Essex relaunches ‘£867m’ residual waste tender

EXCLUSIVE: Essex county council has re-launched its search for a contractor to process 350,000 tonnes of residual waste across three lots, valued at between £433.5 million and £867 million.

The tender document was first launched in August but pulled three months later due to “technical issues” (see letsrecycle.com story).

The council wrote to bidders last month to reassure them that the tender would be republished on 2 December, but it was finally published yesterday (7 December) afternoon.

One industry insider said, however, that the contract remains “overly complex”, with concerns that the delay in publishing the tender could see large companies weigh up whether it is worth waiting for Surrey to launch their own procurement process early next year, as “capacity is finite”.

The complexity of the contract is thought to relate to the accompanying documents, believed to number more than 40 and sent to prospective bidders on topics such as health and safety. This is much higher than and “nowhere near” the usual number, said one previous bidder.

A spokesperson for Essex county council did not clarify the exact revisions to the technical details, but said: “We can confirm this is the re-released tender.”


The tender document is split into three lots, one for 200,000 tonnes, another for 100,000 and a third for 50,000.

The contract will have an initial term of seven years or up to seven-and-a-half years where an earlier services commencement date is agreed between 1 October 2023 and 31 March 2024.

It may be extended by agreement in any number of periods not exceeding a total of a further seven years.

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

Representing an estimated population of more than 1.8 million, Essex county council had a household waste recycling rate of 49.8% in the 2020/21 financial year.

The county council works with 12 district and borough councils that make up the waste collection authorities across Essex.

The contract is being procured to ensure residual waste “is disposed of through the most economic and sustainable solutions,” the council said.

The contractor will receive an annual base payment that ensures they receive payment for at least their guaranteed minimum tonnage per year, but they may be requested to dispose of waste volumes up to 20% higher than the awarded lot tonnages each contract year.


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, Essex has sent residual waste to various landfill sites, including the now closed Bellhouse Landfill in Colchester.

Essex remains one of the largest authorities without a landfill alternative agreement in place and competition is set to be fierce for the tonnage.

The Bellhouse Closed Landfill Site is now closed to waste and is being restored as public open space

Among those expected to bid, Belgian waste management firm Indaver says its 595,000 tonnes per year capacity Rivenhall EfW facility will begin commissioning in early 2025 and be fully operational by the end of the same year.

Meanwhile, Viridor in September agreed to acquire Thameside Energy Recovery Facility Ltd, the company which owns the rights to develop and construct a 350,000 tonne per year capacity EfW plant in Tilbury Docks, East London (see letsrecycle.com story).

Cory also has plans for a second facility in Belvedere, while several local suppliers could also bid for one of the lots for use in the RDF market.

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