In 1986, faced with the increasing scarcity and environmental problems of landfill, the London Boroughs of Lewisham, Southwark and Greenwich came together to search for a realistic alternative. In 1988, they formed a Consortium - South East London Combined Heat and Power - from which SELCHP now takes its name.
Bringing together a cross-section of public and private interests, SELCHP's members included not only the London Boroughs of Lewisham and Greenwich, but also the Regional Electricity Company and Energy from Waste design, construction and operation specialists.
From the outset, their approach to the project was based on consultation and co-operation. The first step was an in-depth feasibility study into the viability of an Energy Recovery Facility, followed by an Environmental Impact Assessment for the local community. Addressing concerns over atmospheric emissions, noise, traffic and visual impact, the E.I.A. was independently assessed on behalf of local residents, with favourable results.
Conditional Planning Permission was granted in 1990, and required further studies into noise, landscaping, architecture and traffic in order to satisfy planner's detailed requirements.
In 1991 site clearance began. A Design and Construct contract was awarded to Martin Engineering Systems Ltd.
During the winter of 1991/2 SELCHP prepared and publicly registered an application for an Authorisation under the Integrated Pollution Control provisions of the Environmental Protection Act, 1990. SELCHP was the first Energy from Waste scheme in the UK to hold this Authorisation. Also during1992, SELCHP was awarded an Electricity Generation Licence by the Office of Electricity Regulation
The plant was commissioned in December 1993 and was officially opened by HRH the Prince of Wales on 29th November 1994.
Today, SELCHP remains committed to understanding and meeting the needs of the locality.
In August 1998 a new system, to reduce emissions of Nitrogen Oxide was commissioned. This enables the Facility to meet the new emission levels required by the Environment Agency.