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Saturday, 29 November 2014

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Fly-plague closure lands Barrow firm with huge bill

A PLAGUE of flies has ended up costing a company almost £500,000.

50051603B001
PLANT Shanks’ Waste Management Centre at Sowerby Woods in Barrow JON GRANGER REF: 50051603B001

In August the Shanks MBT plant in Sowerby Woods Industrial Estate, Barrow, was closed by the Environment Agency after neighbouring businesses were plagued by flies.

Inspectors closed the plant from August 5 to August 28 last year.

An FoI request to Cumbria County Council has revealed the closure saw 5,553 tonnes of waste sent to landfill.

According to calculations, used by Shanks, waste costs £72 per tonne plus a £15 tax to send to landfill – meaning the closure cost £483,111.

The closure came after waste was stuck in a pit for six weeks becoming a breeding ground for flies, though by the time the Environment Agency imposed restrictions the problems had been rectified.

The plant is capable of processing around 190 tonnes of waste per day.

Cumbria County Council, which contracted the site out to Shanks in a £25m deal, said the exact cost would not be apparent until the end of the financial year.

It is understood the £483,111, calculated from sums provided by Shanks management, would not be payable in full as costs used for running the plant would offset the cost.

Under the contract the firm is liable for any costs associated with sending more than 13 per cent of rubbish received to landfill but it is understood the firm is not expected to exceed that.

Both Shanks and Cumbria County Council declined to confirm the exact costs and said it would not be known until the end of the financial year but Cumbria County Council will not incur any cost as a result of the closure.

As part of the contract between Shanks and Cumbria County Council, Shanks will receive a bonus for reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill from 13 per cent.

However, should it miss targets the council has said there is a chance the firm will receive a reduced payment.

A statement from Cumbria County Council said: “The closure of the plant at Barrow resulted in 5,553 tonnes of waste above target being sent to landfill.

“The contract includes incentives for the contractor to achieve targets for the diversion of waste from landfill. If targets are not achieved the majority of the cost of additional landfill is met by the contractor.

“If diversion targets are exceeded the savings in landfill costs are shared between the council and the contractor.

“These adjustments are calculated based on landfill diversion for the whole year and not on a month-by-month basis.

“For this reason it is not yet possible to say how the closure of the Barrow MBT plant will affect overall annual performance as it depends whether the total tonnage diverted from landfill is above or below target for the year as a whole.”

A spokeswoman for Shanks said: “A number of improvements have been made to the facility in Barrow to control fly and odour issues and we are now able to accept all waste available to us.”

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