16th Nov, 2019

Solihull council set to consider jointly building £35m new recycling superplant in Coventry

Les Reid 23rd Aug, 2019 Updated: 23rd Aug, 2019

SOLIHULL Council is set to consider proposals to jointly build a £35million superplant in Coventry to process West Midlands households’ recycled waste.

Millions of pounds could come from council taxpayers, in return for a stake in the new Regional Materials Recycling Facility.

The borough’s councillors will consider the matters on September 5, we have learned.

As the Coventry Observer reported on Monday, Coventry City Council’s cabinet will examine a business plan next Tuesday (August 27) ahead of a full council decision the following week.

The aim is for West Midlands councils to save money on the rising costs of sending recycled waste for processing at private sector facilities.

Coventry council estimates it could half its bill to around £800,000 a year, while making money on council loans to the arms-length operator and leasing the land.

It announced on Monday other councils involved – to raise the potential to a 120,000 tonne-a-year plant – were Solihull Council, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, North Warwickshire Borough Council, Rugby Borough Council and Walsall Council

A Solihull Council spokesperson told us: “A report on the proposal to develop a Regional Materials Recycling Facility in Coventry will be going to Solihull’s Cabinet meeting on September 5.

“This is the first time cabinet will have been presented with the proposal in detail and members will form a view on this proposal.

“The expected level of contribution from Solihull to a final scheme and how the private sector will be involved will be discussed, but as yet no firm figures or policies for how the proposed facility will run have been decided.

“If all partners agree on a scheme the new facility is expected be operational some time in 2023/2024.”

Coventry says a business plan includes development costs of £2.8million shared between councils, in addition to council loans 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.

Coventry 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.”

The facility would also allow the partner local authorities greater control over the region’s recyclable materials, Coventry council’s report 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.

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