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Ministers spent £1.6m on endangered PFI projects

The Government spent more than one and a half million pounds providing guidance to three waste projects which are now in doubt after PFI credits were withdrawn.

Richard Benyon

Environment minister Richard Benyon told MPs his department had spent £1.65m on commercial and technical advice to councils involved in the procurement of the EfW incinerators.

Councils reacted with shock and anger when Defra announced last month that the schemes would not now receive £217m of previously agreed waste infrastructure credits.

The projects affected are: Bradford and Calderdale’s Pennine Resource Recovery Facility; Merseyside and Halton Waste Partnership Resource and Recovery Waste Contract; and North Yorkshire and City of York’s Allerton Waste Recovery Park.

Defra said it now expects to have sufficient capacity to meet the 2020 targets so was cutting funding to projects yet to reach financial close.

Benyon, responding to a question from Labour shadow environment secretary, Mary Creagh, admitted spending £620,000 for Allerton council, £440,000 for Bradford and £590,000 for Liverpool between 2005 and 2013.

Creagh has said the Government caused “chaos” for the waste schemes: “These councils are now in limbo – if these waste projects don’t go ahead they will have to completely rethink how they deal with thousands of tonnes of waste.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Lets be truthful here. This was purely down to DEFRA overspending its budget due to overspend on flood defence, the horse meat scandal etc, and simply having to balance it's books. Its no coincidence there's a budget tomorrow. Once again, Treasury pulls rank. And common sense flies out of the window. But what a signal to investors - the very investors that the UK so desperately needs to fund the replacement of its ageing infrastructure. For every pound Treasury has saved here, £6 of overseas investment has disappeared in the same breath. Well done, Mr. Osborne.

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