Hunt begins for pollution-cutting £375m deal to dramatically slash Newcastle's landfill rubbish

Chronicle Live 2 weeks ago

City recycling chiefs are launching a £375m-plus hunt for new technology that will dramatically slash the amount of Newcastle rubbish sent to landfill.

Newcastle City Council bosses have revealed pollution-cutting ambitions to divert more than 90% of the city’s 140,000 annual tonnes of waste away from landfill sites.

The authority says that landfill causes more than 25 times more greenhouse gas emissions than alternative waste disposal options.

It comes as civic centre leaders begin deliberations over a “once in a generation” 25-year contract to manage Newcastle’s waste, as a deal with current provider Suez expires in 2025.

Councillor Nick Kemp, Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for environment, told a cabinet meeting on Monday that the “incredibly important” decision will take several years to finalise.

Newcastle currently sends around 34,000 tonnes of rubbish to landfill each year, roughly a quarter of its total refuse.

Coun Kemp said: “With our residual waste contract coming up for renewal, we are determined to ensure we find a new waste service which has the smallest-possible environmental impact, minimises costs and avoids landfill.

“Sending waste to landfill is unsustainable and significantly more harmful than its nearest alternative disposal methods such as different forms of recycling and energy recovery when it comes to greenhouse gases.

“As a council we have declared a climate emergency and are committed to making Newcastle carbon neutral by 2030. To support this, we are seeking to divert all but the unavoidable waste from landfill which will further cut our emissions to build on significant reductions already made since 2010.

“We will be looking to award the waste treatment contract by 2022 and we are excited to see some of the innovative technologies contractors come forward with to help us achieve our ambitions around climate change and protecting the environment.”

The Lib Dem opposition’s environment spokesman, Coun Gareth Kane, urged the council to take care over the “once in a generation” decision to ensure the city can make the most of future high-tech solutions.

At current prices, the new contract would be valued in the region of £375m plus inflation.

He said: “Back in 2004 the then incoming Lib Dem administration inherited the current contract, which was signed off in 2001, and found it incredibly restrictive in what we wanted to do.

“It is a decision that will lock us into a particular direction once this is is made. You have to be very careful to have flexibility for the future. We just don’t know what technology might become available over the next 10 years.”

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