A preferred bidder to build an incinerator in Peterborough has been identified by the city council in what will be an £80 million-plus project.
The council has confirmed this morning (Friday) that Viridor Waste Management Ltd has beaten Kier to pole position to build the energy from waste facility in Storeys Bar Road, Fengate.
Council deputy leader Matthew Lee has been asked to authorise the spending of some £75.857 million to build the facility, as well as £5.5 million on “professional advisers” costs involved in what has been called the “Waste 2020 Programme”.
Should the decision be ratified by Cllr Lee by next Friday and not called in by councillors, it is expected that the facility would be built and operational by September 2015, with the council entering into a 33-year contract with Viridor that would include a 30-year operating period.
The council wants to build the facility due to what it sees as the rising cost of using landfill sites, as well as their unsustainable nature and in the long term believes this will cut greenhouse gas emissions and result in cost savings via the energy generated through the incineration.
The council claims that the facility would generate 53,000 megawatt hours of electricity, which it says is enough to power 15 per cent of the homes in Peterborough for a year, as well as making emission savings.
The council’s plans have been met with stern opposition from in particular Peterborough Friends of the Earth as well as some city councillors.
As such, it is likely that this decision will be called in for further scrutiny by councillors.
Speaking about the plans, Cllr Matthew Lee said: “The issue of waste has become particularly acute in recent years as landfill sites have filled up and costs have risen even more sharply.
“The council recognises that continuing to landfill is not an option and has planned ahead to ensure that we have a secure way of dealing with the city’s waste.
“It’s the right thing to do for the environment and the right thing to do for the city’s taxpayers.
“This contract heralds a whole new, and very exciting, approach to the way in which we manage our waste. We have been very fortunate to have two excellent proposals from the two final bidders. I will now consider the recommendation carefully before making my decision.”
When planning permission for an energy from waste facility was granted at the end of 2009, the council has projected the cost to be £53 million.
Richard Olive, of Peterborough Friends of the Earth, has criticised the council for failing to conduct a proper public consultation on the plans.
While there was a consultation held prior to planning permission being granted, Mr Olive says that very little information about the exact nature of the incinerator and any emissions it will produce has been released.
He said: “The council embarked on its ‘Integrated Waste Policy‘ in December 2006.
“It constantly referred to its intention to construct an ‘Energy from Waste’ facility without specifying which of 9 different technologies it planned to use. Even the planning permission it granted itself was merely for an ‘Energy from Waste’ facility. It was not until this June that the deputy leader finally admitted that the plans were for a mass burn incinerator.”