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Green light for Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre

January 29, 2013

Glasgow’s domestic green bin residual waste is set to be transformed in line with Scotland’s zero waste agenda following the approval of a major planning application for the establishment of the £154m Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (GRREC) – bringing a number of benefits for the city one step closer to fruition.

The decision was made by Glasgow City Council’s planning applications committee at a meeting held today (Tuesday 29 January) and followed an application submitted in September 2012 by Viridor, Scotland’s leading recycling, renewable energy and sustainable waste management company, to establish the state-of-the-art facility in Polmadie.

Approval for the application marks a key milestone in a partnership between Viridor and Glasgow City Council to overhaul the way in which the city manages its domestic green bin residual waste over the next twenty-five years.  Furthermore, it marks another positive move in the right direction towards delivering a more sustainable Glasgow, shifting the city away from the costly and unpopular landfill disposal.

The GRREC will feature some of the most advanced tried and trusted technology in operation across Europe.  It will operate a three-step process comprising a Smart Materials Recycling Facility to enhance recycling, Anaerobic Digestion to capture food and organic material and an Advanced Conversion Facility to recover renewable energy from post-recycling material that remains.

As well as establishing Glasgow as a leading force in sustainable waste management, creating a flagship model for other cities in Scotland to follow, the GRREC will deliver widespread benefits through the £154m investment, including:

  • Support for a city-wide strategy focused on waste reduction, re-use, enhanced recycling and recovering renewable energy from what remains
  • In addition to enhanced recycling, recovering enough energy to power the equivalent of 22,000 households and heating for 8,000 homes
  • A saving to Glasgow of 90,000 tonnes of CO2 every year
  • A cost saving to the city of £254m during the 25-year contract
  • The creation of 254 jobs, including a range of professional, skilled and new entrant roles including apprenticeships with an annual local salary bill of £1.5m
  • A full package of community benefits focused on employment and training, opportunities for SMEs and social enterprises, and a range of education benefits including the recently announced city-wide GO4SET schools partnership with the Engineering Development Trust

Construction will commence in summer 2013 with completion in early 2016.

Steven Don, Scottish Regional Manager for Viridor welcomed the decision. He said:

“I am delighted that planning has been secured for GRREC.  The project will not only help move the city towards a zero waste economy, but will deliver world class next generation green infrastructure whilst reducing council tax payer exposure to costly landfill levies. 

“The impressive facility will transform the way in which the city’s annual 200,000 tonnes of domestic green bin residual waste is managed as well as positioning Glasgow as a leading force in Scotland in the provision of a cleaner, greener strategy for transforming waste in line with other European cities. 

“Importantly, the project is a vital boost for the construction sector and will provide a range of community benefits including green jobs with growth opportunities, tenders for small business and social enterprises and an ambitious education programme across city schools.

“Our focus is to help Glasgow achieve its ambitions for the city and its people.  Along with our partners, Glasgow City Council, we look forward to moving forward with our plans to establish the GRREC, regenerate Polmadie and to bringing a wealth of benefits to the city flowing from this substantial investment.”

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council added:

“This is a great step forward for Glasgow on the road to becoming one of Europe’s most sustainable cities.  Without this facility, we would not only be faced with the depressing prospect of piling millions of tonnes of waste into the ground over the coming years; but we would also pay through the nose to do it.

“Our competitors – the likes of Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands – have the highest recycling rates in Europe. It is no secret that they have achieved that by embracing a mix of modern, but proven, technologies that not only boost recycling but recover energy from what remains.

“That is an approach that has huge potential here in Glasgow. Our future is cleaner, more affordable and puts the city’s waste to work for the benefit of its people.”

Further information on GRREC along with a short video, newsletters and ways to get in touch can be found on the dedicated website –


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