Princess Anne visits Shrewsbury - pictures and video
Counties across the country should follow in the footsteps of Shropshire when it comes to recycling, the Princess Royal has said.
Her Royal Highness praised the partnership between Veolia and Shropshire Council during a visit to the £60 million incinerator at Battlefield on Tuesday.
She met those responsible for running the Energy Recovery Facility, which processes 90,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste every year.
Speaking to a gathering of councillors, Veolia workers and other dignitaries, Her Royal Highness said the work put into recycling in Shropshire, which has led to just four per cent of rubbish being put into landfill, should be an example to others.
She said: "It is always a pleasure to see energy units like this being built but also how important it is the county and the local community understand the advantages of working together to get a really good result.
"I know it has been open for a little while but it underlines the real advantages because you have had time to notice them and that is very good to hear.
"I hope you will be able to have the opportunity to encourage others to follow in your footsteps.
"Many congratulations to everybody because it has very much been a joint operation and that will stand you in good stead for the future."
All the waste delivered to the plant is turned into enough electricity to power about 10,000 homes a year.
Giant cranes lift up to 12 tonnes of rubbish an hour into the furnace, which burns at at least 850C. Gases that are produced in the process are cleaned before being released into the atmosphere.
Councillor Mal Price, portfolio holder for planning, housing, regulatory services and environment at Shropshire Council, objected to the plans for the site when they were first put forward.
But having seen the plans go through the process, he now agrees it is a huge benefit to Shropshire as a whole and was pleased to be able to show off what the county does to the princess.
He said hearing her praise the county's recycling efforts vindicated the building of the facility.
He said: "I think it shows she was aware of the background and what had gone on and the recycling figures we have now got.
"We have landfill at less than four per cent. I think she recognised we have an excellent facility here which is powering 10,000 properties locally.
"She seemed to be very knowledgeable about the issue."
Estelle Brachlianoff, CEO of Veolia UK and Ireland, said she was delighted to welcome the royal visitor to the multi-million pound facility.
She said: "I am very proud Princess Anne accepted the invitation to come and open the facility.
"We have come a long way since signing the 27 year contract with Shropshire Council. We have invested 100 million pounds, created jobs and helped reduce landfill.
"It is good for the planet and council in that it has created jobs and reduced landfill. It is a success story and that's the reason Princess Anne agreed to come.
"It is interesting what happens inside. I'd encourage people to come and look around on an open day.
"It is not only about burning waste but cleaning the gases and creating energy.
"We have been looking forward to her visit for quite a while and the royal visit recognises the partnership between us and Shropshire Council."
After visiting the Battlefield site, the princess moved on to the headquarters of the Carers Trust 4all, Shropshire Carers Service in Tilstock Crescent, Sutton Farm.
Here is how the visit unfolded