Waste management firm to expand rail hub network to Leeds

Integrated waste management company Biffa has entered a strategic partnership with GB Railfreight to expand its rail hub network for the transportation of inactive waste.

Biffa recently opened a transfer station in Manchester, with a similar site in Leeds to follow in the near future.

The partnership with GBRf will initially focus on connecting the Northern cities of Manchester and Leeds with Biffa’s landfill facility in Roxby, near Scunthorpe.

When fully operational these two strategic rail links alone are expected to facilitate the transportation of around 250,000 tonnes of inactive waste annually, the equivalent of approximately 16,000 truck journeys.

GBRf will operate a red-liveried locomotive The Flying Dustman to reflect Biffa’s iconic brand, unveiled in a ceremony yesterday at York station.

The development of a rail hub network is in line with Biffa’s stated strategy of developing its infrastructure and innovating its customer service offering to meet an evolving market dynamic and customer demand, including continued investment in recycling and other waste processing technologies. 

Biffa said that while levels of recycling had improved substantially, landfill continued to play a fundamental and long-term role in the waste hierarchy to deal with those wastes which are non-combustible and non-recyclable. There is no alternative form of disposal for such waste, yet current landfill capacity is rapidly diminishing.

Biffa said: “With fewer and fewer accessible landfill sites in operation, waste is now travelling a significant distance from source to disposal. In some regions rail transportation provides an economically viable means of facilitating the movement of waste, enabling Biffa to better leverage its existing landfill network and innovate its customer offering accordingly whilst also providing significant environmental advantages over road transportation.

“The Group continues to closely examine other regions of the UK where rail might provide similar advantages.”

Mick Davis, managing director of resource recovery & treatment division at Biffa, said: “The partnership with GBRf marks another step forward in our strategy to develop our waste management infrastructure and innovate our customer offering. By increasing the mobility of inactive waste, rail transportation will enhance our service offerings from our existing landfill network whilst also providing significant environmental benefits compared to road transportation.”

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