Lancashire Waste Partnership, representing all of the sprawling county’s local authorities, has announced a preferred bidder for its £2.5 billion, 25 year PFI contract.

Australian company Global Renewables, a subsidiary of construction giant GRD Minproc, has been all but offered the contract with UK firms JWS Waste & Recycling Services and Churngold also brought into the consortium.

Bovis Lend Lease UK would be involved in the procurement and construction of the new sites necessary.

Lancashire has been a leading light in British waste management for a number of years and officials are hoping the PFI will cement its commitment to reducing landfill.

And, interestingly, incineration is off the menu of management tools.

“While there is still a lot to be done to negotiate the final deal, the Global Renewables proposal offers Lancashire a sustainable waste management solution without the need for incineration,” said Cllr Tony Martin, the county’s cabinet member for sustainable development.

Sue Procter, head of the county’s waste management group, told edie the partnership had chosen to go down the route of mechanical biological treatment (MBT) rather than burn its municipal waste.

“Initially our waste management strategy included energy from waste as an option but we also said within that strategy that we’d keep the situation under review,” she said

“During consultation a lot of people said they would prefer energy from waste incineration to landfill but if there was another technology available they would definitely prefer that.

“The Global Renewables tender offered us that which is one of the reasons it impressed the partnership.

“Rather than burning it we will break it up, separate it and put it through a process similar to composting.”

Mechanical biological treatment usually separates out grit and gravel, as well as recyclables that might have been missed by kerbside schemes.

The gravel can be used for low-grade soil or aggregates while the glass, plastics and metals can be fed back into the recycling process.

Remaining material is then left to biodegrade and the eventual, greatly reduced residue is then sent to landfill or burned.

The process will be centred around the Urban Resource – Reduction, Recovery and Recycling (UR-3R) process, pioneered by Global Renewables in Eastern Creek, Sydney last year.

By Sam Bond

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie