West Yorkshire headquartered Acumen Waste Services has recently completed a significant project for Sunderland City Council to remove over 27,000 tonnes of residual waste from the former Alex Smiles waste site under the close guidance of the Environment Agency.

Work to transform the abandoned waste site into use as a key manufacturing facility has taken a major step forward with the completion of the clearance. The site has been closed since private waste operator Alex Smiles went into administration in 2015 and it was also the scene of a major fire in May 2018 which took more than three weeks to extinguish.

Commencing in January, Acumen removed 1,135 loads of waste, ensuring the majority of the site cleared by mid-March, with Acumen’s crews completing the remainder of the project whilst following strict social distancing guidelines to ensure the safety of the workers, their families and the wider public

Sunderland City Council, which bought the land in December, plans to lease it to leading crane manufacturer Liebherr whose existing business is located next door. Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "I'm absolutely delighted to see this work complete, given the blight this site has been on our city for a number of years. Its clearance and transformation into a major employment site has long been a goal for both the City Council and the Environment Agency. It's remarkable to see how much has been achieved following our acquisition of the site in December.

"You only have to look at the before and after pictures and drone footage to see the scale of the task ahead when we first took over the site and the spectacular progress that's been made in a relatively short space of time."
Andrew Turner, Environment Agency, Area Environment Manager – Regulated Industry, said: "It was great to see the finished results from the waste clearance project. This thorough partnership programme will immensely benefit residents, the local environment and the business community.”

Liebherr, which is looking to expand its Sunderland base, currently employs 200 people in highly skilled jobs producing Reachstackers and Harbour Mobile Cranes. The company has also part funded the clearance of the site.

Ralph Saezler, Managing Director of Liebherr Sunderland Works Ltd, said: "We are absolutely delighted to see the site cleared of the waste. On the one hand, thanks to the close and highly valued cooperation of Sunderland City Council and Environment Agency, offering the long awaited opportunity for us to finally take over the site with the business potentials attached to that - safeguarding the jobs of our highly skilled work force. And on the other hand, to see a serious Health and Safety risk taken away for the benefit of the wider community."

The site clearance has been carried out by Acumen Waste Services Ltd, a leading provider of Industrial Site Services and Waste Management Solutions.

Andy Crossley, Managing Director of Acumen Waste, said: "Acumen are pleased to have played our part in the regeneration of this derelict site. To deliver this significant, logistically complex project safely and in such a short space of time is credit to our site team and supply-chain, who worked tirelessly to meet the expectations of Sunderland City Council, the Environment Agency and Liebherr. We’d like to thank these Stakeholders for choosing Acumen and wish them every success in the site’s onward development.
The project itself demonstrates the growth of Acumen as a dynamic provider of complex waste management and industrial site services solutions."