Thetford’s new recycling centre could open in 18 months

A new �1.1m recycling centre in Thetford, which is aimed to save tax payers tens of thousands of pounds in landfill charges, could be open by autumn next year.

The site, which will replace the town's outdated facility on Burrell Way, hopes to recycle or re-use an extra several hundred tonnes of waste each year.

Today (Tuesday March 15), the county council revealed more details about the new centre, which is proposed for the Telford Way Industrial Estate and will be capable of recycling 20 different materials.

The authority hopes to submit a planning application in June which could be approved by the autumn. Detailed designs for the site would then be finalised with the start of construction aimed for February 2012.

The old Burrell Way centre would close in autumn 2012 as the new facility opened.

Ann Steward, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for sustainable development, said the proposals signalled the authority's determination to improve the way it deals with waste.

She said: 'A new recycling centre in Thetford is part of our commitment to push up re-use and recycling rates in the county and reduce the amount of rubbish we send to landfill. Sending waste to landfill hurts the environment and costs us dearly because of escalating government landfill tax.'

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By the time the centre opens, the cost of using landfill would have risen to �88 per tonne.

Despite being the smallest in the county, Thetford's current recycling centre is the fourth busiest dealing with about 4,000 tonnes of rubbish each year.

At the moment, 60pc of that is recycled or re-used and the council hopes to increase that to more than 70pc at the new centre, which will become one of Norfolk's eight main recycling centres.

Key to that will be the county's largest 're-use shelter'. Second hand items like furniture, books, non-electrical household equipment and bric-a-brac taken to the centre will be re-sold.

A share of the profits will be given to local community groups through the Norfolk Foundation.

A smaller re-use shop at the King's Lynn centre, which was opened in 2008, makes �2,500 a month.

Dan Jacobs, the county council's waste infrastructure manager, said: 'Given this is going to be a bigger unit and given the demographic of Thetford, it could prove even more popular.'

If the plans are approved, the new recycling centre would follow the example of King's Lynn's centre.

It would have easy-access low-level bins and a one-way traffic system to prevent queues which Mrs Steward said was a problem at the existing centre.

The split level site would allow people to visit the re-use centre using one of five separate parking spaces.

Townsfolk will be able to have their say on the proposals during a public planning consultation which would be carried out once plans have been submitted.

Before that, during March and Arpil, leaflets providing information about the proposed site location, layout and services will be available around Thetford, including the library and Breckland District Council offices.

For more information, contact the county council by calling 0344 800 8004, emailing recycling@norfolk.gov.uk or visiting www.norfolk.gov.uk/recycling.