Four waste companies are being invited to submit detailed solutions for the contract to provide residual waste facilities in Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire.
It follows the submission of outline solutions by bidders last summer to Project Reduce, a joint venture between Milton Keynes Council and Northamptonshire County Council.
Those on the short list must now show exactly how they intend to design, build and operate waste treatment and disposal facilities to deal with the black bag rubbish left over after recycling and composting.
Any solution will need to demonstrate that it can successfully deal with the residual waste of both councils; projected as up to 400,000 tonnes in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) notice last year.
The companies on the short list are (in alphabetical order):
- Biffa Waste Services Limited
- Covanta Energy Limited
- Shanks Wheelabrator Consortium
- Waste Recycling Group Limited
Councillor Mike Galloway, cabinet member for Environment, Planning and Growth for Milton Keynes Council, said: “We have had an enormous amount of interest in Project Reduce from some strong companies throughout the bidding process so far. We want to work in partnership to reduce our reliance on landfill. Although both councils already exceed national targets for recycling and composting, we still need to find an affordable and more sustainable option for managing black bag waste in Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire for the next 25 to 30 years.”
Cabinet member for Environment, Growth and Transport at Northamptonshire County Council, Councillor Heather Smith, said: “Retaining the current form of managing waste in Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire is simply not a viable option. We would be looking at ever increasing landfill bills which would in turn lead to a sharp rise in council tax. We look forward to receiving more detail on the solutions the short listed companies are proposing. Decisions will be made taking into account both environmental and financial considerations, so that we get the best outcome for residents of both areas.”
The next stage of discussions with bidders will be held through a competitive dialogue process and will take approximately eighteen months. The overall solution and technology that is finally chosen must be compliant with the policies of each council, including those relating to planning.
New facilities are expected to be in place by 2014.
The companies initially responded to a contract notice placed in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in April 2009 and successfully completed a pre-qualification questionnaire. The contract they are bidding for is expected to run for a minimum of 25 years.
They have put forward a range of technology ideas, but no final decisions have been made on what will be chosen.
Each council has identified a site through its own Waste Development Plan Document process that may be used for the facilities. Milton Keynes Council’s site is at Old Wolverton, while Northamptonshire County Council’s site is close to the A45 at Great Billing. However, the short listed companies can also bring forward sites of their own. Any proposal for sites still has to go through the planning process, including full public consultation.
The Milton Keynes and South Midlands area has been chosen as a focus for housing and economic growth by the government. The anticipated increase in households up to 2026 will provide an additional 160,000 homes.
Residual waste is the rubbish left over after reuse, recycling and composting.
For more information on Project Reduce, please go to www.projectreduce.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0845 2011222.