His decision overturns Bristol city council’s controversial decision to refuse the proposals last June and follows an independent public inquiry held in November 2010.
The company now awaits a decision from the Environment Agency regarding a permit to operate the plant but has started initial ground clearance in expectation of starting construction in early 2012.
The energy-from-waste plant would treat up to 350,000 tonnes –a-year of residual waste and the MRF is expected to handle up to 150,000 tonnes-a-year of material, sorting recyclables including plastic bottles, paper, cardboard, glass and cans.
Phil Bines, Viridor’s business development manager overseeing the Avonmouth project, said: “We are obviously extremely pleased with the decision.
“Avonmouth is an important part of our strategy for providing support to local authorities and businesses in the South West to increase their recycling rates. The development also offers an alternative to landfill for the disposal of residual waste.”
The Materials Recycling Facility in Avonmouth will process around 350,000 tonnes of waste every year and will be capable of generating enough electricity to supply over 45,000 homes.
In his overall conclusions, the Secretary of State said that “the power generated by the proposal and the potential to provide off-site heat are factors in its favour”. The response also stated that Viridor would receive a full award of costs against Bristol City Council.