Essex pauses residual contract procurement again

Essex county council has announced that it will no longer progress with its residual waste treatment contract procurement process as “none of the bids submitted in response to the tender were compliant”.

The application was submitted by Archers Fields Energy Recovery Ltd and goes before the Development and Regulation committee (picture: Shutterstock)

This came to light upon examination of the submitted bids following the March deadline, the council explained.

The local authority reasoned that it is “unable to continue with the process through to negotiation stage” and therefore “unable to award a contract for any lots of the contract as part of the current tender”.


A spokesperson for Essex county council said: “We are disappointed we were unable to progress this tender but intend to issue a new one shortly.” They explained that before relaunching the tender, the county council plans to “fully engage with the market and potential bidders in the coming weeks”. This is set to help the authority to “better understand the obstacles and review its minimum requirements”.

Essex county council disposes of waste collected by 12 collection authorities across the region

In a message sent to bidders yesterday (10 May), Essex noted that it plans to issue a new tender in the coming months which is “likely to be the same seven-year contract term”.

In the message, the council added that it “recognises and fully appreciates the time and effort that bidders have put into this process”. It also noted that it is “taking time to analyse and understand how the lack of compliant bidders has come about, to be able to learn from this process”.


The tender for the disposal of 350,000 tonnes of residual waste annually was first launched in August 2022 in a bid to move away from landfill (see letsrecycle.com story).

The contract was initially valued at £62 million for the contract term and split into three lots of 200,000 tonnes, 100,000 tonnes and 50,000 tonnes. However, it was unexpectedly cancelled three months later due to “technical issues” which haven’t been specified.

When relaunched in December, the contract value has increased to between £433.5 and £867 million (see letsrecycle.com story). The contract was set to commence on 1 April 2024 and run until 31 March 2031, with an option to agree an earlier services commencement between 1 October 2023 and 31 March 2024.


The contract is planned to help Essex county council move away from landfill where it has been sending its residual waste since the failure of the Tovi Eco Park energy from waste (EfW) facility in Basildon and changes in the refuse derived fuel (RDF) market in 2019.

The county council works with 12 district and borough councils that make up the waste collection authorities across Essex. Representing an estimated population of more than 1.8 million, the county had a household waste recycling rate of 49.7% in the 2021/22 financial year.

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