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Viridor with Laing wins preferred status for Manchester

26th.January 2007

Waste management firm Viridor and construction giant Laing was announced this afternoon (January 26) as the preferred contractor for Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority's 25 year waste disposal contract.

Following a meeting today, the authority said it had agreed to the appointment of a consortium made up of Viridor and Laing Roads Limited with a consortium made up of SITA UK/Royal Bank of Scotland/Peel Holdings as the reserve bidder.

A spokesman said that "these appointments follow the evaluation of best and final offer submissions."

The contract will provide waste services for handling the 1.4 million tonnes of municipal waste that is generated each year in the conurbation. The 25-year contract is believed to be the largest waste services contract to be let in Western Europe. It involves over £300 million of investment in new infrastructure and is estimated to be worth around £3 billion.

the proposal from Viridor/ Laing was stronger in a number of key areas
- Cllr Neil Swannick, GMWDA
The authority also said today that it is "minded to select an integrated fuel solution. After maximising recycling and composting, Viridor/Laing would be responsible for both the production and the use of the refined fuel product that can be produced from the remaining waste that cannot be recycled or composted."

Workforce
Speaking today, Councillor Neil Swannick Chair of the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority said: “The Authority today received a detailed report on the evaluation that has looked at the technical, financial, workforce and contractual proposals from both bidders. We received two high quality solutions and both bidders clearly demonstrated their capability to deliver the world class solution we are seeking at a competitive price. I congratulate both consortia for their highly professional response to our invitation.

"That said, the proposal from Viridor/ Laing was stronger in a number of key areas and the Authority had no hesitation in accepting officer advice that they should be taken forward. They have brought forward a technical solution that is a good fit with our agreed waste management strategy. There are good proposals for waste minimisation and ensuring 50% of waste is recycled or composted. The ‘residual’ waste solution, involving a combination of Mechanical Biological Treatment, Anaerobic Digestion and the production of a stable fuel for power generation, is also excellent news."

Cheapest
Cllr Swannick continued: "Cheapest is not always best. However, in this instance Viridor/Laing also brought forward the best price and proposals for a greater transfer of risk to the private sector, including long-term price guarantees. They have also brought forward good proposals for the workforce solution, including pension arrangements that not only safeguard the rights of the existing workforce but also provide a quality pension solution for future recruits."

Looking ahead, Cllr Swannick pointed to a "demanding schedule of work going forward so that we can sign a contract that is acceptable to both the Authority and Government. This will including due diligence work, finalising the sites for new investment and consulting local communities about planning applications. The Authority is also very keen to see a ‘Combined Heat and Power’ power generation solution that uses the steam as well as electricity that can be generated by fuel use. However, we are well placed to make quick progress to the new investment”.

Defra welcome
The authority’s decision has also been welcomed by Defra. Speaking in London today, John Burns, DEFRA’s Director of the Waste Implementation Programme said: “This is good news for UK plc. A high quality environmental solution in Greater Manchester is an essential contribution to the delivery of national climate change, waste and energy policies. In addition, the progress that this procurement is making is helping to build market and funding confidence that is so essential to securing new investment in waste management infrastructure.

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