The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and Granville Ecopark Ltd (GECO) have signed a Prosperity Agreement pledging to work together to divert more food waste from landfill and use it to generate renewable energy and organic fertilisers.

From left to right: Ian Harvey, Managing Director of GECO and David Small, CEO of NIEA at the signing of the Prosperity Agreement.

GECO has developed an enhanced anaerobic digestion facility near Dungannon with the potential to save the carbon equivalent of removing nearly 60,000 cars from the road each year. This represents a line of cars which if placed end to end would stretch from Belfast Docks to Belfast International Airport.

They use food waste (both packaged and unpackaged) from local businesses and domestic customers to produce electricity from high quality biogas, which in the future can also be used as a vehicle fuel.

Under the Prosperity Agreement GECO will expand its processing capacity, bringing new engines on line and exploring new potential sources of feedstock. They will also seek to enhance the by-products of the process through innovation and trialling new technology.

For their part of the agreement, NIEA will work with the company on strategic outcomes and to streamline bureaucracy.

At the signing event David Small, CEO of NIEA said: “The Prosperity Agreement Programme goes from strength to strength, with Granville Ecopark representing an important addition to the portfolio.”

“NIEA is excited to partner with progressive companies who share our goals in ensuring effective environmental protection alongside economic success.”

The agreement contains six commitments, including innovative solutions to maximise energy production from the process. It also explores opportunities for collecting more food waste from other sources and working with stakeholders and the community to deliver environmental initiatives, for example, around biodiversity and waste education.

Ian Harvey, Managing Director of GECO said: “We are delighted to be signing this agreement which serves to reinforce our company’s commitment to delivering positive environmental outcomes. We have invested significantly in state of the art technology to maximise the production of gas and energy from food waste while also focusing on adding value from all products from our process, and hope we can be seen as a model for a successful business, which delivers both commercial and environmental benefits.”

This is the sixth such agreement the NIEA has signed. Prosperity Agreements are voluntary agreements, signed between NIEA and a company or organisation. They contain commitments from both NIEA and the company which will deliver significant environmental benefits, going beyond legal requirements to develop a more strategic approach between business and regulator and to help businesses realise environmental gains which will increase their competitiveness.

The agreement does not remove any legal environmental obligations on the business and NIEA will still take any appropriate enforcement action, if it is required, to ensure regulatory compliance and protect the environment.

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