Project Overview

Project Overview

Waste Disposal

  • The Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility will process over 545,000 tonnes of solid waste that cannot be sensibly recycled, helping to move the UK away from dependence on landfilling waste.
  • The facility will also help to reverse the UK trend of exporting non-recyclable waste to EfW plants in other countries, enabling the UK to become self-sufficient in managing its own waste and achieve compliance with landfill diversion targets.

Energy Generation

  • The facility will use municipal, commercial and non-hazardous industrial residual waste as fuel to generate over 60 megawatts of low carbon energy - enough electricity to power the equivalent of over 112,500 homes.
  • EfW facilities avoids the need for fossil fuels such as coal that would be used to generate the same volume of electricity.


Did You Know?

The Rookery South ERF will bring many community, employment, infrastructure and environmental benefits to the Bedford area. Approximately 9,000 households in the local area could be eligible for the Rookery South Community Energy Initiative, an innovative scheme which will reduce home electricity by 10% each year. -

State-of-the-art Design and Technology

  • Designed to achieve very high overall energy efficiency and energy recovery, the Rookery South ERF will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week once the facility starts operations in 2022.
  • The facility will employ state-of-the-art pollution control equipment to scrub and filter emissions ensuring the ERF will be fully protective of human health and the environment, ensuring the plant will operate well within the strict requirements of British and EU legislation.

Job Creation

  • More than 300 jobs will be created during construction, with many opportunities and benefits for local people.
  • Covanta and Veolia have developed a Local Employment Plan that will target local employment, local supplies of materials and services, and encourage training of employees. To help achieve this, Covanta has joined the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce to get the message out to the Chamber's large network of businesses about supply chain and direct recruitment opportunities.
  • When the facility comes online in 2022, it will create over 50 new permanent operational roles. 

Planning and Permitting

In 2013, the facility received planning approval under the UK’s Development Consent Order procedures for the delivery of nationally important infrastructure projects.

The planning approvals process involved a comprehensive and wide-ranging requirement to consult local people and businesses, councils, environmental groups and statutory bodies about the proposal, providing just as much opportunity (if not more) than with a normal planning application.

The House of Commons Joint Committee report on the facility can be found here.
The Government Order granting development consent for the facility can be found by clicking here.
The Environmental Permit can be found here.

In March 2019, Covanta, the GIG and Veolia reached Financial Close which enabled full site construction works to commence over the next 36 months. 

Project Partners


Covanta’s mission is to provide sustainable waste and energy solutions to ensure that no waste is ever wasted. Annually, Covanta’s modern Energy-from-Waste facilities safely convert approximately 18 million tonnes of waste from municipalities and businesses into clean, renewable electricity to power one million homes and recycle 500,000 tonnes of metal. Through a vast network of treatment and recycling facilities, Covanta also provides comprehensive industrial material management services to companies seeking solutions to some of today’s most complex environmental challenges.


GIG is a specialist in green infrastructure principal investment, project delivery and the management of portfolio assets, and related services. Its track record, expertise and capability make it a global leader in green investment, dedicated to supporting the growth of the global green economy. The business was launched initially by the UK Government in 2012 as the first institution of its type in the world. The organisation was acquired by a consortium led by Macquarie Group in 2017, creating one of Europe’s largest teams of dedicated green infrastructure investors, and now operates under the name Green Investment Group.


Around the globe, Veolia helps cities and industries to manage, optimise and make the most of their resources. The company provides an array of solutions related to water, energy and materials – with a focus on waste recovery – to promote the transition toward a circular economy. Veolia's 174,000 employees are tasked with contributing directly to the sustainability performance of customers in the public and private sectors, allowing them to pursue development while protecting the environment. To this end, the company designs and deploys specialist solutions to provide, protect and replenish resources while increasing their efficiency from an environmental, economic and social standpoint. Such initiatives are all part of Veolia's ongoing campaign to resource the world.