Under the deal, believed to be worth between800 million over its life, the consortium will be responsible for treating up to 377,000 tonnes-a-year of kerbside collected residual waste, trade waste, and non-recyclable waste from household recycling centres across Essex and Southend.
The contract will see Urbaser Balfour Beatty build a mechanical biological treatment facility (MBT) for which the Essex Waste Partnership has been granted 100.9 million of government PFI credits.
The Essex Waste Partnership is made up of Essex county council and its 12 district and borough councils, as well as the unitary authority of Southend-on-Sea borough council.
The Urbaser/Balfour Beatty consortium was named preferred bidder for the contract in January 2012, ahead of a rival bid from a joint venture named Resources for Waste, which included waste management firm Shanks Group, civil engineering specialists Costain and equity investor John Laing Investments (see letsrecycle.com story).
A consortium made up of waste management firm Cory Environmental and Swedish construction firm Skanska was also in the running for the contract, but was not included in the two-bidder shortlist announced in June 2011.
Councillor Kevin Bentley, cabinet member for Economic Development and Waste said: This is a landmark day for Essex, as the signing of this contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty will enable Essex and Southend to achieve a sustainable waste management solution, which is affordable and environmentally sustainable.
Subject to planning permission being granted, the MBT facility will be built on a site at Courtauld Road in Basildon. The proposed plant will be capable of treating up to 417,000 tonnes of municipal waste per year, and will incorporate a visitor and education centre for use by the community.
Construction of the plant is expected to begin in early 2013, with a total of 85 full-time jobs expected to be created.
Residual waste entering the MBT facility will undergo mechanical treatment where recyclable materials are removed before going through a biostabilisation process. This process reduces and dries the waste, meaning that it will not be able to decompose further. The remaining matter will then be landfilled or used as a solid recovered fuel in energy plants.
The use of MBT technology is expected to complement local borough and district councils existing kerbside recycling schemes.
Tom Meacock, project director for Urbaser Balfour Beatty said: We are delighted to be awarded this prestigious contract by the Essex and Southend Authorities and we are very much looking forward to working with the Essex Waste Partnership over the coming years.
(Note: the value of the contract was amended by letsrecycle.com on 11 June 2012)