Waste treatment centre for Northamptonshire back on agenda

Plans for a new waste treatment centre in Northamptonshire are back on the agenda with county councillors due to vote next week on whether to move ahead with a business case.

Waste from Northamptonshire households is currently transported out of the county to be treated
Waste from Northamptonshire households is currently transported out of the county to be treated

Officers are recommending that councillors at Northamptonshire County Council move quickly to commission a business plan for a waste treatment centre and also seek financial assistance from the county’s seven district and borough councils to create a long-term strategy.

Currently all waste is collected by the boroughs and districts, and NCC then transports it to neighbouring counties to be disposed of.

In a report to go before next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting (July 10) the authority’s waste management manager Fiona Unett says that as reducing waste disposal capacity across the UK is leading to increasing costs, a new treatment centre in the county needs to be considered.

But it will be a costly business with £500,000 needed to employ a team of technical, financial and legal advisors to develop a strategy.

The report states: “We are recommending that a strategic business case for a waste treatment facility for Northamptonshire is developed by a cross-council reference group, initially led by the county council as the current waste disposal authority.

“It is proposed that a technology neutral approach is taken to the long-term solution, considering all waste treatment technologies equally in order to assess the best treatment solutions for Northamptonshire.

“The delivery of a waste treatment facility has a long lead time and therefore we recommend that this work commences at the earliest opportunity to limit exposure to market risk.”

The report says that the costs of the strategy will be kept to a minimum by using internal staff resource where possible.  

NCC also hopes the boroughs and districts will co-fund the consulltant costs.

A total of 17,000 tonnes of waste is disposed of by the county council each year at a cost of about £17m.

It has a contract with Suez to dispose of waste from Daventry and Northampton and the AmeyCespa contract treats and gets rid of waste from the rest of the county.

At the meeting councillors will also be asked to consider extending the current contract arrangements which are due to end in March 2020.

This is due to the planned transition to unitary authorities in May 2020.

Sarah Ward

Local Democracy Reporter