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Specialists brought in to lead controversial M5 energy plant project

Two renewable energy firms have been brought in to help build and manage a controversial plant next to the M5.

Preparations for the construction of the Kelvin Energy Recovery Facility in West Bromwich are ramping up after Sandwell Council's refusal of the scheme was overturned by an independent planning inspector in October, to the dismay of residents and politicians.

Tom Watson, the former Labour deputy leader and West Bromwich MP, was among the most high-profile voices opposed to the energy plant.

The planning inspector ruled the energy facility should go ahead as noise and traffic, which had been among key concerns, would not be greatly increased.

Waste management and energy specialists Low Carbon and Wheelabrator have formed a partnership with Verus Energy to develop, construct and operate the Kelvin plant.

The plant, which has been in the pipeline since 2017, will divert 395,000 tonnes of household and business waste from landfill or export and instead use it to generate up to 49.9MW of renewable energy - enough to power around 70,000 homes.

Work could start later this year, although there is continued uncertainty across the construction sector due to the coronavirus crisis.

Low Carbon’s investment director, Dominic Noel-Johnson, said: “This announcement marks another significant milestone in the story of this project and we’re delighted to now be working together towards financial close.

"This facility will harness non-recyclable waste as a sustainable energy resource, creating local jobs and local energy supply for the West Midlands region.

"This is one of the many exciting projects Low Carbon have in their advanced pipeline for 2020 and we look forward to expanding our renewable energy at scale in the UK and internationally.”

Wheelabrator Technologies UK managing director, Julia Watsford said: “We’re excited to be joining this project and look forward to working with our partners and building upon Wheelabrator’s proven track record to address the UK’s ongoing capacity shortfall in residual waste management infrastructure."

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