Beyond landfill – Somerset’s search begins

Somerset is widening its residual waste treatment options beyond costly landfill in the search for better solutions that continue to meet residents’ needs and make significant financial savings.

Outside its contract with waste firm Viridor, Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) is asking waste treatment suppliers for alternatives to deal with more than 120,000 tonnes of refuse each year.

SWP Landfill 03

SWP currently spends £12 million a year of council taxpayers’ money on landfill. After recent years’ budget reductions, it wants the switch from landfill to save at least £1.3 million a year.

SWP’s governing Somerset Waste Board (SWB) asked Viridor for costed alternatives to landfill, but these did not fully meet the criteria, so SWB agreed earlier this year to seek other options.

SWP managing director Steve Read emphasised: “This decision only involves the residual waste disposal side of our contract with Viridor and nothing else. Residents will see no changes.

“The original proposal from Viridor did not reflect what the board believes the wider market could offer and so it decided to suspend its exclusive deal with the firm.”

SWP has begun a procurement process for residual waste treatment, aiming to divert material from landfill, without specifying any preferred technology or location.

During the search, Viridor will continue to landfill waste at its existing two sites within Somerset.