Are you putting precautions in place to ensure deliveries do not disrupt the local community?

There is a construction phase plan and traffic management plan in place. It considers traffic time, motion and scheduling to minimise public highway disruption and is strictly adhered to at all times. The traffic management plan will be adapted to the operational phase.

E. Air quality

20. Will there be an impact on local air quality?

A facility must have a valid environmental permit in order to operate. In accordance with environmental permitting requirements, emissions from this facility will not impact the existing / background air, land and water conditions. Once operational, facilities are required to record and report all environmental breaches and if the breach cannot be controlled and kept within the ranges set out in the environmental permit, the plant must shutdown and the issue resolved before restarting operations.

21. What comes out of the stack?

The vast majority of stack emissions are composed of inert gases that are already present in the atmosphere:

  • Oxygen
  • Water vapour
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Trace amounts of carbon monoxide
  • Very small amounts of dust
  • Trace amounts of gaseous and vaporous organic substances, expressed as total organic carbon
  • Trace amounts of sulphur dioxide
  • Trace amounts of hydrogen chloride
  • Trace amounts of hydrogen fluoride
  • Trace metals
  • Very small amounts of dioxins and furans

These emissions are all governed by the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and must be sampled, monitored (using accredited and calibrated equipment), recorded, controlled and audited under environmental permitting conditions issued for the facility.

22. What about dioxins, furans and very fine particles?

Any emission breaches must be dealt with immediately by means of process control or facility shutdown, and reported. Best available technology and operational standards will be employed at the facility. These emissions are all governed by the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and must be sampled, monitored (using accredited and calibrated equipment), recorded, controlled and audited under the environmental permitting conditions issued for the facility.

23. Will there be a plume?

Under normal operational conditions there will be a minimal visible plume from the stack. The plume may be more visible at close proximity, depending on atmospheric conditions.

24. How will you ensure the facility’s emissions are safe?

The facility must comply with all issued permits and consents, which in turn are issued in accordance with current legislation. Stoke Operations Limited uses an Integrated Business Management System (IBMS) that consists of policies, processes and procedures to ensure operations conform to all issued consents. The facility will use best available technology and operation and maintenance practices to ensure the designed performance. All emissions will be sampled, monitored (using accredited and calibrated equipment, including off-site laboratories), recorded, controlled and audited under the environmental permitting conditions issued for the facility.

25. Who regulates the facility?

The key regulators for the facility are:

  • The Local Authority (LA) – Stoke-on-Trent City Council
  • The Environment Agency (EA)
  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

F. Noise and odour

26. Will the plant be noisy?

As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) a detailed noise assessment is conducted which establishes the baseline noise levels in the locality and sets an acceptable noise level for the plant. The new facility has been designed to comply with the acceptable noise level during full operation.

27. Will the process create an odour?

The process will not produce an odour outside the facility boundary during normal operations. The clinical waste will arrive in specially designed sealed bins. Any waste storage that is necessary prior to incineration will be temporary and waste will only be stored within the building. 

G. Visual appearance

28. What will the plant look like?

An artist’s impression of how the facility may look, looking East, is available here.

29. Will it look significantly different to the existing building; what are the main changes?

The new facility will not look significantly different. There will be different external equipment such as tanks. An artist’s impression of how the facility may look, looking East, is available here.

30. Will the site be landscaped and screened?

Yes, the facility groundwork will be landscaped to blend with the surrounding area. It will be screened and the existing boundaries will be left intact.

31. How will the plant be illuminated at night?

The facility will only be externally illuminated as necessary for staff safety and security purposes. External lights will be energy saving and activated by movement, where appropriate.

H. Safety

32. Is the facility safe?

Yes. The facility has been designed in accordance with all applicable standards and safety legislation and will be certified and insured accordingly. The facility will be operated and maintained in accordance with all applicable standards and legislation. The facility will be audited and accredited by licensed third parties. The new facility is safe for its staff and the public alike.

33. How have the health risks of the facility been assessed?

The facility completed an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) in order to receive planning consent. The EIA showed that there will be no unacceptable environmental effects. In addition, the facility will have to apply to the Environmental Agency for an Environmental Permit (EP) before it is able to operate. The EP will set out the strict operating conditions the facility must adhere to, to protect the environment and local community. 

Once operational, the EA will continue to monitor and enforce the safety standards for the lifetime of the facility. The facility will meet all applicable standards and safety legislation and will be certified and insured accordingly – this includes emissions. Stoke Operations Limited will use Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)s as part of the Integrated Business Management System (IBMS). We will undertake Risk Assessments (RA)s for all of our operational activities which affect staff and may affect the public.

