£90m funding cut from waste scheme

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Landfill site © Flickr/James

Landfill site © Flickr/James

A project set up to burn Merseyside’s waste has had £90m funding pulled by the government.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has informed Merseyside Recycling and Halton Waste Partnership that it is withdrawing funding from recycling schemes, and a waste incinerator in Merseyside.

In a statement the government said money is being withdrawn from the project because they believe there are enough incinerators in England to meet the EU deadlines to reduce landfill.

A spokesman for DEFRA said: “The decision has been taken not to fund the remaining projects. This does not necessarily mean they will stop. That will be a decision for the Local Authorities concerned. We will continue to provide commercial and technical advice to those projects that continue with their procurement process.”

Authorities will meet this week to discuss a way forward to deal with Merseyside and Halton’s residual waste, and a plan to continue with the project. Merseyside Waste and Recycling Authority (MWRA) had already spent £7m on the scheme, and if sufficient funds are not found, it seems local taxpayers may be picking up the additional costs.

Cllr Steve Munby of Liverpool City Council said the cut will have an impact on the future of recycling schemes. He said: “This is another present from the government to Merseyside. The advice we have had is that it will not prevent the scheme from going ahead, but it will affect the finances of the authority.”

The recycling waste deal has had many delays over the years, and two companies have now made the final stage of the bidding process to deal with 450,000 tonnes of waste each year.

If MWRA decide to scrap the project they may face legal claims from the bidders, and it would have to find a privately-run incinerator to deal with the rubbish.

All councils have targets of recycling 50% of their waste by 2020, and burning waste has been the route many areas have taken, because landfill charges will increase.

Merseyside is one of three areas that had not yet signed a deal.

About Kate Molyneux, JMU Journalism