Biffa and Stratford District Council have agreed to share the extra cost of dealing with domestic recycling after the regular reprocessing plant was destroyed by a fire.
July's blaze at Pure Recycling, in Ettington, meant that for three months following an initial eight-day suspension of the service, items were taken to an alternative site in London but this incurred extra costs with the council picking up most of these.
Now, after discussions with Biffa, it has been agreed that domestic recycling will be collected as normal from households and will be processed at alternative facilities including Edmonton in London and Severn Waste in Worcestershire.
A report presented to an extraordinary cabinet meeting of Stratford District Council on Monday (October 25) explained: “The costs of processing at these facilities exceeds what was paid prior to the fire and the location of some of the facilities will require bulking and hauling of domestic recycling that was previously delivered directly to the MRF [materials recycling facility] at Ettington.
“Negotiations with Biffa for the first three months of the revised service resulted in an agreement that the extra costs were split, with SDC covering 75 per cent and Biffa 25 per cent, during the emergency operating period.
"This decision was made as a Leader’s decision, for pragmatic reasons, to ensure a quick restart in collections and without prejudice to the current contract.
“Further negotiations with Biffa have resulted in a proposal to share responsibility, on a without prejudice basis, for the additional costs incurred of 50 per cent each for the full period of time whilst Biffa continue their discussions with Pure.
"Given that SDC have been paying 75 per cent of the costs for the first three months this will in effect mean SDC paying 40 per cent of the costs for the remaining nine months.”
Speaking at this week’s meeting, Cllr Ian Shenton (Con, Wootton Wawen), the portfolio holder for climate change, said: “It sets a pragmatic view and a sensible course of action in the circumstances.
“There are very few places that can take our co-mingled waste. We don’t really have many options and this was the best one.”
Council leader Cllr Tony Jefferson (Con, Welcombe) added: “The fact that we got the service up and running rapidly was a tribute to all the staff involved.”
It is anticipated that the extra cost - estimated to be around £750k - will be recouped following an agreement between Biffa and Pure Recycling.