A COMPANY using waste to power the North-East wants to create jobs in an expansion.

Sita UK is aiming to bolster its existing plant in Billingham, near Stockton.

The company already employs more than 100 workers at its North-East Energy Recovery Centre, which burns waste to generate electricity for tens of thousands of homes.

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Bosses are now submitting plans to build an extension, which would create 30 jobs and support hundreds of regional supply chain posts.

The company says the factory, which uses five processing lines, generates about 55 megawatts of electricity a year from more than 600,000 tonnes of industrial, municipal, commercial and confidential waste destined for landfill.

However, it says the new plans will allow it to take an extra 200,000 tonnes a year, producing a further 35 megawatts of heat and power.

The company works with local authorities across Stockton, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Hartlepool, as well as supporting Northumberland County Council and treating 190,000 tonnes of non-recycled waste every year from Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland City councils.

Annemarie Wilshaw, Sita UK planning manager, said the firm was keen to build on its strong presence in the region.

She said: “The Government is committed to ensuring 15 per cent of the UK’s energy needs are met from renewable sources by 2020.

“This means recycling and landfill diversion are an increasing priority for local authorities and businesses and new energy-from-waste infrastructure is required if we are to meet our targets.

“Sita's Teesside facilities are already making a valuable contribution to the UK’s renewable energy targets, its overall energy security, and supply the National Grid.

“But more needs to be done and plans for a sixth process line will allow us to increase capacity to meet future demand from homes and businesses.

“It would divert up to a further 200,000 tonnes of waste from landfill every year, putting it to better use in the potential production of a further 35 megawatts of combined heat and power.”

Sita UK has operated sites on Teesside since 1998 and is now working with Sembcorp UK on a plant in Wilton, near Redcar, to turn more than 430,000 tonnes of household waste from Merseyside into energy every year.

Bosses say the factory will be operational by 2016 and create about 50 permanent jobs.

Last year, it also revealed £2.3m plans to build an ash processing plant, which will replace an existing factory working with ash deposits produced by energy-from-waste projects.