SOME 15,000 tonnes of extra rubbish could be brought into Sheffield each year from neighbouring areas and burned at the city’s incinerator under plans announced by contractor Veolia.
The proposals have been announced after a fall in the amount of rubbish produced by Sheffield homes and businesses as recycling rates have increased.
Recycling collected increased by 22 per cent in the first month since fortnightly black bin collections were introduced in August.
Veolia needs to ensure the incinerator remains viable because it provides power for the National Grid and heat for 140 buildings in the city centre.
Already, the incinerator burns 50,000 tonnes of rubbish from outside Sheffield to help make up its 225,000 tonnes annual capacity.
Coun Jillian Creasy, Sheffield Council central ward Green Party councillor, said: “If Sheffield’s incinerator is to become a regional facility there needs to be a regional strategy developed with neighbouring councils.
“Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham Councils are developing their own facility but there is a need to consider the overall capacity and how it should be used.
“The situation of having to import waste to ensure Sheffield’s incinerator remains viable, only a decade after it was built, shows the danger of signing long-term contracts with private companies when circumstances may change.”
She added: “Given the location of the incinerator, consideration could be made of bringing waste into Sheffield by canal or rail.”
Nigel Williams, Director for Veolia Environmental Services in Sheffield, said: “The planning application will not lead to any physical changes at the energy recovery facility or any increase to the existing capacity.
“Facilities such as the one we have here in Sheffield recovers energy from waste that would otherwise be lost by going to landfill. It is vital that the plant operates at optimum efficiency.”