Lancashire recycling plants to be mothballed

Councillors decide to cancel operations at two Lancashire waste recycling plants

Lancashire Country Council has decided to stop operations at the two £2bn waste recycling plants at Farington and Thornton in a controversial move.

The decision was made by the executive scrutiny committee at a meeting in the County Hall in Preston on Friday, February 19. The two waste recycling plants, which cost the council £125m each to build, will run quiet after June this year, when over 250 employees will be made redundant.

The committee said that the food and organic waste, which is currently separated and treated at the two plants, will now be sent to landfill. In 2012, a report suggested that 70% of the waste that was sent to the Farington and Thornton recycling plants was relocated to landfill anyway.

Lancashire’s expensive recycling project has been enduringly problematic, with Michael Green, Leyland South West Conservative councillor, describing it as a “failure of catastrophic proportions”.

Due to unmanageable costs, in 2014 the council was forced to break their 25-year contract with the private waste company Global Renewables, which was a groundbreaking deal at the time of the initiating in 2007.

Councillors from the executive scrutiny committee have said that a redundancy programme is now being rolled out and that all, except around 16 employees, will be made redundant. Rather untactfully, Leader of the Council Jennifer Mein, said that the “low-skilled” plant workers are “part of the ongoing process is to upskill those people who will no longer have jobs with the facilities closing.”

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