Waste con­tract deal cost £6.8m

The Galloway News - - RENEWI SETTLEMENT -

STEPHEN NOR­RIS Dum­fries and Gal­loway Coun­cil paid out £6.8 mil­lion to end a con­tro­ver­sial Pri­vate Fi­nance Ini­tia­tive (PFI) waste con­tract, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port.

The fig­ure is re­vealed in a best value as­sur­ance study of the coun­cil’s per­for­mance for the Ac­counts Com­mis­sion.

The coun­cil ter­mi­nated its 25–year waste col­lec­tion, dis­posal and re­cy­cling deal with Renewi in Septem­ber, 11 years early.

The waste firm – for­merly known as the Shanks Group – had wanted out be­cause it claimed tough new re­cy­cling tar­gets were cost­ing it money.

To save the ser­vice and around 70 jobs the coun­cil agreed to pull the en­tire op­er­a­tion in–house.

The mat­ter was de­bated be­hind closed doors on the grounds of com­mer­cial con­fi­den­tial­ity.

That prompted ques­tions about the rea­sons for the payout and what the coun­cil got in re­turn.

And now that the cost of bring­ing the waste ser­vice into pub­lic own­er­ship is known, fur­ther de­tails have emerged.

A se­nior source told the Stan­dard: “Be­cause there were 11 years out­stand­ing on the con­tract the coun­cil ef­fec­tively had to buy that out.

“As­sets such as the Eco–Deco plant and 11 re­cy­cling cen­tres around the re­gion would be part of the as­sets trans­ferred to the coun­cil.

“Also we now ef­fec­tively em­ploy all the staff who for­merly worked for Renewi.

“Shanks were the rea­son why re­cy­cling could not be rolled out across the re­gion.

“Doorstep re­cy­cling was not writ­ten into the con­tract in 2004 and that was the stum­bling block.”

The source said it was too early to as­sess whether tak­ing over the waste and re­cy­cling ser­vice would cost or save the coun­cil money.

“What is com­pli­cat­ing mat­ters is that the coun­cil has to iden­tify an­other £30 mil­lion of ef­fi­ciency sav­ings,” the source said.

“That will in­clude how the waste ser­vice is run. At least now we can look at how the waste ser­vice is op­er­ated and how it can be done more ef­fi­ciently.”

The coun­cil signed the PFI deal with Shanks in 2004.

It re­quired all house­hold waste to be col­lected in a sin­gle bin for re­cy­cling, com­post­ing and land­fill cen­trally.

But the con­tract hit prob­lems af­ter 2012 when new Scot­tish Govern­ment reg­u­la­tions re­quired waste to be sep­a­rated for re­cy­cling at house­hold level.

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