Highland Council set to meet Scottish Government landfill ban for biodegradable waste three years ahead of deadline after securing £58m deal for disposal of residual household and commercial waste

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Construction is underway of the Longman Waste Transfer Station.
  • Council awards Viridor £58m residual waste contract
  • Approximately 72,000 tonnes of waste will be processed by Viridor each year
  • Deal means local authority will meet 2026 landfill ban deadline
  • Electricity from the Viridor waste energy plant will go into the national grid

Highland Council will meet the Scottish Government’s landfill ban for biodegradable waste three years before the deadline after reaching a £58million deal for the disposal of residual household and commercial waste.

Viridor Dunbar Waste Services Limited has been awarded the five-year contract which will commence on January 1, 2023 with an option to extend for three years and will handle and process the waste.

The council will deliver the residual waste to the Viridor facility in East Lothian so that landfilling of biodegradable municipal solid waste can be completed before the government-imposed deadline of January 1, 2026.

Despite additional transportation requirements, the new contract will result in reduced carbon emissions from the council’s waste management activities.

Related Story – Badger activity delays work on £7m waste project as Highland Council seeks long-term solutions to costly waste management problem

Indeed, the company’s Energy from Waste plant – the electricity produced will be exported to the national grid – has significantly lower emissions than the landfill.

The volumes to be processed under the contract will vary over time. The authority will gradually direct waste from its own facilities into the contract as existing contractual arrangements expire and the capacity of landfills in Aviemore and Caithness are exhausted.

The town hall estimates that up to 72,000 tonnes of residual waste will be treated by Viridor each year, providing the community with medium-term waste disposal security.

From puzzle to safe waste disposal

Waste management has been a major and costly headache for the council for years and the contract allows ample time to develop its plans, which include a response to the Scottish Government’s review of the role of incineration.

Greens MSP and Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity Lorna Slater has effectively banned the development of new energy from waste plants. The council had already studied the potential of such a facility.

Related Story – Highland Council agrees £2.8million for a team of experts to assess a waste-to-energy plant on the Longman that could save millions in landfill taxes

Allan Gunn, ECO Communities and Place said: “This is an extremely positive and important step for Highland. This contract provides the Council with the medium-term security of waste landfills in Scotland. This will also result in reduced carbon emissions from the Council’s waste management activities.

Contingency in place after Aberdeen recycling facility fire

Meanwhile, the fire at the Altens Materials Recycling (MRF) facility in Aberdeen has led to issues with the council’s contractor, Suez, although these are now being dealt with under contingency plans .

A Highland Council spokesman said: ‘Altens MRF had a major fire over the weekend. Through a contractual arrangement, an element of Highland Council’s blended recycling is normally handled by this facility.

“The contractor is now providing Highland Council with contingency planned arrangements for recycling processing. The contractor (SUEZ) is keeping the board informed, there is currently no disruption to the service provided. »

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