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Legal battle over council's huge contract decision

A battle for compensation has begun after Environmental Waste Controls (EWC) lost out on a huge Lancashire County Council contract.

EWC, of Knowsley Business Park, Prescot, Merseyside, accuses the council of failing to act fairly in awarding a three year contract to run 21 UK household waste recycling centres.

Following its unsuccessful tender, the company claims that it was wrongly penalised and said the council did not act transparently and failed to apply the tender criteria in an objective, fair and accurate manner. EWC has requested that the court stops the contract award until this case is resolved. It is also seeking an order to force the council to retender the contract as well as damages. The company argues that if its tender had been evaluated in line with the councils criteria, it would have been successful.

In a High Court writ the company said it was penalised because it did not provide detailed site layouts. However, it said that such details were not required in the tender documents. Tender marks were also deducted because the council said EWC did not provide a detailed equipment list for each site. However, EWC argues that it did provide such a list, and claims the council did not understand the basic essentials of its tender.

EWC said its tender stipulated a Husmann Gigant GT 1750 Rollback Compactor for wood waste compaction at its site, but the council claimed the tender did not include this detail.

The council raised concerns about levels of noise produced by EWCs electrical generators. Its generators would run at 70 decibels, which is above the councils permitted maximum of 50 decibels. But EWC said this requirement was not contained in the tender documents. The council also failed to seek clarification about likely noise levels, and failed to consider that 70 decibels at source would not be as loud at the site boundary.

Council concerns about the companys ability to run 21 sites with only nine core fleet vehicles were also raised, but the EWC said that the tender made it clear that extra vehicles would be hired or transferred from other operations as required. EWC also said that the council failed to understand the nature of its business, and its use of compaction, which requires less transportation.

A failure to take up EWCs references was also cited as unfair, as the company has considerable experience of running household waste recycling centres for local authorities.

The tender has scored 87, while the successful company scored 89. The council asked for clarification of the tender which was supplied and then provided a debrief on December 17 2007 after the tender had been awarded to another company.

 

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