26th March 2024

Spring 2024 update: Applications relating to the Eco Park

Upcoming planning application to accommodate more garden waste

The Eco Park has planning permission to process up to 141,870 tonnes of waste each year from Surrey households.

Surrey County Council has plans to build a new recycling facility at Longcross near Chertsey to sort mixed recycling from homes in the west of the county. Currently garden waste from Runnymede, Woking and Surrey Heath is bulked at the Longcross site, however, if the plans for the new recycling facility are approved, the garden waste would need to be managed elsewhere.

Surrey County Council has therefore asked SUEZ to apply for planning permission to allow garden waste from Runnymede, currently processed at Longcross, and from expanded collections in Spelthorne  (up to 10,000 tonnes each year in total), to be delivered to the Eco Park’s bulking facility, where it would be stored before being taken for composting.

A planning application is due to be submitted to Surrey County Council this summer and residents will be able to provide feedback via the consultation process. If approved, this application would increase the amount of waste that is processed at the Eco Park from 141,870 to approximately 152,000 tonnes.

Application to vary the Eco Park’s environmental permit


Environmental permits are granted by the Environment Agency. Their purpose is to protect the environment and public health, setting out conditions for the way in which waste facilities can operate.

The tonnage limits in the Eco Park’s environmental permit are different to those in the planning permission, for example, the permit would allow the bulking facility and recycling centre to accept up to 250,000 tonnes of waste each year. Permitting and planning are separate processes and therefore can specify different limits. However, SUEZ must comply with both regimes and where tonnage limits differ, the lower of the two limits must be adhered to.

Eco Park Permit Variation Application

Separate to the future planning application to accept more garden waste, SUEZ has applied to change elements of the Eco Park’s environmental permit.

The majority of the proposed changes to the permit are technical in nature and seek to update the permit with the operational design. Other changes are to align with the ‘best available techniques’ principle which involves regularly reviewing operations and updating them as technology evolves to adopt the best available techniques for preventing or minimising emissions and impacts on the environment.

The permit variation maintains the same overall tonnage permit limit across the Eco Park (348,120 tonnes per year) but seeks to change the limits for individual operations within the site.

It proposes to increase the amount of waste the pre-treatment for the gasification facility can potentially accept by 38,879 tonnes per year, and at the same time proposes a corresponding decrease of 38,879 tonnes per year to the amount of waste the bulking facility and recycling centre can handle.

Increasing the amount of waste into the pre-treatment stage would in turn increase the amount of waste available for the gasification process.

In the short term the proposed increase to the permitted amount of waste the gasification facility can accept would address the discrepancy between the contract year (April to March) and the permitting timetable (calendar year), which cover different 12 month periods but have the same tonnage limits.

It would also create the flexibility to process additional waste in the future to account for changes to the composition of the waste, or to optimise operations to improve the efficiency of the process.

However, if the permit variation is approved, the contract tonnage of 55,460 tonnes per year for the gasification facility would continue to be in place. Any future increase in this would be subject to discussions with Surrey County Council and then the formal planning application process that involves consultation with the local community, where local people can give their views on plans.

Frequently asked questions

Why are you making these applications now?

The planning application to accommodate more garden waste is being prepared at Surrey County Council’s request to ensure there are arrangements in place to manage garden waste locally if the Council’s plans for a new recycling facility at Trumps Farm are approved. At the same time, it will maximise efficiencies in the way that household waste is processed locally.

The environmental permit variation application was submitted last year to update the permit to the operational designs along with a number of other changes and the Environment Agency recently announced its consultation on the application.

Will there be an increase in the amount of waste processed at the eco park?

The only change being proposed is to handle an additional 10,000 tonnes of garden waste, which would increase the total tonnage handled across the site from 141,870 to approximately 152,000 – an uplift of approximately 7%.

Should the environmental permit variation be approved, any future increases to waste processed at the site would be subject to discussions with Surrey County Council and the planning process.

How are you making people aware of these applications?

To make people aware of these applications we are placing an article in Shepperton Matters and Sunbury Matters, which will reach approximately 14,000 local homes. We are making information available here and have provided contact details below for any queries or feedback.

Will I get a chance to have my say on these proposals?

Yes, the Environment Agency consultation on the permit variation application is underway now. In addition, any increase in the amount of waste processed at the eco park must go through the planning application process, at which point residents and stakeholders will be consulted and able to provide feedback.

Who can I speak to if I want to get in touch with SUEZ?

To speak to a designated contact, you can get in touch with SUEZ’s Regional Communications Manager, Will Hamill.

See also

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