"Game-changing" plans have been revealed for a £40m investment into the creation of a new waste processing facility just outside Carlisle, set to create dozens of jobs and produce an alternative energy source to fossil fuels.

Local family business North West Recycling and partner Waste Knot Energy have drawn up plans for the construction of a new facility on the Rockcliffe Industrial Estate, Kingmoor Park, which would take non-recyclable waste from Cumbria and convert it into "pellets" that can be burned as a fuel source - though none of the burning will take place on site.

Up to 60 jobs could be created as a result of the facility's construction, and it is proposed that when the facility is up and running, it could provide "a solution for all general waste in Cumbria", according to Rick Allan, managing director of the Carlisle-based North West Recycling.

The proposed facility would produce fuel pellets from unrecyclable waste paper, cardboard, plastics, wood and textiles, and then be transported for use in cement kilns, power stations, steel works and brick kilns.

The pellet fuel produced from commercial and industrial would therefore serve as a replacement for coal, petroleum coke and oil, which are fossil fuels, as well as cutting down on the amount of waste set to go to landfill sites.

The plant could help make a "substantial contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions", according to John Stevenson, Conservative MP for Carlisle.

“This is fantastic news to see such a substantial investment potentially coming to Carlisle and Cumbria," he said.

"This investment would also create new jobs locally and will make a substantial contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is to be welcomed.

"This again demonstrates the growing confidence that businesses have in Carlisle and is a hugely welcome innovation and development for our city.

"With the potential to eradicate burning of waste in Cumbria, this could be a game-changer.

"I commend the hard work and innovation of Rick Allan and his team and will give them every support that I can.”

Mr Allan added: “We’re excited to be playing a significant part in helping Cumbria reduce its carbon footprint."

He said he began North West Recycling with a "clear vision of solving the problem" of how tackle non-recyclable waste in Cumbria.

"This investment is validation that the work we’re doing to reduce the landfill burden is going in the right direction.

"If we can also create Cumbrian jobs off the back of this work, that’s fantastic.

"This investment will help put Cumbria on the map, not just for its beautiful countryside but also for leading the UK in its approach to waste recovery.”

The plans for the plant, which would be located on the former RAF Carlisle site, have been submitted for consideration to Cumbria County Council, as the authority responsible for deciding on waste management issues in the county.

Proposed as a 24 hour, seven day a week operation, the site would process up to 300,000 tonnes per year of "Solid Recovered Fuel" waste.

Waste Knot Energy, which has partnered with North West Recycling on the project, hopes to eventually build eight pellet-producing plants across the UK.

Its first plant in Middlesbrough is set to be brought online in May.

Planning documents submitted to the county council state that as part of the proposed site's Environment Agency permit application, "emissions from the stack will be modelled and demonstrated to have negligible impact".

North West Recycling is already a manufacturer of Solid Recovered Fuel, at its existing site on the Rockcliffe Industrial Estate, and began talks with Waste Knot Energy on the newly proposed projects back in 2019.

North West Recycling have now signed a 15 year contract with the company to supply Solid Recovered Fuel for waste fuel pellet production.

It is envisaged that, if plans are approved, the Carlisle plant will become fully operational by the fourth quarter of next year.

Carlisle City Council's deputy leader and Belah and Kingmoor ward councillor, Conservative Gareth Ellis, has welcomed the proposals as "excellent".

"It's a huge amount of investment into the area," he said.

One particular positive of the facility were it to go ahead, Mr Ellis said, is that it provides a direct challenge to the proposed energy from waste incinerator facility at Kingmoor Park, which is awaiting the awarding of a permit from the Environment Agency.

Mr Ellis has long been critical of the plans for the plant, proposed by Fortum Carlisle Ltd, due to the proximity of the proposed site to north Carlisle.

"They're not going to be burning waste near the edge of the city, which is what the incinerator would be doing," Mr Ellis said.

Fortum maintains that emissions from its proposed plant would be both within safe limits and closely monitored, and represents a "more environmentally friendly alternative to landfill".