arc21, Belfast

The proposed £240 million facility is being developed by the Becon Consortium of which Indaver is the lead party.  The design, build and operate contract for this municipal waste facility is being procured by arc21, the waste management group which represents six Councils in the eastern region of Northern Ireland and 60% of the population. The project consists of a Mechanical Biological Treatment building, a 220,000 tonnes per annum Energy from Waste (EfW) plant and a visitor centre.  The facility will be located at the Hightown Quarry on the Boghill Road, Mallusk, Co. Antrim.  

The  proposed development is in the middle of the planning approval process and marks a major investment for Northern Ireland – approximately £240 million in development and construction alone. It will create 455 construction jobs at peak and support around 340 permanent, direct and indirect jobs when the plants are operational.

The proposed facility will also contribute to the transition to a circular economy by treating it as a valuable resource, thereby removing the need for landfill and the export of residual waste that is unsuitable for reuse of recycling. It will also assist in meeting Northern Ireland’s targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate electricity from renewable sources.  

The proposed development is underpinned by policy as outlined by Government and the relevant statutory bodies, including:

  • arc21’s waste management plan
  • The Strategic Planning Policy Statement
  • Delivering resource efficiency
  • The Mills report
  • NI Industrial Strategy Economy 2030

The permanent secretary in the Department of Infrastructure granted planning in September 2017. This followed a recommendation in the report of the Planning Appeals Commissioner to approve planning. As the decision had been taken by the permanent secretary and not a Minister, due to the absence of an NI Executive, the decision was subsequently ruled unlawful by the High Court and upheld by the Court of Appeal. 

Following the Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions Act 2018 coming into force on the 1st November 2018 permanent secretaries may now be empowered to make planning decisions of regional significance such as the arc21 project.  

For more information about the project, see http://becon.co.uk/

Share this page