Community R4C claims a contract awarded in 2016 to Urbaser Balfour Beatty – the developer of the plant – should have been re-procured to seek value for money for Gloucestershire council.
The energy from waste plant is currently under construction at Haresfield, south of Gloucester and will handle around 150,000 tonnes of waste from the authority each year.
Urbaser and Gloucestershire county council signed an initial £500 million contract for the development of the EfW facility in 2013 (see letsrecycle.com story). But after delays to the delivery of the plant, which included a protracted planning process, a new contract was signed between the two in February 2016.
Previously redacted documents relating to the contracts were released by the council last month which showed “material changes” had pushed the estimated cost from around £455 million in the first contract to potentially £600 million in the second, Community R4C.
In its submission to the High Court, the community group has claimed that the 2016 contract should have been re-procured as part of a competitive tender process. The group says it would have bid for the contract if it was put out for tender, as it has been working on plans for its own facility. The group is seeking compensation from the council in relation to the award of the contract.
Responding on behalf of the council, Cllr Nigel Moor, Gloucestershire cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “The council ran a competitive process following procurement law to select a company to deal with the county’s household waste that can’t be reduced, reused or recycled. The council has now received a legal claim from R4C in relation to that process and we are currently reviewing our response.”
In its latest update on the facility, released last month, Urbaser revealed that much of the equipment for the facility had been installed, and commissioning of the plant is due to begin shortly.
Gloucestershire county council now has a period of time to respond to the claims.