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Build & Sustainability

Approval for Wastefront AS’ ‘landmark’ 100-job Port of Sunderland tyre recycling plant

Plans have been approved for a “game-changing” £100 million Wearside tyre recycling plant.

Sunderland City Council has backed Wastefront AS’ blueprint to build a 100-job factory.

Based at the Port of Sunderland, bosses say the hub – tipped to be operational by 2024 – will act as the “UK’s greenest tyre recycling plant”, turning end-of-life tyres (ELTs) into products such as biofuels.

Construction is expected to start this year, with engineering and technology firm Technip Energies appointed build partner.

Norway-based Wastefront says it has also secured a ten-year supply deal with Vitol, which will see the oil trader buy all of the available liquid hydrocarbons from its Wearside plant’s recycling processes.

Christian A Hvamstad, Waterfront’s co-founder and director – and former University of Sunderland student – said he is delighted the plans have been approved.

He said: “This landmark site marks a huge step in our efforts to combat the global issue of ELT waste.

“Our plant will represent a valuable contribution to a cleaner future by dealing with a specific waste problem, where end-of-life tyres no longer end up in landfills in overseas countries, but instead are converted into useful commodities that can be used within the region.

“Sunderland is the ideal location for our first plant due to geographical location, access to feedstock, strong local support and Sunderland’s history as an industrial city.

“And, as a graduate of the University of Sunderland and a former resident of the city, I have seen with my own eyes the vast potential it has to capitalise on the economic opportunities that the net-zero agenda will generate.

“We’re very much looking forward to joining industry heavyweights such as Nissan and Envision to help the UK step up the pace in the race to decarbonisation.”

Vianney Vales, Wastefront chief executive, said: “This game-changing facility is an example of what industry of the future can be, re-utilising a material that is currently wasted and converting it fully into valuable products through an exceptionally circular and environmentally-friendly process.”

Hailing the “fantastic story” of Waterfront’s investment, and its potential impact on the local jobs market, Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, added: “We can’t wait to see work start apace on the development.

“Not only is this a fantastic story for the circular economy in terms of waste pollution, but it is also a fantastic circular economy success story for the city.

“It demonstrates how the success of the university and recent developments, such as the expansion of Port of Sunderland and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park, are helping establish an ecosystem that nurtures and retains the best talent, drives innovation and attracts investors from across the globe to the city.”