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Covanta signals UK retreat

Covanta Energy has warned it could pull out of its operations in the UK as managing director leaves.

The world’s largest operator of energy-from-waste facilities (EfW) blames the move on the recent failure to win preferred bidder status in the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority’s 30-year municipal contract.

Covanta has reviewed its UK operations and says it hopes to find a buyer or partner but warns that the majority of its 30 staff at its Halesowen, West Midlands, office face redundancy and it has begun consultation.

Founding managing director, Malcolm Chilton, has been replaced by the director of legal and corporate affairs Fiona Penhallurick.

Covanta’s current UK assets include three sites which have planning consents for EfW facilities or permits:

The company also has a leasehold interest in a site in Middlewich, where an EfW site was was turned down in July 2012. Other assets include municipal waste procurements in various stages and an existing waste contract.

A Covanta statement says it has made considerable investments in the sites in order to secure consents and “hopes these will now move to the construction phase, with the support of buyers or partners”.

The statement adds: “Once the facilities are built Covanta would be interested in running them”.

Covanta will continue to operate from its Halesowen offices while a buyer or partner is being sought.

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