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Project Transform's future to be debated

Warwickshire County Council is to debate the future of the controversial joint household waste treatment PFI venture, Project Transform. (see MRW story)

Project Transform aims to provide a £1 billion solution for residual household waste collected in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire. A technology will be agreed upon once a preferred bidder is chosen.

Warwickshire County Council Liberal Democrat spokesman for the environment Cllr John Whitehouse said: The only thing that seems to be driving the project is the PFI process were locked into.

Were saying its time to call a halt on thisto make certain were not going to build a plant which is significantly bigger than our needs.

Whitehouse has proposed a motion to be debated on Tuesday 30 March with partners in the project, Coventry City Council and Solihull Borough Council. The motion hopes to seek an agreement between the local authorities to:

* Halt the current procurement process
* Delay it for a minimum of one year
* Develop an alternative medium or long term strategy for residual waste disposal
* Reduce the size of the project team to minimise costs.

If none of these measures are agreed, the Liberal Democrats believe Warwickshire County Council should pull out of Project Transform completely.

According to Cllr Whitehouse a major review of the projects waste model predicted higher volumes of future waste arisings than expected. He explained: While it had slightly trimmed down the amount of waste [originally predicted to be produced over the life of the plant], we were not happy with the assumptions of continued waste overall and we were not happy with the recycling rates. Whitehouse told MRW that the report predicted recycling rates would continue to improve until 2020 but would plateau out in  the following  20 years of the project. He believes recycling rates will continue to improve beyond 2020.

Furthermore, Whitehouse believes that the six bidders in the running for the waste contract do  not offer varied enough technologies, with each bidders background in energy from waste:-

Companies with other technologies didnt express an interest in the project. This could be because they didnt think it was worth their while. My own partys stance on EfW is not that were totally against it but it should be the last choice.

Project Transform announced a long-list of eight selected bidders but two dropped out soon after. Three bidders are soon to be chosen for the next stage from Wheelabrator Technologies/Cory Environmental Management, MVV Umwelt, Veolia ES Aurura, Eon Energy from Waste AG with Greenstar, Urbaser/Balfour Beatty and Waste Recycling Group with Cemex.

 

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