Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority puts its case against Covanta legal bid


Documents have been submitted to the High Court outlining why Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority (MWDA) believes it acted correctly in awarding its residual waste contract to SITA UK.

American firm Covanta recently issued a legal challenge against MWDA’s decision to make SITA UK preferred bidder.


MWDA said that it had engaged in an extensive competitive dialogue procurement process between itself and Covanta and SITA.

It said this process led to the shortlisted companies submitting bids and these were assessed on which was the most economically advantageous, as well as sustainability, criteria, whole life costs to ensure value for money, and any risks that would be incurred by MWDA.

The evaluation was scrutinised by nine elected members from the five district councils on Merseyside that are part of the MWDA governance structure.

MWDA chief executive Carl Beer said: “Following a detailed and fair evaluation process, SITA was selected as the preferred bidder. Covanta’s bid scored less than SITA UK’s winning bid, and in two of five areas of evaluation scored zero and so was found to be fundamentally unacceptable. The Covanta bid was rejected having failed to reach minimum scores in those areas.

“In addition, during evaluation, parts of the Covanta bid were seen to present serious risks including financial risks, to which the authority, district council and Merseyside council tax payers would be exposed. These risks were determined to be such that, in public law terms, it would be ‘irrational, in breach of fiduciary duties and therefore unlawful’ to enter into a contract with Covanta.

“The authority regrets that Covanta has decided to pursue litigation following that decision. MWDA will be vigorously defending the claim brought against it, and has filed a detailed defence to the claim brought by Covanta.

“This defence strongly rejects the various allegations which have been made by Covanta, and sets out the significant risks to which Covanta’s solution could have given rise for MWDA if it had been taken forward. The defence also details the serious concerns which were raised by MWDA to Covanta choosing to submit its bid.

“MWDA will continue to defend the action until the case is resolved and intends in due course to recover its legal costs of defending the claim from Covanta.”

The authority is using its statutory name in the proceedings, but is now known as Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority.