Waste management company Amey has been fined half a million pounds by Cambridgeshire County Council for sending too much of the region’s biodegradable waste to landfill.
The target for biodegradable waste to be sent to landfill, set at 48,808 tonnes per year, was exceeded by 29%.
A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said: “The £500,000 is paid by Amey to the council for sending more biodegradable contract waste to landfill than the ceiling amount specified in the contract during 2018/19 financial year.”
Amey blamed the missed target on damage caused by storm Erik in February to its Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facility in the Cambridgeshire village of Waterbeach.
A company spokesperson said: “The target for the maximum amount of biodegradable waste that can be sent to landfill was missed due to part of the mechanical and biological treatment plant being shut between February and May 2019.
“This was so that emergency repairs could be carried out to the roof of the building, which was damaged by storm Erik on 8 February.”
The council agreed the damage had been caused by an act of nature, but said it took missing its targets seriously.
The council spokesperson said: “We monitor our contractor’s work very closely and take the matter of not meeting key targets very seriously.
“In this instance, we were aware through our monitoring and liaison with Amey that the target would not be met.
“The damage to the mechanical and biological treatment plant that led to the performance failure was caused by an act of nature, and the repairs were carried out at Amey’s cost.
“If more biodegradable waste is sent to landfill than the contract performance indicator allows there will be an appropriate financial deduction.”
With Amey failing to meet its contractual obligations, the county council ordered the waste management company to pay a £500,000 penalty charge.
The Amey spokesperson said: “As a responsible operator, we kept Cambridgeshire County Council informed of the situation, carried out the repairs at our own cost and compensated the council, despite this being caused by an act of nature rather than a performance failure by Amey.”
Amey has been contracted to provide waste treatment and household waste facilities to Cambridgeshire since March 2008.
In April this year Amey launched an appeal against a decision by the county council to block plans for a 250,000 tonnes-per-year capacity energy from waste (EfW) facility (see letsrecycle.com story).
The decision to appeal was taken nearly eight months after the original proposal was rejected.