A MAJOR new £35million facility to treat recycled waste for Coventry and the wider region could be built in the city – to avoid rising private sector costs.
Coventry City Council’s cabinet will consider plans for a Material Recycling Facility (MRF) to serve Coventry, neighbouring authorities and regional businesses.
It would be developed in partnership with five local authorities as Coventry doesn’t produce enough waste to make the facility viable on its own, the council says.
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, North Warwickshire Borough Council, Rugby Borough Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and Walsall Council would all have to approve the plans too.
Development costs of £2.8million would be shared between councils for a 120,000 tonne-a-year plant. Coventry councillors are also being asked to approve issuing a loan to the facility of £31.6million.
Coventry council would contribute £9.7million, resulting in a 27 per cent ownership of the facility (based on tonnage proportions).
It would be built on former allotment land of around eight acres behind the Energy from Waste facility operated by the Coventry and Solihull Waste Disposal Company off London Road, Coventry city centre.
A council officers’ report outlining the business case will go to the council’s cabinet next Tuesday (August 27) and a full council meeting September 3.
Councillor Patricia Hetherton, cabinet member for city services, said: “The market for recyclable materials is very unpredictable. As a result, the private sector is charging higher and higher prices for the treatment and disposal of the recycling that we collect from blue lidded bins. By opening this facility and taking greater control over the process, we can cut significant costs.
“We also anticipate that this facility will give us the opportunity to make the recycling process more efficient and environmentally friendly. The environment is top of the agenda at the moment – and this will have a very positive impact.
“The design of the facility will give us the flexibility to deal with changing demands. And in turn this will give us a chance to make sure the service is as efficient as it can be. So it really is a win, win. We also hope that this will eventually enable us to raise our recycling rates.”
Councillor John Mutton, cabinet member for strategic finance and resources, said: “We’re always looking for ways to deliver the same services in the most cost-effective way possible.
“This report shows that by opening this facility, the council could potentially halve the amount we spend annually on the treatment of recyclable materials. So, from a purely financial point of view, investing in a Material Recycling Facility makes sense.”
The report estimates the facility would save Coventry City Council around £847,000 per year – half the current £1.6 million per year to the private sector for the treatment of recyclate.
The facility would also allow the partner local authorities greater control over the region’s recyclable materials, the council adds.
If the business case is approved by all partner local authorities, the partners would jointly establish an arms-length company to enter into contracts and a competitive procurement process.
The loan would provide a net income of £156,000 a year to the council, in addition to £100,000 from leasing the land to the new operating company, the report states.