The injunction means that the contract between MWDA and SITA will be delayed until there has been a trial, which is due to take place in April and May 2014.
Covanta claims that the procurement process was legally flawed and if the outcome at trial rules in its favour then the decision by MWDA to award SITA the waste contract would have to be reconsidered.
Mr Justice Coulson said that MWDA had properly accepted for the purposes of the injunction application that Covanta’s claim raised serious issues to be tried.
The judge noted that the procurement had already taken six or seven years during which time the target date for entering into the contract had slipped considerably and that any impact on the environment of a short delay in achieving further diversion from landfill was modest in the context of this procurement.
The contract, which was awarded to SITA earlier this year is a 30-year deal that will result in disposal of 90 percent of Merseyside and Halton’s waste away from landfill, through the construction of a new facility at the Wilton International site in Teesside and will create 50 permanent jobs when the plant is operational.
SITA UK was named preferred bidder over Covanta Energy, which proposed to develop the country’s biggest eco-waste plant at Ince Park, near Ellesmere Port (pictured), in a joint initiative with Peel Environmental.
Covanta challenged the decision, to which MRWA said it would, “vigorously defend the claim brought against it.
The Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, slammed the decision to award a £1bn contract to SITA, saying that it will “take a major opportunity away from Merseyside.”
MRWA, however, maintained that SITA beat Covanta to reach preferred bidder status as part of a “competitive tendering exercise, which was scrutinised by the nine elected members (from constituent district councils including three councillors from Liverpool city council) that make up the Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority governance structure.”