County council officials have warned it is likely to be many years before a new long-term waste management solution comes into force in Norfolk, following the axing of the Lynn incinerator contract.
The warning came in a report, due to go before a committee today, which sets out how waste in the county is set to be managed in the future.
Following the authority’s decision to terminate its contract with Cory Wheelabrator for the Saddlebow project in April, a waste advisory group was established to examine future alternatives.
It set out 19 policies for waste management, including a specific rejection of any incineration of waste in Norfolk, although the technology is acceptable at facilities outside the county.
Its report, which will be debated by the council’s environment, development and transport committee today, says facilities are in place to deal with the county’s waste until the spring of 2016.
The authority has already agreed a deal to send some of its waste to the Great Blakenham incinerator in Suffolk.
And Tom McCabe, the council’s director of environment, development and transport, said it was expected that sufficient treatment capacity would be available regionally, nationally and internationally to cover the period from 2016 to 2020.
But he added that moves to secure capacity for that period and beyond would have to start next year and warned that the council needed to spell out exactly what it wanted from any would-be service provider.
He said: “The private sector may be wary of engaging in any procurement process unless the specification of the County Council’s requirements is very clear and there is evidenced commitment to the process.
“This could affect the level of competition in any procurement, which could be reflected in the price of a service.”
He added that the risk of any project being delayed or collapsing altogether also needed to be addressed, but suggested that the timescale would allow the authority to take future environmental legislation into account.
If backed, the group’s recommendations are likely to be debated at a full council meeting in December. A conference examining potential alternatives is scheduled to take place in the spring.