Scottish Borders council and New Earth Solutions will not proceed with a 24-year contract for an integrated waste management facility at Easter Langlee near Galashiels, it was announced late last week (19 February).
The council was been working in partnership with New Earth since April 2011 to deliver the innovative project (pictured below), which aimed to divert a significant proportion of waste from landfill as well as create renewable energy from waste.
The council said that good 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 had already achieved the 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, the council revealed.
“While we have worked hard with New Earth to try to overcome these challenges, both have been unable to address all the implementation issues faced by the project,” the council said in a statement. “As a result, Councillors today (Thursday 19 February) unanimously approved a report recommending the termination of the contract.
“We will now undertake a review of our Integrated Waste Management Strategy, which aims to ensure waste services are fit for purpose and financially sustainable in the long term.”
This review will consider the solutions to be put in place 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.
The solutions to meeting future targets will be known when the Integrated Waste Management Strategy review is completed.
Councillor David Parker – “Both the Council and New Earth have put in considerable effort to overcome issues related to the integrated waste management facility project, but ultimately time ran out to find a resolution”
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. New Earth remains committed to providing sustainable waste treatment services to local authorities and the commercial sector at our six operational facilities.”
Councillor David Parker, Leader of SBC, added: “Both the Council and New Earth have put in considerable effort to overcome issues related to the integrated waste management facility project, but 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.
“The Council’s review of its Integrated Waste Management Strategy will ensure this is the case.
“I can assure Borders’ households that the current waste services provided by the Council will be unaffected. We also look forward to the introduction of the food waste collection service this year, which will increase recycling and reduce waste going to landfill.”