THE FINAL handover of the overdue Energy from Waste Plant on Forest Road has been pushed back once again.

It will now have been three years after the supposed commencement date for the Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) to start full-scale operations.

Last November, the Isle of Wight Council said it was due to start operating in January this year but councillors were then told April.

Now further problems have arisen.

In a written response to a question asked by former environment and waste cabinet member Cllr Steve Hastings, the current portfolio holder Cllr Jonathan Bacon revealed commissioning had identified issues with some of the plant's elements.

At the council's neighbourhoods and regeneration scrutiny committee last night (Thursday), Cllr Bacon said a decision was made to replace the elements entirely to ensure the facility would be fit for purpose, following hot commissioning and the final acceptance test.

Hot commissioning — which tests all systems before it enters service — had been started at the plant but was paused when the problems were found.

It has since recommenced and the plant is now burning non-recyclable waste, which the council hopes, once properly online, will be able to generate renewable electricity for up to 5,000 homes.

A 30-day continuous test of the plant is required to pass and receive an 'Acceptance Test Certificate' which is scheduled to take place in June.

If things stay on track, it is thought the handover date will be July.

Cllr Bacon said: "As with all major projects, the council and its technical advisers are closely scrutinising the tests and are ensuring the new ERF is rigorously examined and tested prior to the handover.

"It will then be subject to performance tests following acceptance to ensure performance is maintained."

Work started on the ERF six years ago and its completion has been continuously delayed with the original commencement date slated for May 2019.

The Covid pandemic has also impacted the building of the ERF when construction was suspended in March 2020.

All delays and additional work costs, however, are not at the Isle of Wight Council's expense and sit with Amey, the council's waste contract providers.