34. Is it true that people living near such facilities have a higher chance of health problems?

There is no scientific evidence to support this. Research studies conducted and published to date have concluded that there is no conclusive link between incineration facilities’ activities and public health issues in the surrounding localities.

The latest position statement from Public Health England is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/municipal-waste-incinerators-emissions-impact-on-health/phe-statement-on-modern-municipal-waste-incinerators-mwi-study

35. What studies have been done into the impact of incineration on human health and the environment?

Detailed research has been published by UK public and private organisations and similar international organisations. Studies published to date have concluded that there is no conclusive link between incineration facilities’ activities and public health issues in the surrounding localities. The latest position statement from Public Health England guidance states:

“PHE’s risk assessment remains that modern, well run and regulated municipal waste incinerators are not a significant risk to public health. While it is not possible to rule out adverse health effects from these incinerators completely, any potential effect for people living close by is likely to be very small.

“This view is based on detailed assessments of the effects of air pollutants on health and on the fact that these incinerators make only a very small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants.”

Public Health England, PHE statement on modern municipal waste incinerators (MWIs) study, updated October 15 2019. Read the full position statement here.

Research is ongoing and one of the most recent studies was conducted by the Small Area Health Statistics Unit at Imperial College London, funded by Public Health England and the Scottish Government, which looked at Municipal Waste Incinerators (MWI)s at 22 sites across the UK between 2003 and 2010. The study examined the effect on infant mortality or reduced foetal growth in those areas and no conclusive link to facility emissions was found.

B. Parkes, A.L. Hansell, R.E. Ghosh et al. Risk of congenital anomalies near municipal waste incinerators in England and Scotland: Retrospective population-based cohort study, Environmental International, volume 134 (2020), 104845

36. What happens if a vehicle transporting the clinical waste is involved in an accident?

The waste supplier will have emergency preparedness plans to cover a variety of potential situations where their own specialists would work closely with emergency services.

37. Will there be any discharge from the facility into local waterways?

Only rainwater (surface water) is discharged to the local waterway. Rainwater and effluent water systems are completely independent and no wastewater from the process would be discharged into local waterways.

38. Who will monitor the facility for safety and compliance?

  • The Local Authority (LA) – Stoke-on-Trent City Council
  • The Environment Agency (EA)
  • Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
  • Appointed professional consultants

I. Construction

39. Who will build the facility?

Cobalt Energy Limited will manage the overall construction of the facility, including; groundworks, civil engineering works, structural steel works and Mechanical, Electrical, Control and Instrumentation (MEC&I) works.

The key Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractors are Incinco Limited (who will supply the incinerator technology), Heliex Power Limited (who will supply the power generation technology) and A1-CBISS (who will supply the emissions monitoring technology).

40. What is the construction schedule?

The enabling works began during May 2020 and the facility is due to be commercially operational by August 2021. 

41. What will the working hours be during the construction phase?

7am to 6pm (Monday to Friday).

42. How much construction traffic will there be and what routes will the vehicles take?

The facility is a relatively small construction project. Most additional traffic movements will come from the construction workforce. Delivery vehicles, for material and process equipment deliveries, will only access and leave the site between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday. There is a construction phase traffic management plan in place which considers traffic time, motion and thus scheduling in accordance with the facility consents. This minimises public highway disruption and is strictly adhered to at all times. Vehicle access is via the A50. Traffic activity will peak between November 2020 to July 2021.

43. What measures are in place to make sure construction activities are not disruptive to the local community?

The site is situated in an existing industrial estate. As with other successful projects, Cobalt Energy Limited will actively engage with local stakeholders and the community to form positive working relationships. 

J. Jobs and suppliers

44. Will there be any job opportunities and how can I apply?

There will be both construction and operational job opportunities. As part of our recruitment strategy, job opportunities will be posted in our ‘jobs’ webpage with details on how to apply.

45. Will be there be supplier opportunities and how can we be considered?

For construction goods and services suppliers, please contact admin@cobaltenergy.co.uk. For operational goods and services suppliers, please contact admin@stokeoperations.co.uk.

K. Community

46. Will the facility benefit the local community?

Yes, it will create 29 permanent jobs, and it will use local goods and services suppliers wherever possible. 

47. How will you keep local people up to date with the project?

Our website will be updated on a regular basis as the project progresses.

48. Where can I go for more information?

For construction questions, please contact admin@cobaltenergy.co.uk.

For operational questions, please contact admin@stokeoperations.co.uk.