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Bradford reconsiders waste strategy after PFI rejection

Bradford Council has unveiled alternative strategies for dealing with its municipal waste following the loss of crucial financial support from Whitehall.

The authority’s proposed £200m development involving a Skanska-led consortium was scuppered in February 2013 when Defra withdrew public finance initiative (PFI) credits of £62m for the 25-year contract.

The scheme at Bowling Back Lane (BBL), a partnership with Calderdale Council, was formally killed off by Bradford’s leaders in February 2014.

A report to the council’s environment scrutiny committee on 2 September sets out four options to replace the scheme, although it says: “It is unclear if Calderdale will wish to partner in any new procurement.” It follows recent meetings with “a range of local, national and international providers of waste treatment solutions”.

The report says: “There was a good level of interest and response from the marketplace. The indicative fees for waste delivered to the gate of the proposed solutions ranged from £75-£105 per tonne. When factoring other costs including transport, the ‘whole system cost’ to the council ranged from £85-£122 per tonne.”

No preference for any particular technology was specified by the officers, but the report says that every recommendation from the providers was for thermal treatment (TT) based on energy from waste.

The report goes on: “Any variations to this were only around the nature of the TT and whether the waste needed to be pre-treated for fuel preparation, with some small variables around the way the fuel preparation was achieved.”

The four options are:

  • Bespoke whole solution on the BBL site
  • Semi-merchant off-site TT facility (where the council provides the anchor contract for the facility located at a third party site)
  • Merchant off-site TT facility (requiring pre-treatment of the waste either on BBL or off-site at a third party location)
  • Spare capacity at other local authority-procured PFI facilities located within or close to the West Yorkshire region (30,000-40,000 tonnes a year)

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