Council waste contract woes on the up

Cancellations and legal delays are affecting a growing number of council residual waste contracts.

Two multibillion pound council contracts secured by Sita UK and Viridor have been delayed by the courts granting separate judicial reviews. FCC Environment has also lost a high-profile north London waste contract in its procurement pipeline.


  • Sita UK: A Leeds High Court injunction on 26 September suspended the Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority’s municipal waste contract. Mr Justice Coulson granted the interim injunction following a challenge by waste firm Covanta UK, the UK arm of the US energy-from-waste (EfW) giant.

    Covanta launched its challenge over the summer after failing to win the contract in April ( A full judicial review hearing next spring was scheduled to look at the legality of Merseyside’s decision to name Sita as the preferred bidder for the 30-year, £1.18bn contract.

    However, Covanta and the waste authority managed to settle the dispute out of court on 18 October, although the details of the agreement have not been disclosed.

    A spokesman said in a joint statement: “Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority and Covanta  are pleased to report that they have managed to reach an amicable settlement of their dispute. As a result, Covanta has agreed not to pursue its claim against MWDA.

    “As the terms of the settlement are confidential, the parties will not be commenting further on the details of that resolution.”

    Covanta’s bid involved burning residual waste at a planned 850,000-tonne-per-year incinerator at Ince Park on the Manchester Ship Canal close to Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. Covanta claimed this scheme was £200m cheaper than Sita’s winning bid.

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