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Viridor says £700m deal a ‘small step’ towards resource network

Viridor has signed a £700m 25-year contract to handle residual waste from five Scottish councils, which the company described as a “small step” towards realising its plan for region-wide resource networks.

As part of the Clyde Valley deal, the firm will collect 190,000 tonnes of residual waste processed each year starting in December 2019.

North Lanarkshire Council signed the contract, as the lead authority on behalf of East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire and Renfrewshire councils, which will begin before the Scotland’s ban on biodegradable waste to landfill in 2021.

Waste will be transported to Viridor’s new £22m treatment facility at Bargeddie, North Lanarkshire, where recyclable material will be extracted and the refuse-derived fuel taken to the company’s £177m energy recovery facility at Dunbar, East Lothian.

More than 90% of the partner councils’ waste is expected to be diverted from landfill.

Viridor head of media and public affairs Martin Grey said the deal was a “small step on the way” to achieving the resource networks proposal the company has been lobbying for.

In December, Viridor launched a report that claimed the existing local authority network of waste management in Scotland was ”no longer fit for purpose”.

But Grey said the Clyde Valley deal was much smaller in scale than the firm’s waste partnership with local authorities in Manchester – Europe’s largest public/private alliance and the basis for its resource network idea.

Jim Logue, North Lanarkshire Council leader, said: “This is an important contract in terms of the scale of waste processing and environmental benefits, but also as the first partnership between Scottish local authorities arising from Sir John Arbuthnott’s review of shared services.

“By working in partnership, we are delivering improved services for residents, best value for taxpayers, creating jobs and recycling more waste which would otherwise go to landfill.”

Arbuthnott’s review for Clyde Valley community planning partnership, which also included Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire, South Lanarkshire and Inverclyde councils, was published in 2009.

It recommended more shared services between the councils, including waste management, to combat reduced local authority funding, but this is the first project to be realised as a result.

Saeefar Rehman, Grant Thornton associate director of energy and environment, financial advisers to the partner councils, said: “As the first shared services contract for Scottish councils, this project demonstrates the huge benefits that can be generated through collaborative working.”

Derek Rooney, technical director of SLR Consulting, independent professional technical advisers to the partner councils, said it was “wonderful to see five Scottish local authorities working together” to deliver the project.

“It has taken three years of negotiation to arrive at a solution which helps to meet the ambitious environmental targets set by the Scottish Government through the diversion of 190,000 tonnes of residual waste away from landfill for additional recyclate recovery and energy production,” he said.

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