12 November 2010

Northamptonshire County Council is being presented with an international environmental award in recognition of best practice employed by its transport and highways department.

The Green Apple Environment Award will be presented in the House of Commons on Monday for the work being carried out in disposing of waste from roadside gullies in an environmentally friendly way.

Because of its composition, waste removed from the gullies is typically sent to landfill but, with increasing landfill tax rates, this is becoming more and more expensive.

The county council’s proposed solution is to provide a de-watering facility that reduces the volume of waste required to be disposed of, with the liquid being discharged through the existing sewerage system. The remaining solid waste can then either be recycled by composting or sent to landfill.

This method provides significant savings in terms of the volume of waste that is generated and reduction in journeys to and from landfill sites, and also increases the overall efficiency of the operation.

Cllr Heather Smith, county council cabinet member for transport, minerals and waste, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen for this accolade, which offers quite a simple solution to the problem of disposing of waste from our gullies.

“Not only are there benefits to the environment here but by reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill we’re also reducing the cost to the taxpayer too.”

Two de-watering bays will be constructed at the Brixworth depot of the council’s highways contractor MGWSP, to allow for the liquid and solid waste to be segregated. The bays will be connected to a series of interceptor tanks before discharging into the existing main foul sewer.

The facility will be designed and constructed to current standards and have the full approval of the Environment Agency.

The gully emptying vehicles will off-load their daily waste collected from programmed gully cleansing either at the start or the end of the working day, thereby removing the need for travel to and from landfill sites to dispose. This will reduce non-productive time, our impact on the environment and the fuel costs associated with these journeys.