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New deal could herald local authority PFI revolution

A newly finalised deal could revolutionise the way local authorities look to procure waste Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts.

The 30-year commitment signed by SITA UK and Cornwall County Council (CCC) is being held up as an example of how the capacity of the waste sector can be improved to handle the large level of capital investment required in the UK over the next few years.

(l to r): CCC chief executive Sheila Healy, Adam Paynter, SITA UK general manager Louis de Poncheville and CCC leader David Whalley shake on the deal

While it is the first waste PFI contract structured fully independently of the waste operator, a key element in making the project robust and bankable is the decision to implement proven technologies.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Royal Bank of Scotland have thus got behind it and provided joint funding for the venture. It is in fact the first initiative in the UK that the EIB has backed.

SITA UK chief executive Per-Anders Hjort said: Were delighted to have closed this contract with CCC just nine months after being announced preferred bidder, and to have been involved in creating a new PFI model for the waste industry.

In this new PFI environment, waste management companies need sophisticated resources, experience and finances available in order to deliver these complex contracts; SITA UK has proved it has the ability to manage all of the issues and deliver an effective solution for its client.

Over the life of the 30-year contract, the company plans to invest nearly £150 million to provide Cornwall with a sustainable waste management infrastructure.

CCC executive member for environment and heritage, councillor Adam Paynter said: We are looking forward to a beneficial working relationship with SITA Cornwall, and to bringing Cornwalls waste management into the 21st century.

Having investigated our future options in great detail we are confident this is the best possible deal for Cornwall.


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