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Project Reduce PFI to close

Milton Keynes Council and Northamptonshire County Council’s joint waste PFI is due to be cancelled, following a review of the project.

The decision was reached after the future of the £138m partnership, known as “Project Reduce” was “cast into doubt”  when its allocation of Government PFI credits withdrawn following an announcement in the comprehensive spending review in October.

After the withdrawal of the funding, both councils undertook a four week review of the project before the decision was made to abandon the project at a special council meeting. The decision to formally scrap the project must now be agreed by both councils at cabinet level.

The 25 year PFI project was expected to provide waste treatment and disposal facilities for up to 400,000 tonnes of waste from the region, with Shanks, Covanta Energy and Waste Recycling Group (WRG) all selected as shortlisted bidders.

Despite the loss of the infrastructure, the councils insist that there are “currently no issues concerning the availability of facilities to deal with the disposal of waste across the two areas” and that “alternative arrangements will be put in place”. 

Northamptonshire county council cabinet member for highways, minerals and waste, councillor Heather Smith said: “Our partnership has always been strong and the decision to halt the project is not one that has been taken lightly. In these economically challenging times it is necessary to scrutinise everything we do, and the removal of the government funding has forced us to reassess our strategy.
“We are currently considering the best way to continue in order to find a suitable value for money solution for our residents.”

Milton Keynes council cabinet member for environment, planning and growth councillor Mike Galloway said: “This is understandably very disappointing for everyone involved from both authorities.  We remain committed to finding a solution that prevents all our residents from having to pay increasing landfill taxes and fines.”

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