Sustain Consultation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Sustain is a new initiative founded by Crapper and Sons Landfill Ltd, a family run business that has been providing landfill and sustainable solutions to its local communities for over 40 years.

Based on the outskirts of Wootton Bassett, Sustain aligns with the core values of Crapper and Sons Landfill Ltd, which is committed to recycling, reusing and repurposing.

Sustain’s mission is to have positive impact on communities and places. Its goals are to deliver sustainable food, energy, employment and living to its local community.

The foundation stone of Sustain is a radical new approach to the repurposing and reuse of landfill sites to create cheap energy and heat, as well as green food super production centres for local communities through its Super-Midden solution.

Based on the concept of the ancient midden where waste, including animal dung, would be piled outside homes to break down, providing heat, material to burn and composted biomass, the Sustain Super Midden is designed to turn landfill sites into energy, heat, food, and fertiliser generating centres for the benefit of the local community.

This is made possible through Sustain’s plans to locate positively pressured greenhouses on the surface of sealed landfill cells, using heat and energy produced on site to enable just-in-time, demand-based, year-round fruit and vegetable production.

Yes. The flexible, positively pressured greenhouses have been specifically designed to be biosecure and are fully encapsulated.

These will be located on securely sealed landfill cells. These cells are capped by 1/2m of inert material, then 2m of compressed clay, creating an impermeable lining. In addition to this, a topsoil compost mix is added to provide weather protection for the clay armour.

Within the greenhouses, all plants will be grown in raised beds on tables, using soils and compost introduced to the greenhouses, or hydroponics systems. Combined with the encapsulated structure of the greenhouse, which is totally impenetrable, plants cannot come into contact with the exterior surface of the landfill cells. This results in a safe, secure and rich growing environment within the greenhouses.

Additionally, thanks to integrated airlock doors and a constant flow of filtered CO 2 and air, any unwanted insects, disease, pollen, pollutants, and contaminants, including any traces of landfill gas, are kept out. This helps to ensure plant health and biosecurity without the need for pesticides, allowing for an organic approach to the production of fresh fruit and vegetables, aided by beehives that will be kept in the greenhouses to promote pollination.

Methane gas produced from within the sealed landfill cells is currently collected and safely burnt off. Under the proposed plans, this gas will be used to power engines to generate electricity and heat, which will be used to keep the positively pressured, inflatable greenhouses at a perfect growing temperature for horticulture throughout the seasons.

CO 2 , produced as a by-product of the energy from methane gas process, will be fed directly into the flexible greenhouses to enhance and control the rich growing environment. Aided by low-impact ultraviolet horticultural light to extend the growing season, multi-cropping and year-round harvesting of everything from lettuce to avocados will be possible.

Sustain’s circular solution will see its greenhouses produce just-in-time, demand-based fruit and vegetables using advanced modelling technology to manage planting, levels of heat, light and CO2.

Using the Sustain Super-Midden landfill centre as a distribution hub, just-in-time food will be delivered daily to order, to the doorstep, reducing food miles at the same time as removing the need for large storage and warehousing operations. This approach will enable cheaper and more sustainable fruit and vegetables to be produced than can be provided by the supermarkets.

In time, these deliveries could also include dairy products and meat from local farmers, helping to provide healthy food from local sources, supporting local producers.

Food waste will be collected as part of the food delivery service. This will be processed through a proposed anaerobic digestion plant, which will provide low-cost energy, alongside fertiliser for use in the greenhouses, perpetuating a sustainable, circular solution.

Projections show that each greenhouse will be capable of producing 10 tonnes of fruit and vegetables year-round. These will be planted and harvested on a just-in-time basis using advanced modelling technology to manage planting, levels of heat, light and CO 2 to accelerate or slow the growing process. Based on our modelling, the greenhouses have the potential to provide 80% of all fruit and vegetable requirements for the communities of Wootton Bassett, Brinkworth, Malmesbury and Purton.

Sustain has received planning permission for a 40m x 20m prototype inflated greenhouse, which has been produced and will be tested as proof of concept. Each greenhouse is kept rigid through the use of positive pressure and an airlock revolving door that keeps out unwanted insects and pollen. Air pumped in is filtered, regulated, and CO 2 increased or reduced to regulate the speed of growth and ripening within the greenhouse.

This ground-breaking solution is based on a combination of technologies that have been tried and tested previously, but not in this way. Pressurised structures, for example, are well proven, making it possible to create environmental conditions inside the greenhouses that repel insects and pests so that they cannot affect germination or plant growth inside the greenhouses. CO 2 enrichment in greenhouses is also well practiced. This allows crops to meet their photosynthesis potential. Conventionally, enriching air with CO 2 can be achieved by means of the combustion of natural gas or through the use of liquid CO 2 . Sustain’s Super-Midden solution produces CO 2 as a by- product of its methane to energy process.

The use of extra carbon dioxide to increase the yield of greenhouse crops is widely used in horticulture. The amount of carbon dioxide in the outside air is typically 350 parts per million. This amount is sufficient for plants to grow, however when placing many plants together in a greenhouse, the carbon dioxide levels drop. This is because plants are using carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. By adding CO 2 (CO 2 enrichment), it is possible to increase the photosynthesis potential of the crops, especially on sunny days. CO 2 made as a by-product of the power from methane gas will be used to enhance growing conditions within the positively pressured greenhouses at the Brinkworth Road site.

