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Royal opening for Oxfordshire’s newest energy plant

Leading UK recycling and renewable energy company Viridor was pleased to welcome HRH The Duke of Gloucester, KG GCVO, and distinguished guests, for the opening of its new, 26 Megawatt, Ardley Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) last Thursday (11 June).

The £205 million facility is already helping Oxfordshire County Council and other local authorities and businesses take 300,000 tonnes of their non-recyclable waste, and transform it into vital renewable energy to power British homes and businesses every year.

HRH Duke of Gloucester ArdleyHRH The Duke of Gloucester, KG GCVO, was joined by Viridor CEO and Pennon Group Director, Ian McAulay, his predecessor Colin Drummond, OBE, The Vice-Lord Lieutenant, Mr John Harwood and Cllr John Sanders, Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council.

The group and guests took a tour of the facility to see the leading-edge technology being deployed to use waste as fuel, producing enough electrical power for 38,000 homes, equivalent to more than two-thirds of Oxford.

Guests also enjoyed the new ERF Education and Visitor Centre, where they met with students and teachers from Chesterton and Fritwell primary schools. Visitors can engage in exciting lessons and interactive games to develop their knowledge and appreciation of the essential processes undertaken by the recycling and resource management industry.

HRH Duke of Gloucester at Ardley The centre includes the fearsome ‘Megawattosaurus’, a life-size model dinosaur created entirely using waste materials recovered from the Household Waste Recycling Centre operated by Viridor in Ardley. Some of the finest fossilised dinosaur trackways ever found in Europe, left by Megalosaurus and Cetiosaurs, have been discovered on Ardley Quarry floor, and this fascinating site history is included in the visitor experience.

Ian McAulay, Viridor Chief Executive, said:

“The Duke showed great interest in the development of this site and it’s great to see Viridor’s latest energy recovery facility at Ardley already providing a first-class service to our local authority and business customers.

By working in long-term partnership with our clients, we’re transforming what some see as ‘waste’ into vital renewable energy for the UK. Our ERFs ensure that we extract every ounce of value from what people throw away, complementing the vital recycling services provided by councils and their contractors.

I thank everyone for their hard work in delivering this world-class project.”

Ardley ERFCouncillor John Sanders, Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council, said:

“I am delighted to see the Ardley energy recovery facility formally opened today. This is an incredible achievement and a celebration of all the hard work and dedication of the many people involved.

Oxfordshire has the best recycling and composting rate of any county council in the country – last year we delivered a rate of over 61%. This modern and well run energy recovery facility will treat almost all the waste left after recycling and composting and we will send very little waste direct to landfill. Diverting waste away from landfill and generating valuable electricity brings real environmental benefits to the people of Oxfordshire and nationally.

We look forward to Viridor and Oxfordshire County Council working in partnership over the next 25 years to provide an excellent waste treatment service for Oxfordshire and to Viridor being a good neighbour to local residents.”

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