Coventry Council Approves Loan For ‘Upgraded’ MRF

Coventry City Council has granted initial approval for a £1.9 million loan for works to upgrade its plans for its in-house materials recycling facility (MRF).

According to Let’s Recycle, the purpose of the loan is to increase the MRF plant’s capacity from the original proposal in 2019 by 45 per cent to 175,000 tonnes. The extra capacity is due to the addition of Walsall Council and Warwick District Council to the project back in November.

The plans for the plant have also now needed to include low-grade plastics separation, which the council has described as a UK first.

Cabinet member for city services at Coventry, Cllr Patricia Hetherton warned that without ‘seizing the opportunity’ to seek further finding now, the plans for the plant may not go ahead.

“Recycling has improved dramatically in recent years, with people being more able and willing, to recycle household waste. There is also greater market for recycled materials as people become more environmentally aware,” she said.

“If we do not seize this opportunity and invest now, we will be forced to either abandon our plans completely and return to paying private firms to handle our recyclables or build a facility that would soon be too small and out of date.”

She added that by making the investment, a state-of-the-art facility can be developed that will be the most technologically advanced of its kind in the country, and potentially one of the most advanced MRF facilities in the world due to the use of the latest robotic technology.

Coventry Council’s cabinet inspected a report that said the volatility of global markets for processed recycles had led the private sector to pass on price fluctuations to local authorities.

The council hopes the planned upgrades to the MRF will save around £1.4 million a year, as well as an opportunity to generate revenue in the future.

Councillor Richard Brown, the cabinet member for finance, said: “This extra investment makes sense for the council and the people of the city. The alternative will be paying out ever-increasing costs every year.

He commented that Coventry is a ‘city of invention’, and that it is a ‘green, environmentally-friendly city’. He believes that the new facility will not only help the environment and improve the quality of life for residents, but generate much-needed revenue for the city, and help make it a world leader in recycling technology.

The plans for the new MRF facility were first approved in September 2019, and it is to be operated by a partnership of Coventry city council and seven other local authorities in the area.

These include North Warwickshire borough council, Nuneaton and Bedworth borough council, Rugby borough council, Stratford district council, Solihull Metropolitan borough council, Walsall council and Warwick district council.

Work on the MRF is scheduled to start in spring 2021 and finish in spring 2023. It is to be built on the site of some former allotments, described as ‘disused and overgrown’.

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