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Greater Manchester: deal done

Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority and Viridor Laing have today signed their 25-year private finance initiative (PFI) waste deal. The contract is worth £3.8 billion to Viridor Laing and is thought to be Europes largest such contract.

The deal will trigger a £640 million construction programme for a network of state-of-the-art recycling facilities over the next five years. This will include a revolutionary integrated solution for the 1.3 million tonnes of municipal waste the authority handles each year.

I am delighted that we have at last signed the contract with Viridor Laing. Greater Manchesters waste management solution is, I believe, the best for the environment and the local economy: saving natural resources, generating green electricity and creating jobs, said GMWDA chair Neil Swannick.

The deal had experienced difficult final stages and took longer than originally expected to reach financial close. It has the support of all nine district councils and all three political parties.

A range of new waste technologies will be utilised, which GMWDA said are proven in Europe but never seen before in the UK on this scale. These include mechanical biological treatment, anaerobic digestion, materials recycling facilities, combined heat and power and in-vessel composting. Greater Manchesters network of 25 household waste recycling centres will also be increased and upgraded.

GMWDA is responsible for five per cent of the UKs municipal waste and this contract will divert more than 75 per cent of its waste from landfill.

Secretary of State for the Environment Hilary Benn said: Diverting one million tonnes of waste through these world class waste facilities will be a major step in reaching our 2013 and 2020 landfill targets and play an important role in battling climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions created by landfill. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs provided around £125 million in funding for the project.

Viridor Laing, supported by GMWDA has had 100 per cent success in securing planning permissions for the 19 sites across Greater Manchester it has so far applied for. Further planning applications are yet to be determined for four additional sites. Under the new contract virtually all new facilities are to be built at existing sites and these should help take residents recycling rates to at least 50 per cent by 2015.

The project is expected to create around 620 jobs at Greater Manchester Waste and at least 5,000 for those involved in the construction work over the next five years.


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