The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has given planning consent to ReFood UK for its next major anaerobic digestion plant for food waste.

The £30m plant will be the company’s third site in the UK and is part of a major programme of investment in ReFood’s food waste recycling facilities, which also includes a new site in Widnes, Cheshire, due to open in 2014.

The new facility on the London Sustainable Industries Park (LSIP) will take 160,000 tonnes of food waste which would otherwise go to landfill and create low carbon biogas (enough to supply around 10,000 homes), as well as liquid fertiliser. The facility will also create up to 60 new jobs in addition to some relocated jobs.

Philip Simpson, commercial director at ReFood, part of PDM Group, commented: “We are delighted to get the go ahead for this landmark plant which will help to ensure that food waste arising in the London area can be transformed into renewable energy and valuable nutrients to go back onto the land.

“The decision comes in the same week that we launched the Vision 2020: UK roadmap to zero food waste to landfill to achieve zero food waste to landfill by the end of the decade and having the right infrastructure in place to optimise the energy and nutritional value of food waste will have a major part to play in this ambition.

“There is clearly a desire within retail, the hospitality sector and householders to both prevent food waste and also deal with it more responsibly where it does arise. Indeed, we have been delighted by the positive response that the Vision 2020 ambition has already received.”

ReFood UK opened its first anaerobic digestion plant in Doncaster in 2011 and this has proved so successful there are already plans to double its size. A further £20m is being invested in the new gas-to-grid plant in Widnes, which will be able to take 90,000 tonnes of food waste.

LSIP at Dagenham Dock is creating the UK’s largest concentration of environmental industries and technologies bringing new life and opportunities to the borough. Developed on 60 acres of land owned by Greater London Authority, LSIP is at the heart of the London Mayor’s Green Enterprise District. The vision is to deliver a closed loop system, with businesses delivering waste to energy projects, combined heat and power schemes, recycling and reprocessing facilities, and renewable energy technologies. This system enables businesses to develop synergies with their neighbours, maximise resource efficiency and innovation and minimise waste.