Dumfries & Galloway Council faces the closure of 11 household waste recycling centres within weeks following a protracted row with contractor Renewi.
The council has slammed Renewi as “irresponsible”, while the company has accused it of refusing to negotiate.
In 2004, Dumfries & Galloway signed a 25-year PFI waste deal with Shanks, which became Renewi last year following a merger with Van Gansewinkel Groep.
The council’s contract is with Shanks Dumfries & Galloway (SDG), for which Renewi UK Services acts as waste contractor.
Renewi said in March that it wanted to exit the PFI contract, which it described as “unable to address the needs of Waste (Scotland) Regulations that set demanding new requirements regarding landfill diversion and recycling from 2021”.
The council said it was “developing detailed contingency plans should Renewi UK Services carry out its irresponsible threat to suspend services and should [SDG] be unable to respond to that threat”.
The statement said Renewi was contracted by SDG, not the council itself, which could not “discuss or bring about the termination of a service agreement to which it is not a party”.
It added: “The council is doing everything possible [with SDG] to address the situation, and can assure the public that the council remains responsible for weekly kerbside collections and is planning for these to continue as normal.”
Renewi denied the council’s claim that it had “chosen to unilaterally accelerate the timetable” for ending the work. It said it had “repeatedly sought to engage with Dumfries & Galloway and [SDG] on the termination of the contract and the transfer of services to a new provider.
“Dumfries & Galloway has refused to discuss the termination and associated transfer of services and, four months since formal notification, [SDG] has yet to confirm an outcome of the re-tender process.”
This had left Renewi with “no choice but to suspend services in Dumfries & Galloway from 3 August if sufficient and meaningful progress is not made by this date”.
The council said it was “extremely surprised” by the claim that it had not engaged with the company.