Ahead of what will be a rare future infrastructure opportunity for the waste management sector, Lancashire county council is to host an “early engagement” day for a county-backed contract to treat 300,000 tonnes of residual waste.
With most large local authorities having contracts in place for residual waste treatment, Lancashire has always been a county with an element of uncertainty around its treatment route. This is largely because it opted in 2006 for a £2 billion PFI supported contract with Australia-linked Global Renewables as the then Labour-controlled county didn’t want to use an energy from waste plant or landfill (see letsrecycle.com story).
It was said at the time that Global Renewables’ UR-3R technology has already been used in a Public Private Partnership contract in New South Wales, Australia, for two years. The contract eventually began in 2011 but was cancelled after a series of problems in 2014 (see letsrecycle.com story)
Now, in an about turn on infrastructure, the county – under Conservative control – is seen as not having any “red lines” about the technology that it might allow for residual waste.
Those who attend the engagement day, which is on 27 February at Farington (home to an MBT facility under the Global Renewables contract), will be given a presentation about the existing network of facilities and offered one-to-one meetings with the authority.
Early requirements under the new contract are for the provider to offer a solution which is “low cost, has reliable technology and is environmentally sensitive.”
Interest has already been signalled in the project from a number of waste management companies, with several identifying sites for energy from waste plants or interested in taking waste to plants outside of Lancashire. These are thought to include Suez at Blackburn; Veolia at Heysham; Miller Turner, Preston; Biffa; and N+P Group.
The contract is likely to be for a solution which will handle 300,000 tonnes of waste. There is more residual waste than this in Lancashire but the authority is seen as recognising that waste volumes could flatline or reduce and that they will be impacted on by changes to producer responsibility regimes and the potential introduction of mandatory food waste collections and a deposit return scheme.
At present the county’s waste goes to a variety of routes including an MRF at Farington which handles about 30,000 tonnes of material, a plant at Leyland which process about 60,000 tonnes of waste which is then sent to Viridor for incineration at Runcorn. An MBT process at Thornton produces volumes of compost like output.
The county, which has a recycling rate of 43%, is understood not to have ruled out the continuing use of the facilities as they are already in place but recognises that a larger treatment provision will be needed for the 300,000 tonnes.
The engagement day will focus on a contract for Lancashire but it is thought that there is potential for Blackburn-with-Darwen borough council to join with the county at a future point – it currently has a residual waste contract with Suez.
Speaking ahead of the engagement day, William Maxwell, service development manager, for Lancashire county council said he hoped that there would be a good level of interest in attending the event. And, he added: “Lancashire welcomes interest in delivering a low cost, reliable and environmentally sensitive residual waste treatment option, post-2025”.
In its notice about the day, Lancashire states: “The Council is keen to move away from landfill and to better understand what the market can offer in terms of treatment alternatives for residual waste; in particular treatments that will deliver best value. The event will also need to consider the transportation of waste, potential impact of any changes to the composition and volumes of residual waste and to environmental legislation over time… outcomes from this event may be used to shape the formal tendering process.”
To book places at the day, email – firstname.lastname@example.org Applications must be made by 16:00 on Friday 21/02/2020