Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is BDR?

The BDR Waste Partnership is a partnership of Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham Councils set up over two decades ago to jointly manage waste generated in the three boroughs, where it is beneficial to do so.

Why work together on this?

The three councils are neighbours with similar populations and can help each other. Working together is a more efficient way to use resources for services and facilities which cross local authority boundaries. It makes the most of economies of scale, reduces the need for transport and therefore the impact on the environment, and provides best value for the taxpayer.

In some cases, the three councils are also able to work with Sheffield City Council, for example in the development of the South Yorkshire Waste Strategy. By working together, the four Councils are able to form a collective direction for waste management in South Yorkshire.

Does the BDR Waste Treatment Facility mean recycling is not so important?

Definitely NOT, recycling is more important than ever.

Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham councils are committed to increasing recycling rates. In 2001, recycling rates across the three authorities were around 3%. Vigorous campaigning by the three councils and a great response from local people mean this figure is now more than 40% and rising. However, the three councils aim to exceed 50% with the help of local people, continued service promotion and the BDR Waste Treatment Facility.

Who deals with the leftover waste?

After it is collected by the Council or their contractor, leftover waste is delivered to the waste treatment facility at Manvers operated by Renewi.  

The contract with Renewi is set to run until 2040

How safe are the technologies?

Very safe. They are subject to the most stringent regulations and highest industry monitoring standards, with overall benefits to the environment. The facility is regulated by the Environment Agency.

What is Mechanical Biological Treatment?

Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) is a method of treating mixed household waste as well as commercial and industrial waste. In the biological part of the process, waste is shredded and dried before useful materials such as metals, plastics, glass and stone and fine organic material are removed in the mechanical part of the process. The remaining waste is classed as Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF).

How is the leftover waste dealt with?

Leftover household waste that is collected in refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) is either delivered directly to the BDR Waste Treatment Facility in Manvers, Rotherham or to a waste transfer station.

There are two waste transfer stations in the area, Grange Lane Transfer Station in Barnsley which is operated by Renewi and Doncaster Waste Transfer Station in Kirk Sandall, Doncaster which is operated by Suez.

Waste delivered to the transfer stations is bulked up and brought to the BDR Waste Treatment Facility. Waste Transfer Stations are used to reduce the number of vehicles delivering waste to a facility, increase the speed with which a full RCV can be emptied and return to collections and reduce the environmental impacts of haulage.

Once at the facility, waste is processed through a Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) process where it is shredded and dried before useful materials such as metals, plastics, glass and stone and fine organic material are removed. The remaining waste is classed as Solid Recovered Fuel and transported to the Multi-fuel energy generation facility in Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire, where it is used to produce low-carbon electricity.

The metals, plastics and glass and stone that are extracted are sent to specialist recycling re-processors where this material is sorted by material type and used to make new products.

The fine organic material remains on site at the BDR Waste Treatment Facility and is taken to the dry Anaerobic Digestion Facility. Here it is mixed with woodchip and the moisture driven out of the waste during the drying process. This mix is placed into a fermenter where bio-gas is released from the waste as it breaks down. The bio-gas, a mixture of carbon dioxide and methane, is captured and used to generate a proportion of the electricity needed for the site. It also produces heat that is used in the AD process to warm the organic material and speed up the digestion process. The plant makes a compost-like output that is used on land reclamation and remediation projects.

Does the plant burn waste?

The MBT process does not involve burning waste at the Bolton Road site. At the end of the process a dried fuel is produced which is taken to Multi-fuel in Ferrybridge and burned in an electricity generation plant which produces enough low-carbon energy to power up to 160,000 homes.

How long is the waste in the building?

The drying process takes around 14 days. The waste reduces in weight by a third as it is dried and is then sorted and recyclable materials removed. The smallest particles of organic waste, called ‘fines’, are then transferred to the AD building where they are fermented for four weeks. This produces bio-gas, a blend of methane and carbon dioxide gases, which are used to generate electricity to help supply the Bolton Road site.

What is dry Anaerobic Digestion?

Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is a series of processes in which micro-organisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. Here the fine organic material separated in the MBT is mixed with woodchip and the moisture driven out of the waste during the drying process. This mix is placed into a fermenter, a warm, sealed, airless container. Bio-gas is released from the waste as it breaks down. The bio-gas, a mixture of carbon dioxide and methane, is captured and used to generate a proportion of the electricity used on the site as well as producing heat used in the AD process and a compost-like output that is used on land reclamation and remediation projects.

