Essex secures contracts for residual waste

Essex County Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council have awarded a major contract for the disposal of refuse derived fuel (RDF) and mixed residual municipal solid waste (MSW).

The contract is split into five lots and has been awarded to eight waste management companies.

It is valued at between £73-200 million.

The companies that the contract will be awarded to include: Cory Environmental, Seneca Environmental Solutions, Suez Recycling and Recovery UK, Renewi UK, Veolia, Viridor Waste Management, James Waste Management and Haleigh Salvage & Recycling.

Lot 1 is for the disposal only of RDF and/or MSW. It is estimated that this will consist of around 200,000 tonnes per annum based on ‘current arising’.

The four other lots are contingency arrangements and include: disposal only of MSW; disposal only of bulky waste; transfer and disposal of direct-delivered waste; and transfer and haulage of direct-delivered waste.

In the tendering document Essex County Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council said they are unable to guarantee which waste stream will be provided on any specific day, and the councils said that the contractor will need to provide a solution capable of receiving either material.

Residual waste generated by the county has been managed under a 25-year PFI waste treatment arrangement with Spanish-owned consortium Urbaser Balfour Beatty - UBB Waste (Essex) - in 2012, worth over £919 million across its lifespan.

The contract was also signed by the unitary Southend-on-Sea Borough Council as part of the Essex Waste Partnership.

However, this plant has faced a number of setbacks. It was revealed in January that Basildon MBT was only generating around half of the estimated 180,000-220,000 tonnes per year output that was expected annually through the UBB contract.

In March, Essex said it was ‘urgently’ procuring a short-term refuse disposal contract to avoid a waste treatment capacity gap of up to 255,000 tonnes.

And in June the authority confirmed that preliminary steps towards a court hearing were underway over the MBT plant built by Urbaser Balfour Beatty under a long-term waste contract for Essex.

Simon Walsh, Essex County Council cabinet member for environment and waste, told that the contract ensures Essex County Council is able to meet its statutory obligation in coming years.

Walsh said: “Our treatment route for residual waste is via the MBT facility in Basildon, where municipal solid waste is treated. This process produces a refuse derived fuel which the authority needs to dispose of.

“These service orders will secure an outlet for the RDF produced. In addition, the service orders awarded provide contingency arrangements should the MBT facility become unavailable at any time during its commissioning period, for example during periods of maintenance or other operational changes. These service orders also provide a treatment route for any waste types the MBT is not designed to treat.”

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