Energy from landfill gas is a well proven process which is used internationally. In 2021 energy from landfill gas produced to 3,313 gigawatt hours of electricity in the UK.

Landfill gas is primarily composed of methane CH4, CO 2 and H 2 S. Through a series of wells placed within the landfill, gases from waste decomposition are collected and piped to a central location where it is cleaned by removing the H2S and used to fuel a Combined Heat and Power Gas Engine. CO 2  will be collected from the engine exhausts, cleaned, and will be stored to be used in the greenhouses, where the process of photosynthesis will turn CO 2 into oxygen.

Yes. As part of the methane gas to clean energy process, pollutants will be removed from the landfill gas. Hydrogen sulphate will pass through a biological treatment tower where microbes will break it down. CO 2 will be captured and used in the greenhouses to regulate the speed of growth and ripening of produce.

The inflatable, positively pressured greenhouses will each be 800 m 2 . Each greenhouse is capable of consuming 58 tonnes of CO 2 a year through photosynthesis. Here, leaves pull in carbon dioxide alongside water, using the energy of the sun to convert this into chemical compounds such as sugars that feed plants. Oxygen is produced and released as a by-product of this process, helping to make the Super-Midden process carbon neutral.

Mitigation measures will be put into place to minimise the prospect of light pollution. This will be enhanced by the fact that the greenhouses will be recessed into the land using an extensive raised bund/embankment built around the site to shield it from Wootton Bassett, the motorway and the railway. This will be planted with native varieties of trees which will link with the existing woodland to form a green corridor of indigenous woodland, further enhancing the natural environment.

The Brinkworth Road site has the potential to house 56,000 m 2 of positively pressured inflatable greenhouses.

Before the first greenhouses can become fully operational, the energy from landfill gas plant will need to be built on site. This is a straightforward and well-practiced process. Once built, it is anticipated that that the first trial greenhouse will be fully operational within 6 months. This will be operated for 12 months to perfect the design, before construction of the first phase of 20 units begins. The completion of these will see the first community supplies delivered in 2026.

As live landfill cells come to the end of their fillable life, these will be capped and a plateau built above them on which the greenhouses will be situated. The cells will be tapped for methane gas, which will be processed, cleaned and used to power gas engines to generate electricity. CO 2 from the process will be captured and used to accelerated photosynthesis, plant growth and ripening within the positively pressured greenhouses.

Based on our current site, we anticipate that it will take 10-15 years before all the greenhouses are in full operation at the Brinkworth Road site.

Due to the nature of capped landfill sites, which constantly move due to the production and release of gas, alongside the natural settling process of the content within landfill cells, flexible, positively pressured greenhouses are necessary. These adjust to the changing lie of the land and prevent the ingress of pests, disease and any external pollutants, including landfill gas.

By adopting pressurised greenhouses there will be no need for pesticides, allowing for an organic approach to the production of fruit and vegetables.

This is achieved by constantly pumping a mix of filtered CO 2 and air into the greenhouses, keeping contaminants and disease out. Airlock doors ensure that no unwanted insects or pollen can enter, helping to ensure biosecurity. Beehives will be kept in the greenhouses to promote pollination.

The resulting honey will be available to the local community.

Leachate from landfill can be harvested. This is high in phosphates and can be refined into fertiliser, providing a sustainable fertiliser alternative.

Each year, the current landfill site at Brinkworth Road, Royal Wootton Bassett, produces up to 2.6 million cubic meters of methane gas. This is burnt off using a flare system to prevent a build-up of gas within the commercial and industrial waste landfill cells. This is the equivalent to 3,800 tonnes of CO 2 being released into the atmosphere each year. By using this gas to power engines and generate electricity, CO 2 that is produced can be fed into the inflatable greenhouses, which will consume more CO 2 than is produced on site.

A new lagoon and reed bed will be added to the site to enhance wildlife. This will be used to balance runoff. Water capture will also be used in the greenhouses, and artificial wetlands will be utilised to both store water and enhance biodiversity. An extensive bund will be added around the site to shield it from Wootton Bassett, the motorway and the railway. This will be planted with native varieties of trees which will link the existing woodland to form a green corridor of indigenous woodland, further enhancing biodiversity on site.

Spare energy from the methane gas engines, alongside electricity generated by the energy from waste plant, will be provided to support green industrial development and recycling.

If successful, Sustain’s solution to rethinking, repurposing and reusing landfill sites could be used to change the way that landfill operations are run nationwide, transforming them to become one of the most climate-friendly, methods of waste disposal, based on the concept of the Sustain Super-Midden.

Through the production of fruit and vegetables at a lower cost than the supermarkets, Sustain also has a part to play in both alleviating food shortages and addressing the cost-of-living crisis, while also providing cheap heat and power to make this possible.

Yes. It is estimated that the Sustain Super-Midden energy, heating and green super food production centre will create up to 130 new jobs.