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Ettington recycling centre fire adds £750,000 to Stratford's waste bill

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WASTE giants Biffa and Stratford District Council have agreed to share the estimated £750,000 cost of providing an alternative domestic recycling service after the regular reprocessing plant was destroyed by fire.

The scene at the entrance at Pure Recycling near Ettington as fire fighters taclked the blaze. Photo: Mark Williamson E12/7/21/2175. (52755543)
The scene at the entrance at Pure Recycling near Ettington as fire fighters taclked the blaze. Photo: Mark Williamson E12/7/21/2175. (52755543)

However, as previously reported by the Herald, the council and its contractor expect to recoup the money.

July’s blaze at Pure Recycling, in Ettington, meant that for three months following an initial eight-day suspension of the service, items were taken to an alternative site in London, but this incurred extra costs with the council picking up most of these.

After lots of work behind the scenes and a countrywide search, new arrangements were made for 60 tonnes of domestic recycling a day to be processed at alternative facilities, including Edmonton in London and Severn Waste in Worcestershire.

A report presented to an extraordinary cabinet meeting of the council on Monday, 22nd October, explained: “The costs of processing at these facilities exceeds what was paid prior to the fire and the location of some of the facilities will require bulking and hauling of domestic recycling that was previously delivered directly to the MRF [materials recycling facility] at Ettington.

“Negotiations with Biffa for the first three months of the revised service resulted in an agreement that the extra costs were split, with SDC covering 75 per cent and Biffa 25 per cent, during the emergency operating period.

“This decision was made as a leader’s decision, for pragmatic reasons, to ensure a quick restart in collections and without prejudice to the current contract.

“Further negotiations with Biffa have resulted in a proposal to share responsibility, on a without prejudice basis, for the additional costs incurred of 50 per cent each for the full period of time whilst Biffa continues its discussions with Pure.

Fire continues to burn (52755546)
Fire continues to burn (52755546)

“Given that SDC have been paying 75 per cent of the costs for the first three months this will in effect mean SDC paying 40 per cent of the costs for the remaining nine months.”

Speaking at this week’s meeting, Cllr Ian Shenton (Con, Wootton Wawen), the portfolio holder for climate change, said: “It sets a pragmatic view and a sensible course of action in the circumstances.

“There are very few places that can take our co-mingled waste. We don’t really have many options and this was the best one.”

Council leader Cllr Tony Jefferson (Con, Welcombe) added: “The fact that we got the service up and running rapidly was a tribute to all the staff involved.”

The revised arrangements were originally set up for three months, but will now run until the end of the current waste collection contract, 31st July 2022.

A further temporary fix is expected to be needed prior to the council’s joint project to build a recycling facility in Coventry - the £35m facility is not scheduled to open until 2023.

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