Preferred bidder for a £700 million waste and recycling programme in Wakefield has been announced as the VT Group (VT), a defence and support services company. Under a 25 year Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal VT will build, operate and maintain facilities for Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. The scheme has already secured £33 million from the Government. Contracts are expected to be completed in 2008, then construction will start in 2009 to be completed by 2011. With this programme the council is aiming to hit recycling levels of 55% by 2015. To achieve high levels of recycling and diversion from landfill the company will use an innovative combination of established technologies, including an autoclave plant and anaerobic digestion. Gas from these processes will generate combined heat and power for the waste plant. VT project executive Rob Dustan explained: The innovation in the scheme comes from the scale of the processing and integration of the elements. The autoclave is expected to process 60% of the 200,000 tonnes of household waste generated by the District every year. In-vessel composting will handle kitchen and green waste, while material handling technology will segregate dry recyclates. Programme plans are designed to complement the council's alternate weekly collection service and will allow the collection strategy to be refined when the new treatment facilities open. Wakefield council member for environment Graham Isherwood said: "This decision to appoint VT Group as preferred bidder concludes what has been a significant procurement exercise. I look forward to a true partnership arrangement with the council's collection service." VT said it continues to look for waste management opportunities with other local authorities as landfill options reduce.