West Norfolk Council has today announced it is terminating its contract with the company it had appointed to process the borough’s black bin waste.
Material Works had been given until last Friday to show it was making progress towards meeting the terms of its agreement with the authority, which was extended by the council last autumn.
But, in a statement issued late this afternoon, council chief executive Ray Harding said they had no choice but to end the deal.
He said: “It is disappointing that we have had to take this step.
“We have given the company not only the timescales set out within the original conditional contract, but have also previously extended the contract for a further three months to enable them to make progress against the conditions set out in the terms of the contract.”
“The latest correspondence from them has failed to convince us that any tangible progress has been made and the conditions have yet to be met. We really have no choice but to let the contract terminate.”
The council insists that it is not liable for any losses as a result of its decision, because of the way the contract was originally agreed.
Among the conditions of the original deal, which was signed in late 2012, was a requirement for Material Works to have developed a demonstrator plant, which is still not operating, as well as obtaining environmental permits and planning consent for a main facility within West Norfolk.
Mr Harding added: “It is no secret that we had high hopes for this technology, which had the potential to really change the way Norfolk deals with its waste and would have put West Norfolk at the forefront of recycling in this country.
“We believe that the ideas surrounding the technology the company has developed are sound.
“But we have to be realistic - with so little progress made since December 2012, we can only conclude that facility will not be delivered within a reasonable timescale.
“We wish the company the best of luck with getting this technology up and running. In the meantime, we will focus our attention on working with our partners within the Norfolk Waste Partnership to identify the most appropriate ways to deal with the county’s waste.”
A Material Works spokesman said: “Obviously we are disappointed, but we have no further comment at this stage while we investigate further options that may be open to us.”