Lancashire County Council closes MBT plants


Two mechanical biological treatment plants have been closed down by Lancashire County Council.

As a result, 250 jobs will be lost at the plants that were built as part of a £2 billion contract signed with the Global Renewables Private Finance Initiative in 2007.


However in 2014, the council was forced to cancel the 25-year contract and take over the PFI from Global Renewables.

The facility will continue to process and sort dry mixed recyclables, but the residual waste that would have been processed by the MBT plants will now be sold as a refuse derived fuel or sent to landfill.

Lancashire County Council leader Jenny Mein said: “Lancashire is in a much better position than a number of other local authorities which also invested in PFI-funded mechanical and biological treatment facilities because we successfully restructured the financing for the sites in 2014 to make an annual saving on the contract of £12m. That has also put us in a position to now consider other options and save a further £8.5m a year.

“The process we have was designed to prevent organic waste, such as food left in household bins, being landfilled, and provided a more cost-effective method of dealing with our rubbish as well as producing a form of compost.

“People are throwing far less food away, meaning the proportion of organics in residual waste has greatly declined, leaving us with a process which is effective, but costly for a relatively small proportion of organic waste, particularly when compared with other options.

“At the same time, a separate reason why we must take advantage of cheaper options to process Lancashire’s waste, and why the waste recovery parks have become uneconomical, is because the government moved the goalposts in 2013 by abolishing what were very high penalties for landfilling organic waste.”