Essex set to relaunch ‘£1 billion’ waste contract

Essex county council has confirmed that it will launch a 14-year tender for the treatment of residual waste this month, which it said will be worth £1 billion over the course of the contract.

Essex has been seeking a contractor to dispose of residual waste after the failure of the Tovi Eco Park (picture: UBB)

The new contract would be for seven years’ duration from 1 April 2025 to 31 March 2032, with the option to extend for up to a further seven years. The estimated total value of the contract over the potential 14 years is circa £1bn.

Essex outlined that the new specification will “limit contractors using landfill as a waste disposal method for Essex’s waste from 1 January 2028, except for very limited circumstances where necessary as a contingency measure”.

Councillor Peter Schwier, climate czar and cabinet member for environment, waste reduction and recycling, said: “I am keen to launch this new tender as soon as possible for the disposal of our black bag waste in Essex. This will ensure medium term arrangements are in place for the disposal of our waste while we finalise our draft waste strategy for the longer term.

“Early restrictions on the use of landfill will also be very welcome and help us continue to tackle climate change in the county. I would encourage potential bidders to attend the online bidders’ day which will be held on 30 January to support potential bidders with further information.”


The tender, which will be launched “subject to approval by the cabinet member”, will be the third attempt Essex has made to get its residual waste tender up and running.

The procurement process for a new waste disposal contract has had many hurdles, much to the frustration of the bidders.

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

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 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.

However, this was paused in May after the council said it received “no compliant bids” (see letsrecycle.com story).

The council extended its current arrangements, which sees waste go to landfill to the end of March 2025, up until the new contract begins.


There are many national and local waste operators who have their eye on the tender or some waste from Essex.

Viridor will be among the frontrunners. In September 2022 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).

Meanwhile, 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.

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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