Talking West Cheshire

Cheshire councils agree major step towards County's household waste solution

7 June 2010

A major step towards the provision of a sustainable and long term solution for dealing with Cheshire’s household waste has been given the go-ahead by the county’s two unitary authorities.

Members of Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils have agreed an affordability ceiling of £847m for the joint Waste Disposal Contract Public Finance Initiative over the next 25 years.

The figure relies on over £100m of PFI credit support from central government.

Although the threshold figure is based on projective alternative landfill disposal costs, actual payments made by the two councils will be based on the tonnages of waste delivered.

Steve Kent, Community and Environment Director for Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Despite the great strides we have made with recycling, we still sent 190,000 tonnes of waste to landfill last year.

"And even if we achieve our ambitious future recycling targets, we would still expect to be sending 155,000 tonnes to landfill annually."

He added : "Declining landfill space and increasing costs, an average of £800,000 each year, mean that doing nothing is definitely not an option - certainly not one that will be appreciated by future generations."

Cheshire East Councillor, Cllr Peter Mason, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Procurement, Assets and Shared Services, added: "Ensuring the safe and appropriate removal of waste for recycling is a key priority for Cheshire East Council, as is reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.

"It is vital we work together with Cheshire West and Chester Council to find a long-term solution for the benefit of the County as a whole."

Agreement of the affordability ceiling is the penultimate stage of a long procurement process designed to select a preferred company and method to deal with the County’s residual household waste.

Planning applications from Resource Recovery Solutions (RRS) and Viridor will be considered by Cheshire West and Chester’s Strategic Planning Committee on 17 June, at Wyvern House, Winsford.

Viridor has proposed a mechanical and biological treatment plant at the former INEOS chemical works at Griffiths Road, Northwich, which will recover the limited recyclable materials from household waste and use the remainder to produce a solid recoverable fuel.

This fuel will be transported by rail from the MBT facility to a purpose built power station to be constructed at Runcorn which in turn will generate energy for use in the INEOS works.

RRS want to develop a waste treatment plant at New Cheshire Business Park in Wincham, using gasification technology to generate renewable energy from left-over, non-recycled waste.

The two authorities are hoping to appoint a preferred bidder in October, this year.