Essex councils to continue sending waste to landfill for next six months

Essex County Council announced yesterday that it is launching a ‘mini-competition inviting bids from suppliers on the existing waste disposal framework contract’.

Following the recent financial collapse of Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) Essex Waste, which operated waste treatment facilities at Tovi Eco Park, Essex County Council is to continue sending household waste to landfill.

Black bin bags on a street
This follows a dispute between UBB and ECC, in which several issues were taken to court, including the composition of waste, the operation and performance of the Tovi Eco Park facility and compensation for supposed delays.

In June the High Court ruled that, due to design issues, UBB was responsible for not meeting performance and processing requirements in the contract with ECC and required to pay more than £10 million in damages and ongoing costs.

According to local media reports, all municipal waste is currently being sent to landfill under short-term contracts that are due to expire in March 2021. As a result, ECC will be incurring landfill tax on all its residual waste, currently set at £94.15 a tonne, as well as disposal charges.

In a comment to Resource, in relation to its invitation for bids from suppliers on the existing waste disposal framework, a spokesperson for ECC said: “Suppliers may offer landfill and/or energy from waste solutions for the Authority’s residual waste.

“The decision on how waste will be treated will be based on the lowest cost to the taxpayer. Once new service orders are issued early next year, arrangements will be in place until the end of September 2022.”

UBB entered into a contract with ECC in 2013, when the company was granted planning permission to build and operate a waste facility in Basildon with a waste capacity of 417,000 a year.

ECC stopped delivering waste to the Basildon facility in June 2020.