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East London opts to treat waste at new plant

FOUR EAST London boroughs are poised to sign a contract that will slash the volume of municipal waste to landfill sites by 35% within four years.

East London Waste Authority (ELWA), incorporating the boroughs of Dagenham & Barking, Havering, Newham and Redbridge, has lined up waste contractor Shanks to build two biological/mechanical treatment plants, at a cost of £100M.

Shanks will kick off its operations later this year by radically improving waste recycling at the point of collection. It is aiming to reclaim 13% of the domestic waste stream within three years.

Treatment of waste using the new processing plants will start in 2005-6. In the first year of operation Shanks forecasts it will beat the government's 25% recycling targets by 10%.

Reclamation will be ramped up to cut landfill disposal by nearly 70% by 2015.

Shanks' contract will be worth around £25M a year, and will run for 25 years.

But ELWA office manager Alan Dawson said that cutting the volume of waste to landfill sites will save local authorities millions of pounds.

ELWA boroughs produce over 530Mt of waste a year, with volumes expected to grow by nearly 8% a year over the coming two decades. Landfill tax currently stands at £12/t and is set to rise to £15/t by 2005.

The economic sense of alternatives to landfill is increased by the shortage of landfill sites close to the capital. Waste authorities are being forced to pay a premium at sites nearby, or stump up cash to cover haulage to landfill sites further away, said Dawson.

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