• Client:
    Durham County Council
  • Location:
    Shotton Colliery, Durham
  • Contract Value:
    £5,500,000

Redevelopment & Improvement Works to Existing Thornley Waste Transfer System

The existing Thornley Waste Transfer Station (WTS) underwent redevelopment to modernise and improve the facility. Works involved the construction of new units and the refurbishment of retained existing buildings. The scheme modernised and improved the facilities allowing the processing of up to 83,000 tonnes of waste per year and 24 hour working.

Thornley WTS covers 2.4 hectares to the south east of County Durham. The overall concept of the scheme was driven by the required functionality of the buildings, their services and circulation requirements. Durham County Council deemed the scheme necessary due to some of the facilities such as the anaerobic digester unit being redundant. The appearance of the site buildings were also looking tired as well as failing in purpose.

The buildings that were still functioning effectively were retained and refurbished where possible. This was a cost effective solution and applied to the reception hall, wheelie bin store and Welfare Office/ Visitor Centre. A rarely used portakabin installed 10 years ago was in very good condition and was utilised by combining the Welfare Offices and Visitors Centre. The location of the portakabin was also strategically placed in terms of visitor traffic as visitors are able to park immediately upon entering the site. The weigh house was previously located within the Pyramid building but was earmarked for demolition. A new weigh house was built as a standalone building which was located between incoming and outgoing traffic which allows for easier monitoring of site activities.

The site has a 4m rise from west to east which suits the function of the facility as the main WTS and reception hall is required to be higher in order to allow for the tipping of waste that is to be sorted into the adjacent building. The new WTS has a clear span clad steel frame with an asymmetrical roof. The building has an overall footprint of 1,988m2. The main building although one main structure is divided into three sections. They are referred to as building A, B and C. Building A is for the residual and recyclate waste reception Hall. The operating space inside the building was reconfigured to create 6 tipping bays in place of the existing 4. Vehicles enter the reception hall, reverse into the tipping bay and deposit their waste into the storage area (building B).

Building B provides storage space for the waste tipped from the reception hall and incorporates a vehicle loading area at 0.5m below the ground level so material does not need to be lifted as high as it was previously. Building C now stores glass and bulky waste for example white goods and furniture. The refurbished WTS buildings were re-clad with composite panels to match the new build to create a unified appearance across the site.

To the northern and southern elevation there are ten fast acting 4.65m wide by 7m high roller shutter doors allowing access and egress to the waste reception areas and vehicle loading area. The roller shutter doors have way finding measures in the form of different coloured frames around the doors according to the waste stream so that vehicles can be directed to the appropriate location by the weighbridge office. This system has been designed to help avoid confusion when navigating through the site and allowing for a more efficiently run system as well as reducing the risk of vehicle collisions and accidents.

The development provides the waste management staff with a more functional, effective and attractive working environment. It has also created a more attractive and informative space which has encouraged educational groups to visit.

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