arc21, the waste management group for 11 councils in the east of Northern Ireland, plans to build up to two Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facilities and an Energy from Waste (EfW) plant.

The project is one of the largest public procurement projects undertaken in Northern Ireland’s history and is expected to create up to 600 construction jobs over a three-year period.

The first MBT would have to be completed by 2012, and the EfW by 2014, and would create about 90 permanent operational jobs.

arc21 said the facilities were necessary to meet EU landfill diversion targets. Currently, the 11 authorities send 70% of their waste to landfill.

Councillor Hubert Nicholl, chairman of arc 21’s Joint Committee, said: “To manage that waste which can’t be recycled, this project will deliver modern waste facilities to turn waste into clean, renewable energy that could provide enough electricity for up to 40,000 homes every year.

“The new facilities will help the arc21 region handle its waste in a more environmentally responsible manner, diversify Northern Ireland’s energy supplies, help meet the Province’s renewable energy targets and give a much needed boost to the local construction industry.”

The group of councils in arc21, including Belfast City Council, produce almost 60% of all Northern Ireland’s waste.

The six shortlisted consortia for the project are Covanta Energy, Greenstar Holdings / E.On Energy from Waste, Indaver John Laing, SITA Holdings UK, The Shanks Wheelabrator Consortium, and Veolia Environmental Services Aurora.

They will now be put through to the next stage of the bidding process. The company that wins the contract is set to be announced next spring.

Kate Martin

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