County councillors have praised the progress of a £200m incinerator which is due to open in less than a year.
Members recently visited the plant in Greatmoor, near Calvert, to check on the construction work carried out by contractors FCC Environment.
Despite its critics, who argue it will destroy the environment, the council says the ‘energy from waste’ plant will radically change the way waste is processed across Buckinghamshire by burning it to generate electricity instead of disposing of it in landfill.
The energy produced will be equivalent to that required for 36,000 homes – which is approximately 3,000 more than the total number of households in the towns of Aylesbury and Buckingham combined.
The new system will save taxpayers a minimum of £150m over the next 30 years.
David Martin, county councillor for Chalfont St Peter, who has actively followed every phase of the project, said: “This will be a wonderful facility for the residents of Buckinghamshire and for future generations.
“The new facility will be financially beneficial for council tax payers and dispose of waste in the most environmentally-sustainable way for all of our residents.”
Bill Chapple, chairman of the council, said of the site: “It’s phenomenal. I was very impressed. The new access road is brilliant. It takes away huge volumes of traffic from the surrounding villages.”
The Greatmoor plant is due to open next spring after about two-and-a-half years of building work.
Warren Whyte, the new cabinet member for planning and environment, who was given a tour of the site, said: “I was impressed at how near completion it is.
“The progress of the project has really cracked on. I was also pleasantly struck by the number of people employed at the site – there are currently 450 workers there.
“I am pleased to see the access road to the A41 is operational and that FCC is now getting ready for the commissioning part of the process later this year, in which they will start to burn waste in preparation for opening next year.
“I am keen to ensure that all of our planning obligations are dealt with in an expedient manner, and I am looking forward to seeing how the education element will operate when residents and school groups will be able to visit the plant when it opens next year.”
The plant’s steelwork is almost complete and with the cladding mostly complete, the final shape of the building is much clearer.
The council says the emission limits and monitoring requirements for the plant will be very strict.
Data on emissions is strictly monitored by the Environment Agency. This information will be available to the public and can be viewed on their website.