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£300m waste projects could boost CHP

Multi-million pound Combined Heat and Power (CHP) projects could be undertaken across the country after the Government gave funding approval for four waste management projects worth a combined total of £310 million.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has awarded Private Finance Initiative (PFI) credits to local authorities considering CHP as part of their waste strategy.

The Government wants the schemes to divert millions of tonnes of waste from landfill while tackling climate change through the innovative use of technology.

Although no decision has been taken by each scheme on what approach to take they are all actively seeking options for CHP through Energy from Waste or Mechanical Biological Treatment schemes.

PFI credits indicate the amount of private sector finance which the Government will allow for each project.

Joan Ruddock, Environment minister, said: “PFI agreements like these provide an incentive for local authorities and industry to work together to achieve our goals of reducing the environmental impact of waste, and making better use and reuse of the waste we create.

'Importantly, each one of them is pursuing a solution which will achieve major carbon benefits.'

The projects approved are Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham Partnership - £77.4 million, Bradford Metropolitan District Council -  £62.1 million, Suffolk County Council - £102 million and Leeds City Council - £68.6 million.

The local authorities all welcomed the funding news, but emphasised decisions still needed to be taken on which option to go for.

Cllr Steve Smith, executive board member for environmental services at Leeds City Council, said:  “We are looking at different waste treatment technologies and at this stage we are keeping an open mind.

“Given the advances in waste treatment technologies we feel that a decision on the actual solution should not be taken until after the evaluation of all potential solutions brought forward during the procurement process.

“We will then choose the best available technology for Leeds and for the environment as a whole.”

The procurement process in Leeds is likely to get underway in July with contracts selected by 2010. Construction and commissioning will take place between 2011 and 2014.

It is expected that each authority will issue a notice to prospective bidders in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) soon.