AD is a renewable energy source as it produces bio-gas which is used to generate heat and electricity.

Does the facility operate 24 hours a day?

Parts of the facility – the biodrying fans, biofilters, dust extraction system and AD plant – are in operation 24 hours a day while other parts of the process – the extraction of recyclates and fuel – are restricted to 6am to 11pm. There are also restrictions on vehicle movements, vehicles will arrive and leave between set hours. Usually vehicle movements are within normal working hours, 6am to 7pm Monday to Friday, with the Council typically delivering waste between 7am to 3pm. A much smaller number of vehicle movements will take place outside of these hours and at weekends.

Is the facility staffed 24 hours a day?

The facility is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Staffing numbers vary throughout the day and week depending on the needs of the business and the operation of the facility, with staff working a range of differing shift patterns depending on their role.

How is the health of local residents safeguarded?

The facility has been designed to the stringent standards currently in operation and set by the World Health Organisation. The design and operating regime of the facility were scrutinised by the Environment Agency before an Environmental Permit was issued to the operator. The plant is monitored continuously by the operator, the three councils and the Environment Agency.

What is an environmental permit?

An environmental permit is a document issued by a regulating body that sets out the conditions that the operator of a facility must follow to ensure prevention of harm to the environment or human health.

Why does the Bolton Road facility require an environmental permit?

The Bolton Road facility processes waste and for this reason requires an environmental permit.

What safeguards will there be about emissions, dust or smells?

The facility operates to the very highest standards set in law and by the Environment Agency and is continuously monitored by the agency, the three councils and the contractor. Strict regulations ensure that emissions do not have an impact on people or the environment. All waste is handled inside the facility. Any dust that is generated inside the facility is drawn through its air cleaning system, so it won’t be released outside. The facility is enclosed, so activities such as the unloading of waste take place inside. Silencers and acoustic shields have also been fitted and are used in a range of ways to keep noise to a minimum. All lights are shielded to ensure light is directed where it is needed and does not create a glow in the night sky.

How is the presence of flies minimised?

The facility is enclosed and doors are fast closing. Waste is processed as soon as possible after it is received. Pesticides suitable for fly control are used on a regular basis in the waste reception, shredding and bio-drying areas. Fly treatments take place throughout the year and the frequency of these is increased in fly season between the months of April and October and when the weather is warm. Fly numbers are monitored internally and externally with weekly samples sent to an entomologist for counting and classification, a daily fly count is also conducted within the facility to direct additional fly treatments as needed. Good housekeeping methods are used to reduce the chance of flies breeding on site and all cleaning activities are recorded in line with site procedures. Renewi and the Environment Agency are also conducting fly monitoring in the surrounding communities to ensure that fly populations are adequately controlled.

When did it open?

Construction work on access to the site began in Autumn 2012, with building of the facility itself beginning in the spring of 2013. The first waste was received into the site in February 2015 and the facility reached full service on 3rd July 2015.

How many jobs have been created?

The BDR Waste Treatment Facility employs over 60 staff in a range of roles including administration, engineering and multi-skilled operatives. A further four staff are employed at the Grange Lane Transfer Station. Over 90% of staff have been recruited from across South Yorkshire.

What kind of waste is dealt with at the site?

It is leftover household waste – in other words the waste we put in our black or grey bins in Barnsley and Doncaster or pink lid bins in Rotherham – as well as a very small amount (about five per cent) of office and shop waste. It is NOT toxic, medical or agricultural waste.

What impact do lorry movements have on the area?

Up to 150 vehicles go in and out of the plant each day (a total of up to 300 movements). This represents a tiny fraction of overall vehicle movements in the area. Care is taken to ensure that as few of these as possible are routed through populated areas. There is a traffic management plan as part of the contract which requires that the contractor minimises environmental impacts due to vehicles, as well as adhering to planning conditions. These vehicle movements are also routed to minimise traffic movements at peak traffic times.

What is a waste transfer station?

3SE operate Barnsley Council’s Grange Lane transfer station in Barnsley and Suez operate the Doncaster Waste Transfer Station in Kirk Sandall. Some refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) deposit their loads at a transfer station, where waste is bulked up into articulated lorries before it goes on for treatment or processing. This considerably reduces the number of journeys the RCVs make meaning they can return to collecting bins more quickly and it is significantly better for the environment due to the reduced traffic miles and fuel consumption.