Local Labour MSP Colin Smyth has re-iterated his call for the current Waste PFI Contract between Dumfries and Galloway Council and Shanks to be brought back under public control after recent threats by the private operator put local waste services at risk.
Renewi recently threatened to suspend its services which would have led to the closure of Household Waste Recycling Centres and contingency plans having to be put in place by the Council to ensure the disposal of waste. Last week it was announced by the Council that this threat had been lifted.
The MSP originally made the call for the waste contract to be brought back under public control in March when he predicted the current PFI contract would collapse after Renewi said it wanted to pull out of its contract with Shanks to provide household waste and recycling services for Dumfries and Galloway Council.
Renewi claimed that they wanted to withdraw from the contract because they had been unable to meet legal changes on new landfill diversion and recycling requirements set by the Scottish Government.
Despite the recent threats being lifted Colin Smyth is still concerned that with no agreement over the implementation of a zero waste plan, the only sustainable solution for waste services is for them to return to public control.
Colin Smyth is also calling on the Scottish Government to commit to supporting financially a possible move to bring the waste contract services back into public control. The U.K. and Scottish Government currently provides Level Playing Field Support and Strategic Waste Fund Support which amounts to over £4 million a year.
Colin Smyth said, “The recent action by Renewi to threaten to close facilities they are contracted to provide was completely unacceptable and simply exposes the fact our local waste services are at the mercy of private companies who don’t want anything to do with them because they don’t make them a profit. The only solution is for the current Waste PFI contract to be brought back under public control.
This will ensure that the public sector, accountable to local people make the day to day decisions over these vital services. However, the big concern is the fact the UK and Scottish Government’s provide funding directly for the PFI. It is vital that this financial support continues. The SNP have made clear they support ending PFI contracts in the past but if they stop this funding, those claims will be empty. It will mean that local taxpayers will have to make up any shortfall in deliver waste services which is just not acceptable.”