Viridor foundations of £154m investment

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Delivery of Glasgow’s new £154m Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (GRREC) at Polmadie, has stepped up a gear as Glasgow City Council Leader, Councillor Gordon Matheson joined newly recruited apprentices on the Viridor site to mark the start of construction.

Councillor Matheson joined Viridor UK Engineering Director, Alan Cumming, Scottish Regional Manager, Steven Don, Interserve Associate Director Bryan Kennedy and construction apprentices Peter Duffy, Josh Eadie and Joseph Smith. Getting work underway on one of Scotland’s largest green investment projects, a ‘sod cutting’ ceremony on site marked a changing gear for the project as demolition sub-contractors make way for the growing number of construction staff who will deliver the state-of-the-art facility.

The move follows the completion of work to carefully dismantle two iconic 66m reinforced concrete chimney stacks which towered over the Polmadie waste site for the last 55 years. The stacks were ‘nibbled down’ using a 250 tonne long reach excavator with breaker attachments.

The £154m Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (GRREC) will have capacity to handle 200,000 tonnes of council green bin residual waste every year. The plant, working in combination with city wide blue, brown and purple bin recycling, will divert green bin residual waste away from landfill, saving millions of pounds, releasing recyclable resources from household waste and producing valuable heat and power from what will be one of the most advanced waste management facilities in Europe.

With work underway to lay the foundations for the landmark facility, the project enters a ‘piling’ phase – inserting 12m concrete columns into the ground to provide strength and support to the facility’s base before erection of the steel framework commences in March 2014.

Supporting over 250 jobs over the project lifecycle, the development is being undertaken by the UK’s largest recycler, Viridor, in partnership with Glasgow City Council with construction work being undertaken by Interserve Construction Ltd.

Leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Gordon Matheson said:

“We are committed to creating a more sustainable Glasgow that delivers better for its people – environmentally, socially and economically.

“This project has a significant part to play in delivering on that promise. Our partnership with Viridor will not only transform how we deal with our waste, but is already creating skilled jobs and supporting apprenticeships that are vital to the city’s economy.

“And, at a time when big energy companies are delivering inflation-busting price rises, we will have the potential to create affordable heat and power. This is an opportunity to secure a future that is cleaner, more affordable and sees the city’s waste work for the benefit of Glaswegians.”

Viridor’s UK Engineering Director, Alan Cumming, said:

“As a Strathclyde graduate working on major energy projects across the globe, it gives me great pleasure to be delivering world class green infrastructure in my city as part of our £1.5bn UK investment programme. Getting shovels in the ground is great news, not only in terms of delivering a greener, more sustainable city, but also for investment in social capital including bright futures for young folk like Peter, Josh and Joe.

“Our ambitious programme of community benefits is already making a real impact – from city-wide education programmes supporting science and engineering, and over £5m of sub-contract opportunities available in the coming months to local businesses, to a broad range of routes into work on this landmark project.”

Interserve Associate Director Bryan Kennedy, added:

“The project is gathering real pace, with the move from demolition to construction start. We’re building a truly sustainable development at Polmadie in every sense. Over 11,000 cubic metres of rubble from the former building and chimneys has already been recycled on site to form the foundations of the GRREC.

“What’s more, working with Jobs & Business Glasgow we’re gearing up to ensure even more local people benefit from jobs on site. With Viridor and Interserve community benefits officers now in post, and our first tranche of apprentices, we’d encourage job seekers to visit our website at”.

Nineteen-year-old GRREC Apprentice, Peter Duffy, from Royston, said:

“Working on Viridor’s GRREC project is a great boost. After leaving school I travelled around construction sites doing odd jobs before talking a one year course at North Glasgow College in mechanical engineering. I enjoy being outdoors, using my hands and didn’t fancy the idea of doing a job where I would be stuck indoors.

“Having been unemployed for a year after my course, I’m now in a good job, earning and learning whilst building one of the biggest recycling and energy projects in Scotland. It’s a brilliant start with a great team.”

The development will bring more than 250 new jobs to Glasgow, support apprenticeship places and will produce enough energy to power 22,000 households. Once complete it will deliver a saving to Glasgow of 90,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.

Work on the GRREC facility is due to be completed in 2016.