£310m in PFI credits for waste schemes

Millions of pounds of funding is being made available for four waste projects under Government's Private Finance Initiative scheme.

Defra has announced PFI credits will be awarded to Leeds City Council, Suffolk County Council, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, and a partnership of local authorities in Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham.

The projects are expected to involve building either incinerators or facilities for Mechnical Biological Treatment (MBT), which would use a process such as composting or anaerobic digestion to treat the waste.

Leeds City Council, which has been awarded 68.6m of credits, said it has not yet decided which treatment process will be used.

Environment chief Councillor Steve Smith said: “Given the advances in waste treatment technologies, we feel that a decision on the actual solution should not be taken until after the evaluation of all potential solutions brought forward during the procurement process.”

Bradford Metropolitan District Council has secured £62.1m for a project collaborating with neighbouring Calderdale Council. The two authorities currently send about 75% of their household waste to landfill.

Ian Bairstow, Bradford Council’s head of waste management, said his council was also keeping an open mind about what technology the PFI funding will support.

He added: “This funding to support the long term solution is good news, although it still only represents a very small proportion of the increasing cost of waste treatment.”

Suffolk County Council, which will receive £102m, favours an incinerator on a site at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, but has not fully committed to this plan.

A spokeswoman said: “We are still open for other technologies to come forward when the tenders go out.”

Local authorities in Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham – which together produce enough waste each year to fill Wembley Stadium – will receive £77.4m.

The three authorities are currently drawing up a Joint Strategic Waste Development Plan which will map out sites across the borough that could house facilities to process waste.

Kate Martin

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