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High Court hands lifeline to council faced with £67 million losses

A council faced with losses of £67 million from its disaster of a recycling facility has been handed a lifeline by the High Court.   

Neath Port Talbot Council set up the Crymlyn Burrows waste recycling centre on the border between Neath and Swansea with the aim of treating up to 170,000 tonnes of waste a year.

Since its inception in 2002, NPTC and Bridgend County Borough Council have been sending their waste to the facility for composting, recycling and incineration. 

However, after its Portuguese operator HLC went into administration, NPTC faced possible losses of £65 million over 25 years if new investors werent found.

And with the projects financer Bank of Scotland planning to sell machinery and plant- worth around £2.7 million- to recoup part of its losses, finding new investment looked extremely unlikely. 

However, the High Court in London has now paved the way for the council to buy the stock and save the facility. 

During the case, NPTCs barrister Stephen Davies QC told the judge that the under-performing waste site has been a disaster and since the collapse of HLC,  the councils were now paying £52,000 a week more to dispose of their waste than was originally planned.

He argued that if the Bank of Scotland sold the equipment, finding a new Private Finance Initiative Partner would be commercially hopeless.

The Bank of Scotlands representative Robert Miles QC told the judge: The councils interest is to find a new provider of services at the lowest periodic fee- the banks is to obtain the highest price for the assets. These two aims are not just in conflict- they are in opposition.

After the case, a NPTC spokeswoman said: The council was successful in the High Court sitting in London when the Court ordered a sale process for the assets situated in the Crymlyn Burrows waste plant. The Judges decision will enable the Council to put the plant up for sale so that a new operator can be found as soon as possible.

Meanwhile the plant is operational and taking waste on a daily basis from both Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend. The council is confident there will be a lot of interest in the proposal because the plant is a valuable facility with its own operating licence.





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