Covanta to mount legal challenge against Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority decision


Energy from waste company Covanta has decided to challenge the decision made by Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MWRA) to award its residual waste contract to SITA UK.

On 19 April, MRWA announced that the SITA Sembcorp UK consortium led by SITA was its preferred bidder ahead of US company Covanta Energy.


The 30-year £1.1 billion contract will now see SITA UK transport residual waste materials from Merseyside by rail to Teesside to be processed there.

But Covanta is to challenge this decision at the High Court in Leeds over what its lawyers say was a “flawed” procurement process that failed to take into account economic savings in the Covanta bid.

As reported by SCM Waste to Energy last week, Ellesmere Port MP Andrew Miller had also criticised the decision for taking employment opportunities away from the planned location of the Covanta facility at the Ince Park site owned by Peel Environmental in Cheshire.

The decision has also been queried by Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson.

Now Peel Holdings chairman John Whittaker has urged MRWA to look at the decision again.

He said: “I would normally never comment on a public tendering process, especially where a Peel business has a vested interest. However, the ramifications for the North West economy of this contract going outside the region are so important that I felt I had to speak out. Over time, our planned joint venture at Ince Park, Ellesmere Port with Covanta has the scope to create over 2,000 construction jobs and up to 3,000 operating jobs. There would be half a billion pounds of US investment in just the final phase and enough clean electricity to meet 16 per cent of the North West’s sustainable energy target.

“Furthermore, I understand that Covanta would save the authority more than £210 million over and above the SITA bid, over the life of the contract.”