Potential options include ending their joint long-term waste management contract with Resource Recovery Solutions (Derbyshire) Ltd (RRS) which is responsible for the delayed project to build a waste treatment centre to divert 190,000 tonnes of waste per year away from landfill.
Both councils held Cabinet meetings today (Thursday 28 February 2019) to make sure they have all options available to them so that they can take action if needed.
Following the meeting, both councils have reaffirmed their commitment to completing the facility which was due to open in 2017.
While they are encouraged by the recent actions and progress made by RRS, both councils want to see want to see an urgent completion of the facility.
Neither council has paid their contribution of £25m each towards the project due to a clause in the contract which states they do not have to pay a penny until the facility has passed certified performance tests. This clause was negotiated to protect the financial interests of council tax-payers.
Leader of Derby City Council Councillor Chris Poulter said:
“The fact the plant has still not passed certified performance tests is clearly of concern to us because we need a facility to give us certainty about the future cost of dealing with Derby and Derbyshire’s waste.
“We have a duty to protect the interests of council tax-payers and we’re in weekly talks with our contractors and the banks which loaned them the money for the project. We’re pushing them hard to resolve outstanding issues at the plant and pass certified performance tests as soon as possible.”
Both councils are confident that this project still offers the best value for money compared to sending waste elsewhere.
Once it is complete, the facility will heat-treat waste to produce a gas which is then burned to create enough electricity to power 14,000 homes.
Deputy Leader of Derbyshire County Council Councillor Simon Spencer added:
“We’re awaiting a decision from an independent technical specialist to confirm whether the waste treatment centre is performing to specified contractual standards.
“But we’re also looking at a range of alternative options to get this waste treatment centre over the finish line – including, as a last resort, ending our current long-term contract with RRS.”
All decisions about the waste treatment centre must be taken jointly by both councils as set out in the contract.
RRS – a partnership between national construction firm Interserve and waste management company Renewi – also manages nine of the councils’ household waste recycling centres and two waste transfer stations as well as dealing with waste that households in Derby and Derbyshire do not recycle.