In 2007, Staffordshire County Council established its waste management strategy designed to make sure that there is significant reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill.
There was an intensive public consultation carried out in the summer of 2007 that addressed how Staffordshire should deal with its growing mountain of household waste. Over 90% of the thousands of respondents across Stafforshire supported the idea of moving to Zero Waste to Landfill, maximising recycling and moving to generate more energy from the residual waste.
In 2008, plans were developed by Staffordshire County Council and its partners to stop sending waste to landfill by 2020. Part of these plans involved Project W2R (Waste to Resource) which relates to developing proposals to build an Energy from Waste facility at Four Ashes Industrial Estate. This facility would use the waste which cannot be recycled or composted to generate electricity.
In 2009, Staffordshire County Council obtained planning permission to develop a facility that would deliver energy from waste at Four Ashes. This was necessary so that the County Council could introduce its proposals to local communities and ask interested companies to bid to construct and operate a facility on its behalf.
In May 2010, after a rigorous selection process, Veolia Environmental Services (Veolia) was chosen by Staffordshire County Council as its ‘preferred bidder’ to build and operate an Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) at the Four Ashes Industrial Estate.