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Manchester concern at price of PFI contract

Viridor manchester

The Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) has raised concerns about the price of its £3.8bn deal with Viridor Laing amid frustration over the progress of repair works.

GMWDA’s 25-year private finance initiative deal with Viridor Laing has been under pressure in recent months, with construction contractor Costain currently making repairs to some facilities that service it.

A report to a meeting of the GMWDA on 10 February reveals it has raised concerns with Viridor Laing over the progress being made on these works, including “significant rusting issues” in the mechanical and biological treatment plant tanks and the in-vessel composting facilities.

It adds: “It is also now becoming clear that with reduced volumes of waste (compared with the expected levels of waste arising when facilities were proposed in 2006-07) that the GM contract is expensive compared with current market rates.

“Options to reduce costs going forward have thus been developed in the past year. These savings options are progressing, but are not yet finalised and hence are commercially sensitive.”

The GMWDA meeting also considered a 12-month delay to the merger with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

England’s largest waste authority was due to transfer its powers and functions to GMCA in April but this has now been put back until April 2018.

The reason given is “issues remaining to be resolved with the Government about the powers needed to allow its orderly and appropriate transfer of functions”.

Orders regarding transfer of powers have to be passed at Westminster.

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