West Sussex launches £396m RDF tender

West Sussex county council has launched a tender worth up to £396 million over 16 years for the collection, transport, treatment and disposal of refuse derived fuel (RDF) produced at its Horsham plant.

The contract will be for the treatment of RDF produced by Biffa at the Horsham MBT facility (picture: Shutterstock)

The council is inviting bids for a single contract with an initial length of 11 years, with the option to extend by up to five years.

The contract is for the provision of ‘RDF and energy recovery feedstock services’, which includes the collection, transport, treatment and disposal of RDF produced at the Horsham mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plant, run by Biffa under a 25-year contract (see letsrecycle.com story).

The deadline for submissions is 27 March, with the contract award expected in August 2023 and the commencement date planned for April 2024.

The council said that the total estimated value of the contract could reach up to £395.6 million over a maximum term of 16 years. It added that this is subject to how waste volumes might be affected as a result of the expected implementation of the government’s waste reforms.

The local authority’s current arrangement with the West Sussex Seneca Britaniacrest Partnership was due to come to an end in April 2023, this sees RDF from Horsham exported across the continent. However, a one year extension has been granted for the Seneca Britaniacrest work, making the contract expiry date April 2024

Awarded in 2017, the contract was planned to last for five years (see letsrecycle.com story). The extended period is to allow time for the new procurement process to be conducted, the council said.


The commencement of procurement for a new RDF tender was approved at a cabinet meeting last March. The council also approved variations to its existing contract with Biffa, which included allowing for the processing of source-segregated food waste ahead of the consistency in recycling legislation mandating this.

Amongst other approved variations were the production of loose RDF as well as improved capture, storage and disposal of metal for recycling and bulking of dry mixed recycling for delivery to the materials recycling facility (see letsrecycle.com story).

These arrangements are designed to ensure it will always be in our interest to reduce residual waste

  • Steve Read, West Sussex county council

‘Future flexibility’

Steve Read, assistant director of environment and public protection at WSCC, said: “Having determined in 2022 that continuing with our MBT contract offers us future flexibility and, given continuing uncertainty around the implementation of the consistency reforms, procuring a new RDF offtake contract to run co-terminus with the MBT contract was a logical and pragmatic step.

“Importantly, these arrangements are designed to ensure it will always be in our interest to reduce the amount of residual waste we process, whether through waste minimisation initiatives, our recycling centre network, kerbside recycling and, in due course, separate food processing.”

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