Donarbon wins £750 million contract for dealing with waste

PUBLISHED: 17:45 09 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 04 May 2010

WATERBEACH-based waste management company Donarbon formally signed a £730million, 28-year PFI contract with Cambridgeshire County Council on Tuesday. The county council expects to recover 70 per cent of the waste that now goes to landfill during that per

WATERBEACH-based waste management company Donarbon formally signed a £730million, 28-year PFI contract with Cambridgeshire County Council on Tuesday.

The county council expects to recover 70 per cent of the waste that now goes to landfill during that period.

In the short-term, rubbish will be bulk-hauled to landfill. But, once a major mechanical biological treatment plant is built by Donarbon at their Waterbeach headquarters in April 2010, "black bag waste" will be sorted to remove anything that can be recycled or composted.

The first element of the contract, a new £2million-plus waste transfer station for Huntingdonshire, has just opened at Alconbury Hill.

"Glass, cans and some plastics can be sorted and removed for recycling, along with clean cardboard and paper," Donarbon's waste promotions manager Mark Shelton said.

"Some material can be used as a refuse-derived fuel to produce power. Other paper and cardboard and some light plastics can be made into a kind of compost. Although it cannot be used in agriculture or horticulture, it can be used for restoring contaminated land or production of crops for fuel."

Increasing the proportion of recycled waste will substantially reduce the county council's and council tax payers' exposure to million of pounds of landfill tax after 2011.

But all the councils are stressing that householders will need to continue their recycling efforts for kerbside collections after the new facility is open, to avoid it being swamped.

The Donarbon scheme will also include a visitor centre where people, including local children, will be able to learn more about recycling and find out about the MBT plant, which uses environmentally friendly methods to treat waste. Additional facilities for the composting of kerbside-collected kitchen and garden waste will also be provided under the new contract.

Cambridgeshire has topped national league tables for recycling and composting since 2003-2004 and is on track to exceed its target of 50 per cent for 2007-2008. But it still has to spend £7million each year putting thousands of tonnes of rubbish into landfill that cannot currently be treated, a figure that is set to rise by another £1 million in 2008-2009 because of recent Government landfill tax increases.

County Councillor John Reynolds, who was instrumental in bringing the PFI contract to fruition as the previous lead member for planning and regional matters, said: "Helping to secure a greener future for our children and grandchildren has always been at the heart of this contract. We are very pleased to have laid the foundations for managing Cambridgeshire's waste over the next 28 years.

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