UKs largest ever waste contract finally signed

Greater Manchester's £3.8 billion waste treatment contract has finally been signed after almost two years of delay, making it Europe's largest ever 25-year waste deal.

I am pleased that Defra could support the delivery of this project by providing approximately £125 million in funding and advice

Hilary Benn, Defra

The Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority announced today (April 8) that it has put pen to paper on the PFI agreement with a consortium of waste management firm Viridor and equity investors Laing, known as Viridor Laing (Greater Manchester) Ltd.

The contract was originally due to be signed in May 2007, but has been hit by a string of delays and problems raising finance in the difficult economic climate.

The deal, which received £100 million in PFI funding from Defra in January 2005 (see story) , will trigger a £640 million construction programme, creating a network of state-of-the-art recycling facilities over the next five years.

During this period, it is estimated that at least 5000  jobs in the building trade and the wider economy will be added to the 620 jobs at Greater Manchester Waste based in Bolton, which are secured and upskilled to “green collar” jobs by this contract.

Viridor Laing are planning to increase the permanent workforce by another 116 staff once the facilities are up and running.

The contract is worth £3.8 billion to Viridor Laing and will increase costs (at today's prices) to Greater Manchester householders by £1 per week. However, the Authority said that this compared favourably with the cost of a “do nothing, build nothing” option which would cost an extra £2 a week mostly in Landfill Tax and penalties.

The waste management project is set to provide an integrated solution for the 1.3 million tonnes of municipal waste which the Authority handles each year, and is the first of its kind in the UK on this scale.

GMWDA and the nine district councils are aiming to build on their recycling success, from 7% of Greater Manchester's municipal waste in 2002/03 to over 30% today. Within the new contract Greater Manchester will be able to recycle and compost an impressive amount of at least 50% of all waste by 2015 – reflecting residents' desires to recycle more.

GMWDA, through this contract will divert more than 75% of Greater Manchester's waste away from landfill which will be the greatest amount of diversion of all local authorities across the UK. GMWDA is responsible for 5% of the UK's municipal waste and will be making a powerful contribution to ensuring that the UK complies with its requirements under the European Union Landfill Directive.

Welcoming the agreement, Secretary of State for the Environment, Hilary Benn said: “Diverting one million tonnes of waste through these world class waste facilities will be a major step in reaching our 2013 and 2020 landfill targets and play an important role in battling climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions created by landfill.

“But it's not only the environmental benefits we should be celebrating. The creation of 5,000 new jobs in the North West is a boost for the regional economy at a welcome time and I am pleased that Defra could support the delivery of this project by providing approximately £125 million in funding and advice,” he added.

The PFI contract comprises:

• A ‘clean' new MRF at Longley Lane in Manchester to sort kerbside collected recyclable material (cans, glass containers and plastic bottles).

• Five mechanical biological treatment (MBT) and four anaerobic digestion (AD) plants to replace existing treatment facilities at Longley Lane and Reliance Street in Manchester, Cobden Street in Salford and a proposed facility in Bredbury, Stockport plus an MBT plant at Arkwright Street in Oldham.

• Refuse Derived Fuel – approximately 275,000 tonnes – from the MBT process will be supplied by rail to the proposed CHP generation facility at Ineos Chlor in Runcorn.

• Continued operation of the Bolton energy-from-waste facility.

• Four new enclosed in-vessel composting facilities to treat garden and kitchen waste at Bredbury in Stockport, Waithlands in Rochdale and further sites proposed in Bolton and Trafford.

• The continued use, with upgrades and improvements, of two Green Waste Shredding (GWS) facilities at Every Street in Bury and Longley Lane in Manchester.

• Major refurbishment or the creation of new transfer loading stations at Raikes Lane in Bolton, Every Street in Bury, Arkwright Street in Oldham, Waithlands in Rochdale, Cobden Street in Salford, Bayley Street in Tameside and Bredbury Parkway in Stockport.

• And, a major overhaul of sixteen household waste and recycling centres across the Authority.



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