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Cheshire councils’ judicial review reaches High Court

A judicial review into the Government’s decision to scrap £100m of PFI funding for a joint waste project between two Cheshire councils has reached the High Court.

In a two-day hearing, Mr Justice Longstaff who sat in Manchester, heard the local authorities’ case from Nigel Giffin QC.

Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council had funding withdrawn for a 25-year PFI project, which sought to treat 180,000 tonnes of household waste in the region. They decided to pursue a judicial review following meetings with Defra and advice from Counsel.

Cheshire West and Chester Council leader Mike Jones said: “We decided to take joint action because we believe that the methodology used by Defra to assess the merit of our scheme was seriously flawed. It is also our opinion that Defra’s assessment process has under-estimated the benefits which would accrue from that scheme.”

The two councils spent over £4.5m on the procurement for the PFI project, that eventually led to the appointment of Viridor as preferred bidder.

A Cheshire West Council spokesman told MRW that a decision is to be expected in July 2011.

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