WRG cleans up with £600m recycling deal
The Waste Recycling Group (WRG) in Northampton has signed a £600 million contract to deliver a new recycling and disposal strategy to three local government councils over the next 25 years.Labelled the Re3 Waste Partnership, the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) will attempt to set the standard for household waste management in the UK by reducing reliance on landfill, boosting recycling rates and exceeding central government targets.
Re3, a collaboration between Reading Borough Council, Bracknell Forest Borough Council and Wokingham District Council, selected WRG after a long and detailed procurement and technical process.
Two short listed contractors were invited to submit their proposals as part of the project which would enable the councils to minimise the amount of waste produced, significantly increase levels of recycling and composting and to divert waste from landfill.
The contract will include greater capacity for recycling and composting of green waste and energy from waste. The contract would also see the creation of a Joint Waste Disposal Board between the three local authorities, with membership of two councillors per authority.
WRG will set to work on construction of new waste management facilities at the Smallmead site in Island Road, Reading, and at a site in Longshot Lane in Bracknell.
The Smallmead site will come complete with a new state-of-the-art materials recycling facility at its heart and a redeveloped indoor Civic Amenity Site. Longshot Lane in Bracknell will also be redeveloped to include an improved Civic Amenity Site and waste transfer facility.
WRG propose to support the waste minimisation objectives of the partnership through education and awareness initiatives delivered through dedicated staff and provision of a visitor and education centre at both waste management parks.
Ben Bradshaw, Defra’s local environment minister and parliamentary under secretary, said: “The waste sector is fast becoming a major sector for PFI and it is good to see an increase in the interest being shown by the banking and business community. The success of this sector will be key in delivering the country’s EU landfill directive targets in the coming years.
“This is a sector which has been perceived as difficult in the past, but Defra has been working hard with the market to understand private sector concerns and putting initiatives in place to address those concerns wherever possible. That work is beginning to bear fruit and I look forward to seeing many more of these projects close in the coming months.”
Commenting on the contract, Cllr Rob Stanton, executive member for Corporate Services at Wokingham and chairman of the Joint Re3 Waste Disposal Board, said: “It secures the Wokingham district a long term cost effective waste processing facility designed to achieve and exceed future Government waste targets.”
Steve Waite, lead councillor at Reading for Environment, said: “The traditional wasteful practice of hiding the bulk of our rubbish in the ground will thankfully come to an end. It was important for all three authorities to set in place a sustainable and responsible strategy for the foreseeable future.”
It is anticipated that the new site will allow all three local authorities to achieve high levels of recycling and composting performance over a 25-year period while achieving lower landfill diversion targets set by central Government.
Waste Recycling Group is one of the UK’s leading waste management and energy recovery companies and handles some 13 million tonnes of household, commercial and industrial waste each year. The company operates facilities for the reception, recycling and disposal of waste, including a network of waste transfer and recycling centres and a regional network of operating landfill sites and manages nearly 70 civic amenity sites on behalf of local authorities for use by the general public.