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Landmark plans for the UK’s first plastics park were unanimously approved by Councillors at Cheshire West and Chester Council on 5 July 2022. Axis prepared the planning application and Environmental Impact Assessment for the £165m park, to be developed at Protos, the strategic energy and resource hub near Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. 

Artist’s impression of Plastics Park

Peel NRE, part of Peel L&P, are behind the blueprint, which will feature innovative processing and treatment technologies to recycle and recover value from up to 367,500 tonnes of mixed recyclables and plastic every year. The consent will also see a hydrogen refuelling station developed at the Plastics Park, with the overall scheme set to create 147 new jobs.

Andrew Russell, AXIS

Andrew Russell, Director at Axis, said: “We’re delighted at this next step towards solving the plastic problem, and this development will support the North West achieve its NetZero targets and boost the regional economy.”

“The application is the latest in a run of consents we’ve achieved for Protos at the Plastics Park. Successes include the UK’s first waste Plastic to Hydrogen facility using the pioneering Powerhouse Energy technology and a PET (polyethylene terephthalate) recycling plant that will take food and beverage packaging, such as plastic bottles, and recycle them for use in making new packaging products.”

Artist’s impression of Plastics Park

Richard Barker, Development Director at Peel NRE, part of Peel L&P, said:  “It’s great to get unanimous backing for the Plastics Park – a UK first that will underpin the circular economy in the North West. 

“It’s imperative we deliver creative solutions to the UK’s plastic problem. This project clusters recycling technologies in one place so that we can make the most of a whole range of plastic materials arriving on site, avoiding the need to ship them to different facilities around the region. It’ll mean we can cut down on vehicle movements, create 147 new jobs and deliver essential infrastructure to underpin a North West circular economy that’s much more sustainable. 

“We’ve planned Protos as a holistic destination to support the UK on the road to NetZero. With the recently announced Protos CO2 network, linking to the proposed regional carbon capture infrastructure, the Plastics Park is just another example of forward-thinking development that responds to dual-challenge of reducing our waste sent to landfill, whilst cutting carbon emissions.” 

Peel NRE is responding to the global challenge of dealing with problem plastic – with the UK producing some 4.9 million tonnes of annual plastic waste. As well as reducing the need for virgin plastic, the facilities will help save CO2 compared to other treatment routes currently used. 

It’s all part of a major push by the region’s political and business leaders to make the North West the first Net zero region by 2040.  

Artist’s impression of Plastics Park

The approved application features:  

  • A Materials Recycling Facility (MRF): which will separate out dry mixed recyclable materials (such as glass, paper, cans and card) into different waste streams and send them for recycling. 
  • Plastics Recycling Facility One (PRF1): plastic from the MRF and mixed plastics arriving pre-sorted to the site will be separated into different plastic types. The separated plastic will either go to PRF2 or the PET recycling plant already consented at Protos.   
  • Plastics Recycling Facility Two (PRF2): pre-sorted plastic from PRF1 will be washed and processed into flaked plastic which can be used to make new plastic products, such as food packaging or drinks bottles.  
  • Polymer Laminate Recycling Facility: plastic (such as crisp packets and baby food pouches) will be heated, the plastic will break down into an oil for reuse in manufacturing new products with the aluminium recovered for recycling.  
  • Hydrogen refuelling station: taking hydrogen from the consented plastic to hydrogen facility to supply up to 1000kg of hydrogen per day to vehicles, sufficient to fuel approximately 20 HGVs from outside Protos and a similar number of internal HGV movements that will be servicing operations within Protos. 

Peel NRE now plans to work with potential operators to bring forward construction on site. 

Allington Household Waste Recycling Centre opens to the public

AXIS has secured planning permission for the Household Waste Recycling Centre on behalf of FCC Environment, which forms an essential piece of waste management infrastructure for the residents of Kent.

Martin Pollard – AXIS Technical Director

Martin Pollard, Director at Axis said:The design incorporates environmentally-friendly features such as solar panels and rainwater harvesting. In fact, the design won the ‘Best use of design and technology at a waste management facility’ category at the Awards for Excellence in Recycling & Waste Management 2022.”

Each year Kent’s household waste sites receive approximately 140,000 tonnes of waste and offer more than three million bookable slots.

Grand opening of the UKs first large scale Carbon Capture and Utilisation Project

AXIS is delighted to have been invited to join TCE to celebrate the official opening of their Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) Plant in Northwich. It is the first large-scale CCU project of its kind in the UK, and represents a world first in capturing and purifying carbon dioxide from power generation plant emissions for use as a key raw material in the manufacture of pharmaceutical grade sodium bicarbonate. The plant is capable of capturing 40,000t CO2e per year, and will reduce carbon emissions at the plant by 11 per cent.  TCE exports 60 per cent of its sodium bicarbonate production in the UK to over 60 countries across the globe, and the CCU project is intended as a springboard for TCE to unlock further expansion into its export markets. 

Said David Adams, Director at AXIS, “We’re proud to have been responsible for the coordination, drafting and submission of all the EIA and planning application documents in the process of securing planning permission for the plant. We worked closely with the technical staff and proactively engaged with Cheshire West and Chester Council, and other key stakeholders in order to secure planning permission inside the statutory 16-week determination period. Post grant of planning permission, we were commissioned to ensure all schemes required by condition were submitted and discharged in a timely and efficient manner so that implementation of the project could proceed to commissioning in accordance with the clients overall project programme.”

“This is an exciting time for TCE, and the official opening of the plant represents the culmination of much hard work and dedication by the whole development team. AXIS is honoured to be part of that team, and thrilled to mark this significant milestone with all involved.”

Axis energy team helps Peel NRE secure planning permission for their latest Plastics to Hydrogen facility in West Dunbartonshire

More hydrogen-related good news! In 2019 we gained planning permission for the UKs very first Plastics to Hydrogen facility at Protos in Cheshire. This time we’re delighted to have helped Peel NRE secure planning permission for their latest Plastics to Hydrogen facility in West Dunbartonshire, on the banks of the River Clyde.

Image credit: Peel NRE

The plans were approved by the West Dunbartonshire Planning Committee and include the provision of a hydrogen refuelling station.

Laura Mckey, Axis Project Lead, said:This project will deliver a sustainable solution for the management of non-recyclable plastic by converting it into hydrogen, which can then be used as a clean fuel for HGVs, buses and cars.

We’re proud of our energy team who continue to lead on a variety of national hydrogen-related projects, helping the UK to achieve the targets set out within the Energy Security Strategy and deliver on our Net Zero commitments.”

Richard Barker, Development Director at Peel NRE, said: This is a fantastic moment for West Dunbartonshire and the surrounding area. It shows how the UK is innovating when it comes to rolling out new net zero technologies. The facility will address the dual challenge of both tackling our problem plastic whilst creating hydrogen, a sustainable fuel for future generations.

“Whilst the focus must remain on removing plastic from society, there are still end of life plastics that need managing. The £20m plant will play a pivotal role in making the best use of non-recyclable material, with the resulting hydrogen able to help cut carbon emissions from vehicles.”