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Covanta pledges challenge to Merseyside decision to make Sita preferred waste bidder

Covanta has confirmed it is to take legal action against Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) after losing out to Sita in the tender for an £1.18bn contract.

A consortium led by Sita was declared the preferred bidder for the MRWA’s 30-year contract in April. Following the announcement, the Mayor of Liverpool and a local MP tried to persuade MRWA to reverse its decision.

Now Covanta and MRWA have both confirmed that the unsuccessful contractor is taking legal action to contest the authority’s choice.

In a statement, MRWA said it regretted the legal proceedings brought by Covanta: “Whilst it is appreciated that an unsuccessful bidder will naturally be disappointed at the outcome, the [authority] has conducted an extensive and fair procurement process over several years and is confident that the most economically advantageous solution has been selected for Merseyside.

“[MRWA] therefore rejects the challenge made by Covanta and intends to vigorously defend the claim brought against it.”

The authority, which manages waste disposal for five councils on the Merseyside area, added that it would be inappropriate to make any further comments while the legal proceedings by Covanta are underway.

Andrew Miller, MP for Ellesmere Port, who complained to the MRWA over its tendering process, said: “Covanta are threatening to sue the authority over its handling of the tendering process and if a reassessment by the MRWA board avoids or at least mitigates a lengthy legal action we should surely consider it.”

He explained that it is a matter for the board of MWRA to consider, and there is the option for board members to “call in” the decision and force the management to rethink.

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