Borders new waste site’s latest hitch

editorial image

A week after it was reported that Scottish Borders Council was being sued by a contractor involved with their intergrated waste management site the project has hit more trouble.

The council announced today that they are no longer going ahead with a 24 year contract for the Easter Langlee waste management site to be run by New Earth Solutions.

The council and New Earth have been working in partnership since April 2011 to deliver the project which will divert a significant proportion of waste from landfill andcreate renewable energy from waste.

Progress had been made in the last four years, with the preparation of the development platform at Easter Langlee, the successful securing of planning permission and reaching the latter stages of the operational permit application process with SEPA for a renewable energy plant. The project already has the necessary permit for mechanical treatment of waste and the production of refuse-derived fuel.

However, since the contract was signed in April 2011 there have been significant changes with regard to Scottish waste policy and regulation, and project-specific issues in terms of technology and funding.

And today (Thursday, February 19) the council unanimously approved a report recommending the termination of the contract.

The council will now undertake a review of its integrated waste management strategy to find a solution to meet future landfill diversion, biodegradability and recycling targets of the Scottish Government and the European Union.

The current waste services for households in the Borders will remain in place and the programme to introduce food waste collections to around 24,000 homes - in Galashiels including Tweedbank, Peebles, Selkirk, Jedburgh and Hawick - will still take place during 2015.

There may be changes in the longer term to waste services in the Borders in order to meet the ban on biodegradable waste to landfill by 2021.

Darren Stockley, managing director of New Earth said: “New Earth was delighted to have been awarded the contract by Scottish Borders Council in 2011 and we have invested considerable resources in developing the project.

“We have worked closely with the council’s project team on delivering an innovative solution, but some of the challenges were taking too long to resolve.

“New Earth wishes the council every success with its future plans to reduce waste, increase recycling and divert waste from landfill.”

Councillor David Parker, leader of SBC, added: “Ultimately time ran out to find a resolution.

“The council thanks New Earth for the close working relationship both organisations have had since April 2011.

“Despite this setback, SBC is as committed as ever to providing Borders’ residents with a waste service which meets Scottish and EU targets, and is also sustainable for many years to come.

“I can assure Borders’ households that the current waste services provided by the council will be unaffected.”