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Somerset seeking landfill alternatives

Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) is calling for commercial partners to offer sustainable solutions that will reduce the county’s £12m annual landfill bill.

Following budget reductions in recent years, the Partnership hopes that an alternative could save it at least £1.3m annually.

Somerset currently sends 120,000 tonnes of waste to landfill each year, which is the largest single expenditure of the SWP’s £40m annual budget.

Although Viridor was initially offered the opportunity to provide a solution as part of its ongoing contract with SWP, its proposals were not considered to offer the best value compared with the open market, and external partners were invited to submit proposals.

SWP senior communications officer Nick Cater said that a number of possibilities are currently being investigated.

“We haven’t ruled out what options we will take on this. We are open to offers and many different options are on the table,” he said.

Cater told MRW that the partnership was considering using waste transfer stations outside the county to process waste, and energy-from-waste plants in northern Europe or the UK.

He said that building its own facility was not being considered due to the relative cost of such a project.

The aim is to get something in place by 2017. We haven’t got a fixed date for procuring the solution. Depending on what is being suggested, this could take different lengths of time.”

steve read gloucestershire waste

SWP managing director Steve Read, left, said: “This decision involves only the residual waste disposal side of our contract with Viridor and nothing else. Residents will see no changes.

“The original proposal from Viridor did not reflect what the board believes the wider market could offer, and so it decided to suspend its exclusive deal with the firm.”

Viridor’s partnering agreement, which includes residual waste, garden waste composting and recycling sites, has been in place since May 2006 and runs to March 2022, while its extended agreement for the Walpole anaerobic digestion facility runs to 2031.

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