New waste contract to end reliance on landfill

A contract for a new waste treatment facility, signed this week (July 27) by Hertfordshire County Council and Veolia Environmental Services, will divert thousands of tonnes of waste away from landfill and save Hertfordshire's taxpayers millions of pounds by avoiding landfill tax.

The signing of the contract with Veolia to build and operate a new waste treatment facility in New Barnfield off Travellers Lane, Hatfield marks the end of an extensive procurement process to provide an alternative to landfill.

Derrick Ashley, Executive Member for Waste Management, explained: "Your local county council is committed to help reduce, reuse and recycle more waste but we must do something to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill - due to costs and the environmental impact.

"Veolia Environmental Services (UK) Plc is an experienced company in this field and was up against tough competition. They offered the best all round solution for Hertfordshire. The contract with Veolia has been negotiated with a minimum tonnage of 180,000 tonnes so as not to interfere with expected increases in the level of recycling and composting. In fact, based on our original waste projections, this minimum tonnage that has been negotiated will allow us to recycle up to around 75 per cent by the end of the contract without any financial penalty to the council."

The proposed facility will use mechanical pre-treatment to further recover 28,000 tonnes of recyclable material from the waste delivered to the site. In addition, the facility will generate electricity from the non-recyclable residual waste, supplying up to 26.6 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the National Grid. This is equivalent to the amount of electricity needed to power 50,000 homes (based on average local consumption). The technology to be used is safe, robust and flexible - ensuring the maximum diversion of waste from landfill.

Derrick continued: "This is one of the biggest contracts Hertfordshire County Council has entered into. The final contract has worked out to be better value than we originally estimated and will potentially save Hertfordshire's taxpayers at least £779 million on the cost of waste disposal over the 25-year contract period. This is an annual saving of £31 million."

Denis Gasquet, Chief Executive Officer of Veolia Environmental Services and Senior Executive Vice President of Veolia Environnement, said: "This facility is purpose-designed to treat Hertfordshire's residual waste via a sustainable approach that boosts recycling and creates low carbon renewable energy while maximising landfill diversion and we look forward to working in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council in the coming years."

Veolia Environmental Services (UK) Plc is now working on Environmental Impact Assessments and preparing a planning application which will be submitted in the middle of November. More information about this is available on www.veolia.co.uk/hertfordshire

Defra has committed £115.3 million in Waste Infrastructure Credits (formally known as PFIs) to help fund this facility.