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Edinburgh City Council Midlothian

Councils lead the way with major project to recycle food waste

05 March 2013

A contract to build a state-of-the-art food waste treatment facility through a partnership between the City of Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils and a private sector company has been signed.

Alauna Renewable Energy (ARE) has agreed a 20-year deal to build and operate the plant on behalf of the Councils, following its successful appointment as preferred bidder last year.

The contract provides a secure, local and long-term solution for treating food waste collected by the Councils at a competitive price, and will help achieve higher recycling rates in line with national targets set out in the Scottish Government's Zero Waste Plan.

The facility will be located at the former rail marshalling yards near Millerhill in Midlothian. ARE is expected to begin construction of the facility next year ahead of its scheduled opening date in 2015. It is estimated that up to 50 jobs will be created during the construction period and 9 full time jobs once the facility is up-and-running.

It is a major achievement for the Councils, who are leading the way with a partnership that will see the food waste they collect in Edinburgh and Midlothian recycled to produce renewable electricity, as well as fertiliser for local farms.

Councillor Jim Orr, Environment Vice Convener at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "This facility will play a central role in our ongoing plans to reduce landfill disposal and increase recycling. A staggering one third of the rubbish in our bins at home is made up of food waste, and the introduction of food waste recycling in Edinburgh last year has already led to a drop in the amount of waste being buried in the ground. I look forward to working in partnership with ARE and Midlothian Council on this exciting project."

Councillor Jim Bryant, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Midlothian Council said: "I am pleased the contract with ARE has now been signed and we can get on with realising the value this project will bring. This is the first step in the redevelopment of derelict land at the former Millerhill Marshalling Yards and I am very excited about the future benefits it will bring to the area, which include the potential development of a Zero Waste Parc."

Peter Sharpe, Managing Director of ARE, said: "We are delighted to have been appointed to deliver such an innovative project that will make a significant contribution to the sustainability of the local communities and environment. We've been working hard with the Councils to finalise the contract details and we are pleased that these are now all agreed and we can look forward to helping realise their aspirations."

Scottish Water Horizons are a partner in ARE. Chris Banks, Commercial Director said: "Scottish Water is pleased to be an integral part of this important project. We will use renewable electricity generated from recycling Edinburgh and Midlothian's food waste to help power the provision of our water and drainage services across Scotland. Our existing food waste treatment plant at Cumbernauld will also provide back-up to ensure the Councils have complete continuity of service."

The Councils have been supported throughout the procurement by Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), a Scottish Government appointed body, which has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to Zero Waste. Christa Reekie, Commercial Director at SFT, stated:  "This represents a landmark achievement in the delivery of waste infrastructure across Scotland, particularly with it being the very first collaborative waste project of its kind in Scotland.  It is a tremendous example of the partnership approach SFT encourages public bodies to follow in order to deliver value-for-money projects."

The separate procurement of a residual waste treatment contract is progressing well. Initial dialogue with four remaining bidders is nearing conclusion and an Invitation to Submit Detailed Tenders is expected to be issued to the bidders later this year.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian is a joint project between the City of Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils to deliver, via private sector partners, dedicated facilities for the treatment of the food and residual waste they collect.

Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), a public corporation of the Scottish Government, provides regular support to the Zero Waste Project Team on procurement matters.  A representative of SFT also sits on the Zero Waste Project Board in an advisory, non-voting capacity.

A notice was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in February 2011 announcing that Zero Waste was seeking to procure Anaerobic Digestion facilities to treat food waste.

ARE is a joint venture set up between Kelda Water Services and Scottish Water Horizons, combining the operational expertise of the Kelda Group with the local knowledge, network and support of Scottish Water Horizons.

The treatment will use a fully enclosed accelerated composting process called Anaerobic Digestion which also captures methane gas and uses it to generate renewable electricity. The composted material will be used as an agricultural fertiliser in crop production at local farms.

Planning Permission in Principle (PPiP) for a range of waste treatment facilities at the project site near Millerhill in Midlothian was granted in December 2011. Following on from the public events held in October last year, ARE has submitted an Application for Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions to demonstrate that it can satisfy the PPiP conditions applicable to a food waste treatment facility at the site and is awaiting a decision. ARE is expected to begin initial preparatory works at the site later this year, ahead of construction of the facility beginning in 2014 for a 2015 opening date.