Landmark Contract Awarded for Treatment of Essex Waste
1 June 2012
Essex County Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council have signed a 25 year contract with a consortium of Urbaser and Balfour Beatty for the treatment of residual waste.
The Urbaser Balfour Beatty consortium will build a Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) facility which will treat household waste collected at the kerbside, trade waste collected by Essex local authorities, street sweepings and all non-recyclable waste from recycling centres across Essex and Southend.
County Councillor Kevin Bentley, Cabinet Member for Economic Development & 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 acceptable.”
Subject to gaining planning permission, the new facility will be built on a site at Courtauld Road in Basildon. The proposed facility will be capable of treating up to 417,000 tonnes of municipal waste per year. As well as treating waste the facility incorporate a visitor and education centre for the benefit of the wider community.
The construction of the facility will create up to 250 employment opportunities, and once completed will create 85 full-time jobs, as well as apprenticeship places. Construction will begin in early 2013, with the facility becoming fully operational in summer 2015 (subject to planning permission).
The Essex Waste Partnership (Essex County Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council) has been allocated £100.9m of Waste Infrastructure Credits (previously referred to as PFI credits) by the Government to help fund the new waste facility.
The Partnership’s key priority is to help residents reduce, reuse and recycle as much of their household waste as possible. However, there remains an amount of residual (black bag) waste that is disposed of in landfill sites.
The poor environmental performance and increasing cost of landfill means this is no longer a desirable method of managing waste. Landfill Tax currently stands at £64 per tonne of waste – this is set to increase by a further £8 each year until 2014. In 2010/11 Essex County Council paid over £19.4m in Landfill Tax.
The MBT facility will utilise a process that allows recyclable materials – such as ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics and glass – to be recovered from waste. The remaining waste then goes through a ‘bio-stabilisation’ process. After six weeks the waste becomes ‘stabilised’, meaning it cannot be broken down or decomposed any further. Following the removal of aggregate materials it can then be safely landfilled or used as a solid recovered fuel in energy plants.
Tom Meacock, Project Director for Urbaser Balfour Beatty, commented: “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.”