A shortlist of bidders for the multi-million pound municipal waste contract in Northern Ireland, has been announced by organisers Arc21.
The body represents 11 councils, which are planning to use mechanical biological treatment and energy from waste for the first time in the region.
Under the contract, 580,000 tonnes of municipal waste will be processed a year for between 25 and 40 years, which gives the project a value of between £200m and £500m.
Shortlisted bidders include:
* Covanta Energy Ltd
* Greenstar Holdings Ltd / E.On Energy from Waste AG
* Indaver John Laing
* SITA Holdings UK Ltd
* The Shanks Wheelabrator Consortium
* Veolia ES Aurora Ltd
In the next stage of the process, bidders will prepare more detailed and technically advanced submissions. Completion of the tender process is expected by summer 2010, with facilities becoming operational by 2014.
Meeting energy needs
Arc21 Joint Committee chairman Hubert Nicholl said: We are continuing to make significant progress in our aim to deliver modern waste treatment facilities for the Arc21 region. It is important that progress is made in the delivery of the Arc21 waste management plan to avoid potentially heavy fines from Europe, but also so that we can contribute to the diversity of sources necessary to satisfy our combined energy needs in the future.
Arc21 councils are: the borough councils of Antrim, Ards, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Castlereagh, Larne, Newtownabbey, North Down; the city councils of Belfast and Lisburn; and Down District Council.
Appoint preferred bidder by April 2010 and the contract by July 2010
MBT to be operational by April 2012
EfW to be operational by March 2014