ELWA engages with market as Renewi deal nears expiry

The East London Waste Authority (ELWA) has formally launched a market engagement exercise as it prepares to procure a new waste treatment contract.

ELWA is responsible for the disposal of municipal waste collected by the London boroughs of Newham (pictured), Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge (picture: Shutterstock)

ELWA’s existing PFI integrated waste management contract with Renewi was signed in 2002 and will expire in 2027. It was valued at £500 million at the time but its cost has risen since. An ELWA budget meeting in November 2022 put the annual levy at around £72 million in 2022/23, which included a £6 million hit due to rises in inflation.

Published on Friday (27 January), a market engagement notice explained that the authority was seeking to understand better the market’s interest in providing waste treatment and disposal services, as well as the infrastructure and capacity available.

ELWA is responsible for the disposal of municipal waste collected by the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham and Redbridge. The authority says it handled 445,000 tonnes of waste in 2022/23, forecasted to rise to 472,000 tonnes in 2027/28.


The majority of East London’s waste is currently exported through the refuse derived fuel (RDF) markets or landfilled.

Renewi’s Frog Island MBT facility in Rainham, where waste is treated on behalf of ELWA

Competition for the tonnage will be intense, as there are a number of existing and proposed energy recovery facilities in the area.

ELWA’s close proximity to Essex, which sends the majority of its waste to landfill, has also led to a string of firms eyeing the contract. Prospective plants could include Indaver’s facility currently under construction in Braintree, Essex; Viridor’s 350,000 tonne per year capacity EfW plant in Tilbury Docks, East London; and Cory’s second facility in Belverdere, south east London (see letsrecycle.com story).

There are also several local suppliers who could bid for any lots which arise.


The engagement exercise arrives one year after ELWA published its joint strategy for East London’s resources and waste.

The strategy explains that “there is scope to implement more flexible and ambitious waste management policies and an eagerness to do so” once the existing contract ends.

The plan also said the partner authorities have “high aspirations for increasing the sustainability of local resources and waste management in the future”.

Havering recorded a 34.7% recycling rate in 2020/21, the highest of all ELWA collection authorities, while Newham posted a 20.9% rate, the third lowest in the country.


A report from ELWA which went before the budget meeting held last November explained that gaining PFI support for the 25-year deal had put it in a better financial position than others who had no PFI funding.

However, it said “the long-term nature of the contract is now a constraint for the authority and will be until 2027”. The report explained that there will be a cost of £72.3 million in 2022/23.

Although the authority says it has made savings in overall waste disposal, “there remains a continuing impact from inflationary increases in landfill tax and contract inflation.”

The report reads: “Contract inflation is a particularly significant element of the forecast levy increase for 2023/24 with the October rate on which contract inflation is based standing at 13.87%.”

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