30 November 2010

Milton Keynes Council and Northamptonshire County Council partnership waste project is set to be cancelled.

Project Reduce, the joint waste project between Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire, is set to be cancelled following an announcement made today.

The removal of £138m in Government funding last month, part of Defra’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme, cast the project into doubt as it provided a considerable contribution to the cost of the infrastructure of the project.

The councils in both areas had been working successfully in partnership since 2008 to procure a long-term solution to treat and dispose of both authorities’ residual or ‘black bag’ waste and prevent it going to landfill.

But now following a month long review it is being recommended to close down the project. The decision, made at a meeting held today, 30th November, will need to be further agreed by the two authorities at their respective cabinet meetings.

The work carried out to date will be the foundation for the council’s decisions about how to proceed with waste disposal over the coming years, and to form the basis for planning shorter term arrangements for the disposal of waste. More detailed announcements will be made as soon as they are available.

There are currently no issues concerning the availability of facilities to deal with the disposal of waste across the two areas and alternative arrangements will be put in place to ensure that resident’s waste is dealt with efficiently.

Cabinet member for Highways, Minerals and Waste at Northamptonshire County Council, Councillor Heather Smith, said: “Our partnership has always been strong and the decision to halt the project is not one that has been taken lightly. In these economically challenging times it is necessary to scrutinise everything we do, and the removal of the government funding has forced us to reassess our strategy.
“We are currently considering the best way to continue in order to find a suitable value for money solution for our residents.”

Councillor Mike Galloway, cabinet member for Environment, Planning and Growth for Milton Keynes Council, added: “This is understandably very disappointing for everyone involved from both authorities. The project has been a very positive one, but we have to make difficult decisions in light of the current state of the economy.

“We remain committed to finding a solution that prevents all our residents from having to pay increasing landfill taxes and fines.”