[Cornwall Waste Forum] Independent Report Identifies £320m Savings

An independent report has identified up to £320 million in potential savings that could be made by Cornwall Council – if it were prepared to look at alternatives to its current waste management contract.

The Review was produced by ‘national’ waste experts Eunomia, who are advisors to Governments and the European Commission. It demonstrates quite clearly the shockingly unnecessary cost which the Council’s refusal to consider alternative options inflicts upon tax payers, at a time when cut backs are being made to many vital services.

A waste incinerator

Speaking on behalf of Cornwall Waste Forum, St Dennis Branch, Chairman Ken Rickard said “We began our campaign because of our concerns about the impact on the environment and health of Cornwall, and our immediate community, if an incinerator was built in St Dennis. Over  time  we have found out more about the complex subject of waste management and become convinced  that Cornwall Council boxed themselves into a corner when negotiating the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with SITA UK.



This has not offered value for money, or taken into consideration the huge changes taking place in waste disposal approaches elsewhere in the country. Councillors have understandably asked for evidence, which we have now provided and it is their responsibility to look into this contract and question waste treatment and disposal policy. ”

Atlantic Energy’s Charmian Larke, technical advisor, who has co-ordinated the report continues “This is no longer just about incineration, although our objections stand; it is about the validity of Cornwall Council’s waste management policy and the urgent need for Councillors and Cornwall Council’s Chief Executive to finally get a grip on the runaway costs of the disposal contract.

By refusing to consider Cornwall Waste Forum’s alternative suggestions which include separate food waste collection with anaerobic digestion and automated residual waste sorting, the Council has refused to consider options which could save £ hundreds of millions. This is clearly unacceptable. We now have clear independent evidence which must make every Councillor sit up and interrogate waste management in Cornwall more fully.

These findings are in fact good news. The case for reviewing waste management is persuasive and the savings a real opportunity for Cornwall Council to take pressure off other budgets. An example of savings is that Cornwall Council is paying over £50/tonne to dispose of valuable dry recycling which has a resale value of up to £250 per tonne for some common materials – so SITA are getting paid twice! ”

Co-author of the report and Eunomia Director Joe Papineschi, who recently advised Cornwall Council on their new waste collection contract, explains the background of the report “The purpose of our report is not to find fault with historic decisions, but to look at what decisions, if any, could be taken in the future to give Cornwall better financial and environmental outcomes for waste.  

Due to its origins in the late 1990’s, the existing contract, eventually let in 2006, no longer reflects the policy, legislative and technology context of waste management. Based on credible estimates of the basis upon which the council is charged for waste disposal, the contract appears to offer extremely poor value for money.”

20 November, 2012
Cornwall Waste Forum –  St Dennis Branch
For more information contact:- Ken Rickard Chair, CWF Ph: 01726 822636; Charmian Larke Technical advisor, CWF 01872 864488