As long as the final negotiations run smoothly SITA will find itself taking on 300,000 tonnes of household waste from Cornwall’s 550,000 inhabitants.

The contract is expected to be worth in the region of £500 million over its 30-year lifespan and is likely to be signed in the summer, with work starting on the ground by the autumn.

“We are confident that a robust final contract can be negotiated with SITA UK to meet this timetable” said David Whalley, leader of the council.

He said it had been a closely run race between SITA and a second bidder and that both applications were of the highest standard.

“We count ourselves very fortunate to have had such high calibre companies bidding for our contract ” said Adam Paynter, the council’s executive member for environment and heritage.

“Throughout the long procurement process we have been lucky enough to attract major waste companies.

“Having whittled them down to one preferred bidder, we are confident that with SITA UK as our proposed new contractor we can look forward to a good working relationship and better management of our waste for the long term.

“SITA UK will now work with our officers to reduce waste, increase recycling and composting and meet the Government’s landfill diversion targets.”

The council has to slash the amount of compostable waste it is sending to landfill by 65% by 2020 and also has high hopes for its recycling levels.

The contract will see investment in existing sites and develop material recycling facilities (MRF), new transfer stations, composting facilities and an energy-from-waste incinerator for the treatment of non-recyclable residual waste.

The EfW plant is likely to be controversial but the council argues it will divert waste away from landfill sites and will provide electricity for the local and national grid.

The contract is for integrated waste management services and is partly funded by the Government’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI).

The European Investment Bank will provide up to half of the debt required to finance the contract. The contract is being driven by European legislation which requires local authorities in the UK to increase the amount of waste diverted from landfill sites.

Per-Anders Hjort, CEO of SITA UK, said: “The Cornwall success fits with our strategic development plans in the UK.

“We have every intention of making this contract a showcase for the industry and a base for securing upcoming tenders.

“Cornwall County Council has been highly proactive in this procurement process and has clearly considered all the issues and details.

“SITA UK is confident that, working together, this environmentally superior solution will deliver best value for the residents of Cornwall.”

By Sam Bond

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