MORE than 250 jobs are expected to be lost under a huge proposed £8.5 million shake-up proposed for Lancashire’s waste management services.
County council bosses are asking Global Renewables, which runs waste recovery plants at Leyland and Thornton, to make significant savings for 2016-17.
County officials say that the main change will mothballing processing equipment which currently converts household waste into an inert organic compound. In the short-term the waste will be sent for landfill instead.
Residual waste will also no longer be treated at the two plants, if the proposals go ahead, and an in-vessel composting line, separating garden and food waste will be wound down.
All community work – including an environmental education service and community liaison, waste minimisation, development and communications programmes – would also cease.
Steve Scott, the county council’s head of waste management, said: “The nature of the changes to treatment processes and the soft services provided by the company will require a major transformation of the company and its operating structure.
“The company will be required to make in excess of 250 redundancies in order to deliver this transformation.”
Under the proposals, ‘one-off’ redundancy, decommissioning and contract breakage costs are estimated to cost £4.5 million, which will be covered by reserves, totalling £7.75 million in the first year and £4.5 million in the second.
Originally the waste contract, which was supposed to include a third site at Huncoat, was procured under a £2 billion private finance initiative scheme, with the council required to make interest repayments of £12 million per year.
But LCC, which was involved in the deal with Blackpool Council, took over Global Renewables in late 2014 and effectively brought the operation in-house.
Because the authority already has a recycling rate of around 47 per cent, against a 50 per cent target, and the plants only accounted for around two per cent of this, it is believed the move will not dent Lancashire’s environmental performance.
Council sources say the government scrapping landfill tax penalties has also led to a financial reappraisal of waste processing methods.
A Lancashire County Ccouncil spokesman added: “The proposals recommended by officers include changing the role of the waste recovery parks at Leyland and Thornton so that they no longer treat waste but instead operate primarily as waste transfer stations.
“There will be no change to the way we deal with the recycling picked up from households, which accounts for the vast majority of the waste we currently recycle, and separate facilities will be put in place to continue composting any garden waste collected.
“However, the residual waste people put in their black bin bags would be transferred from refuse collection vehicles into larger loads and onto third party contractors to recycle or dispose of.”