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Residual waste treatment - how we did it

The steps we took to procure the residual waste treatment contract

A strategy for reducing waste growth

In 2007 an Oxfordshire Joint Municipal Waste Strategy was agreed which set the following targets:

  • reduce waste growth to 0% per person by 2012
  • increase recycling and composting rates to at least 55% by 2019/20

The strategy also recognised that new waste treatment facilities would be needed to meet our targets to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and avoid financial penalties.

The strategy did not specify the technology to be used, but stated that whatever was chosen must be safe for the environment and human health, recover value from the waste, and not be a substitute for re-use, recycling and composting.

Reported on technologies

In 2006 we prepared a report which considered the need for alternative ways of treating waste, how we would achieve this and how much they would cost. It looked at various technologies and compared these with doing nothing.

The report found that all the technology options had different advantages and disadvantages, but that they were all capable of helping us to meet our targets. The report confirmed that costs of treatment could be significantly less than doing nothing.

On 19 September 2006, the Cabinet agreed that we should begin to look formally for a suitable technology by advertising the contract. This decision was endorsed by the Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee on 20 September 2006.

Advertised the contract for residual waste treatment

The contract was advertised at the end of March 2007. An industry day was held on 23 April 2007 at the Said Business School in Oxford to help generate market interest in the contract. This was attended by a range of waste management and technology companies.

Pre-qualified bidders

Following advertisement of the contract at the end of March, the 14 companies that expressed an interest submitted pre-qualification questionnaires. These were assessed and we decided to invite eight companies to submit proposals for alternatives to landfill. These companies were:

  • Cory Environmental
  • Covanta Energy
  • Global Renewables
  • Hills Industries
  • SITA
  • Veolia
  • Viridor
  • Waste Recycling Group

These companies offered a range of technologies that could treat biodegradable waste and produce a usable product such as electricity or compost. We took a neutral view between these technologies, provided they could do the job safely, cleanly and at reasonable cost.

Invited outline solutions

In August 2007 we invited pre-qualified bidders to submit outline solutions for how they would treat Oxfordshire's residual household waste. The bidders submitted their outline proposals in October 2007, and these were subjected to a careful evaluation process.

All the bidders proposed Energy from Waste (EfW) involving incineration with energy recovery as the best solution to treat Oxfordshire's residual waste.

The Cabinet agreed to invite two bidders to submit detailed solutions on 15 January 2008. The names of the companies that were selected to participate in the next stage of the procurement process were:

  • Viridor Waste Management Ltd, with a solution based at Ardley landfill site
  • Waste Recycling Group Ltd, with a solution based at Sutton Courtenay landfill site

Invitation to submit detailed solutions (ISDS)

The two selected participants were invited to submit detailed solutions. A dialogue between the council and participants took place to develop their solutions. Detailed solutions were submitted in July 2008. Following careful evaluation of the detailed solution both participants were invited into a further stage of dialogue.

Call for final tenders (CFT)

After several months of negotiations with the two companies, the dialogue was closed on 8 April 2009 and both companies were invited to submit final tenders. These were submitted on 1 May 2009.

Selection of preferred bidder

The final tenders were subject to a thorough and detailed evaluation using a range of technical including environmental, financial and contractual criteria. The outcome was considered by the Cabinet on 7 September 2009 and Viridor Waste Management Ltd was selected as preferred bidder.

The decision of Cabinet was scrutinised at the Growth and Infrastructure Scrutiny Committee meeting on 16 September. Scrutiny decided that the decision had been properly made and not to take any further action.

Award of contract

After the selection of Viridor as preferred bidder, a process of clarifying and confirming details of the contract was undertaken. The Cabinet decided on 27 July 2010 (pdf format, 129Kb) to award the contract to Viridor.

The decision of Cabinet was scrutinised at the Growth and Infrastructure Scrutiny Committee meeting on 9 August 2010. The committee decided that the decision had been made with relevant information properly considered and not to take any further action.

The contract was signed on 10 March 2011.

Planning permission and environmental permit

Planning permission for the facility was granted by the Secretary of State on 17 February 2011, following the refusal of permission in 2009 and an appeal to the planning inspectorate. The appeal was held at a public inquiry in July 2010.

Viridor also submitted a revised application which was approved by the Planning and Regulation Committee on 15 October 2010.

A legal challenge against the Secretary of State's decision to grant planning permission was submitted on 30 March 2011 by a local residents' group, Ardley Against Incinerator. The challenge was dismissed by the high court on 8 July 2011. An application to appeal was refused on paper in September, and again in the Court of Appeal on 10 November. This marked the end of the challenge process.

The facility will be regulated by the Environment Agency who granted an environmental permit on 29 September 2010.

Start of construction

On 15 November the council and Viridor finalised arrangements that enabled Viridor to begin work on building the Ardley energy recovery facility. A 'notice to proceed' was issued and Viridor undertook the foreign exchange trade to fix the exchange rate for the payments that will be made to their European sub-contractor over the build period.

The construction of the facility began in December 2011

Construction completion

The ERF has been built by CNIM/Clugston. CNIM is an established technology provider with a proven track record in incineration, and Clugston provided civil engineering. They maintained an excellent health and safety record during construction. A total of over 2.3 million man hours were worked with two only reportable accidents and a small number of first aid injuries.

Construction progressed well and the ERF was commissioned in 2014. The operation of the ERF was fully tested and the results verified by an Independent Tester.  The ERF was handed over to Viridor from CNIM/Clugston on 3 November 2014 and the Independent Tester issued the acceptance certificate under the residual waste treatment contract on 3 December 2014.

Service commencement under the contract started formally on 1 February 2015. The ERF was officially opened by HRH the Duke of Gloucester, KG GCVO, on 11 June 2015.