Further call for waste decision to be overturned
Awarding Merseyside's £1.2bn waste recycling contract to a Teesside-based consortium represents a lost opportunity to attract inward investment and create jobs, according to Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Andrew Miller.
He has written a strongly worded letter urging Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority to reconsider its decision to name SITA UK's Teesside scheme as the preferred bidder for its residual waste treatment contract.
A rival bid by Covanta could have led to a waste treatment facility being constructed at Ellesmere Port, creating job opportunities for local people.
The Labour MP's letter to MRWA chief executive Carl Beer outlines his concerns that awarding the contract to a company based in Teesside represents a missed opportunity for Merseyside.
He writes: "Trucking and rail freighting Merseyside's waste across the country to Teesside for treatment, is to say the least, counter-intuitive.
"When that is coupled with the loss of a £500m inward investment project by a leading US corporation providing 600 construction jobs and 90 full time operation roles, I feel I need to ask further questions."
A consortium led by SITA UK was announced as the preferred bidder for the 30-year contract in April.
The contract includes the development of an energy-from-waste facility in Teesside, as well as a new rail hub in Kirkby to transport waste from Merseyside to the EfW plant.
According to MRWA, the SITA UK consortium bid will bring savings of £145m to its partner councils compared to the current landfill costs.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has already criticised MRWA's "huge" decision, suggesting that an unsuccessful rival bid from Covanta – which would have seen waste disposed of locally – should have been given more consideration as it would have brought investment opportunities to the area.
Mr Miller's letter urges Mr Beer to clarify the money that would be saved by selecting SITA UK rather than Covanta for the contract and whether the local economic development advantages claimed by Covanta, Peel Environmental and their development partners, Balfour Beatty and Fisia Babcock, were properly considered.
He adds: "You will understand that I do not believe I can risk losing these advantages for my area without being completely satisfied that the alternatives had been fully explored.
"That is why I am asking you to review the bids again and make public your reasons for choosing whichever bid is better.
"I understand your next scheduled board meeting is on Friday 28 June and I would urge you to look again."