In a statement released by Emma Gorringe, the Media Officer for Central Bedfordshire Council, we read that:

On the 7 December, Luton Borough Council’s Executive Committee made the unexpected decision to withdraw from the Bedfordshire Energy and Recycling (BEaR) Project.

On the 8 December, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive approved the BEaR Project’s Outline Business Case (OBC) for PFI funding.

According to Central Bedfordshire Council, the BEaR Project’s current position and next steps are as follows:

  • Central Bedfordshire Council will submit the OBC on the deadline of 11 December, without Luton’s ratification
  • It is unlikely that CBC will receive PFI funding if Partnership working cannot be demonstrated, however the submission of the OBC will demonstrate to DEFRA the determination of CBC to deliver a long term sustainable waste solution
  • If LBC decide to approve the OBC in the next few weeks then both authorities will still be eligible for £79 million PFI funding, providing the OBC has been submitted by 11 December
  • Alternative funding options will now be considered by CBC as an alternative solution

7 Responses to “Luton Borough Council withdraws from BEaR PFI project in Bedfordshire”

  1. All 3 Councils will send waste to the proposed Covanta facility, which due to its size, will have very low gate fees. No doubt Covanta has been meeting with all 3 Councils to persuade them not to go down the PFI route and it certainly appears to have work. Now all Covanta needs to do is getting planning consent from DECC.

  2. Its a bit more complex than that Bob Jnr. Luton have a contractual arrangement with Waste Recycling Group to assist them in meeting targets and with the cost of the whole BEaR Project going higher each time they open their mouths Luton have bailed out with a level of comfort but yes two choices are emerging for Luton, to tender in the clear knowledge that they will end up in partnership with Hertfordshire’s supplier (incineration) or with Covanta. Central Bedfordshire have whinged on about Covanta and remain the only partner in the BEaR Project with the former County Council trying to stitch up the Rookery locals by not telling them of their plans and then being set up by Rookery owners who were working with Covanta all along (its like Oceans 11).

    Oddly enough Bedford Borough, the first to twig that they had been sold a ringer seem to be moving down the MBT route although they need to be smart not to get involved in a tussle with the incineration lobby as they don’t have a mandate for MBT on their website as far as I can see. Or any idea what they are going to do for that matter!

  3. Surely the councils can’t just send their waste to Covanta without some sort of tender for what will be a contract worth a massive amount of tax payers money.
    Covanta may not get permission for their power station, so Bedford and Luton are just plain stupid if they put all their eggs in one basket, they could end up with egg on their faces and nowhere to put their waste!
    Central Beds council still plan to look at other options but will they be forced to use Covanta because Luton and Bedford have pulled out of the deal?
    I wonder if residents in Bedford and Luton have cottoned on to what their councils have in mind?

  4. The size of the Covanta incinerator benefits the company in 2 ways. First, they can achieve considerable economies of scale and therefore will be able to offer Councils a very low gate fee (that is how they won the Bucks contract). Second, the facility is bigger than 50MW which means the planning application will be decided by the Government and not the local planning authority. I’m not aware of the Goverment having refused any large 50MW plus waste burning incinerator to date (someone please correct me if I’m wrong)

    Central Beds might moan about the proposal but once they see the low gate fees covanta can offer them, expect a change of heart.

  5. “Defra has turned down a bid for £79 million in PFI funding from the Bedfordshire Energy and Recycling Project, claiming the withdrawal of Luton and Bedford borough councils meant it could no longer be considered.”

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