Viridor has been named as preferred bidder for the South London Waste Partnerships multi-million pound residual waste treatment contract.
Todays (December 16) announcement saw the Taunton-based waste management company beat rivals Waste Recycling Group (WRG) to become the favoured contractor for the 25-year deal, worth around 990 million. WRG, which was named as one of the last two contenders for the deal in April 2011 (see letsrecycle.com story) has been appointed reserve bidder.
Once signed, the contract will ensure that from April 2014, up to 215,000 tonnes of residual waste waste from the South London Waste Partnerships (SLWP) four councils – Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton – will no longer be sent to landfill.
Instead, if planning permission is achieved, the waste will be treated in an energy-from-waste incinerator which will produce electricity and, if viable, heat.
To achieve this, Viridor is proposing to build a 200 millionEnergy Recovery Facility on a plot of land just off Beddington Lane in the London Borough of Sutton, creating 40 full-time jobs. The new facility will have the capacity to handle 275,000 tonnes of waste a year andwill be located right next to Viridors existing 92-hectare landfill site, which it will replace. This landfill site is currently where the Partnership sends most of its residual waste.
The South London Waste Partnership stressed that the Viridor proposal would be subject to a very detailed and public planning application process, which will include an Environmental Impact Assessment considering issues around land use, design, traffic, air quality and sustainability. Residents in all four council areas will be able to contribute to the planning process in Sutton, which the Partnership said would give equal measure to the views of people in each borough.
The Beddington Lane landfill site, which receives up to 400,000 tonnes of waste every year, is expected to be full within the next 10 years. Once full, the plan is to restore the land to become part of a regional park.
At the start of the procurement process back in May 2008, the Partnership made a pledge to residents that the new contract would put in place arrangements that were more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than landfill. Over the 25-year lifetime of the contract it expects to save the four partner boroughs around 200 million in avoided landfill costs.
The SLWP was one of the seven projects that had its PFI funding withdrawn in October 2010 (see letsrecycle.com story) as part of Defras spending review, because the department said it was no longer needed to meet EU landfill diversion targets.
SLWP continued the procurement process for the project stating that it was not entirely reliant on the 112.9 million in PFI credits that was withdrawn as part of the review.
Councillor Phil Thomas, chair of the South London Waste Partnership Joint Waste Committee, said: Awarding preferred bidder status was a huge decision, but the Joint Waste Committee is confident that the right decision has been made: Viridor had the strongest bid when assessed against the evaluation criteria. It is now for the planning process to forensically study whether the proposal is appropriate for the Beddington area.
The Energy Recovery Facility proposed by Viridor is an intelligent solution to a huge environmental and financial challenge. Of course it is important that we all continue to minimise the amount of waste we produce and then recycle and compost as much as we can. But a modern Energy Recovery Facility has an important role to play in ensuring that we can prevent even non-recyclable waste from ending up in landfill sites, costing both the environment and council tax payers dearly.
Viridor managing director Mike Hellings said: “We are proud to have been chosen by the partnership, one of the most innovative groups of councils working together, as their preferred bidder. Our proposals have been designed to provide the partnership with a safe, robust and cost-effective solution to meet its needs and to complement its already successful recycling and waste prevention initiatives.
I would like to congratulate our team and we all look forward to progressing this project, including undertaking public consultation with the community about our proposals, prior to the preparation of a planning application.
As Preferred Bidder, Viridor will now enter into the final stage of the procurement process, Financial Close, where detailed information relating to the contract will be finalised and agreed with the Partnership. The contract should be awarded by August 2012.
In September 2008 Viridor was awarded two major contracts with SLWP (see letsrecycle.com).
The first deal means that Viridor is responsible for the transfer, transport and disposal of up to 450,000 tonnes-a- year of waste and recyclables for the partnership. The second deal involves Viridor meeting the partnerships composting, material recovery facilities and other treatment needs.