Construction of a dedicated facility for treating food waste collected by both The City of Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils could begin in 2014 following the appointment of Alauna Renewable Energy Ltd (ARE) as preferred bidder by Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian.

The proposed treatment uses a fully enclosed accelerated composting process called anaerobic digestion which also captures methane gas and uses it to generate renewable electricity. The composted material is then used as an agricultural fertiliser in crop production.

The 20 year contract is for the design, finance, construction and operation of the facility. It will provide a secure, long-term solution for treating food waste collected by the Councils at a competitive price and help achieve higher recycling rates, in line with national targets set out in the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan.

Vice Convener of Transport Jim Orr

Councillor Jim Orr, Environment Vice Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “This is a key part of our long-term strategy to increase recycling in Edinburgh. These state-of-the-art facilities will provide a long-term, value for money treatment solution for food waste collected by both councils with the potential to produce a range of local benefits, particularly green energy.”

Councillor Jim Bryant, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Midlothian Council, said: “I am pleased that the successful bidder has chosen to locate the facilities on a site provided by the Partner Councils at Millerhill Marshalling Yards in Midlothian. This is the first step of the Council’s vision for a Zero Waste Parc at the site. We are excited about the regeneration of derelict industrial land and the future benefits that this could bring to the local area.”

Peter Sharpe, Managing Director of ARE, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the Preferred Bidder on such an exciting, innovative and ambitious project. We will now be working hard to complete the final project details with the Zero Waste Team so that we can deliver a world-class facility to the Partner Councils.”

The details of the agreement are now being worked up with the view to signing the contract by the end of the year, subject to final council approvals. Should all go according to plan, it is expected that construction will begin in 2014 with the facility up and running by the end of 2015.

The separate procurement of a residual waste treatment contract is progressing well. Initial dialogue with four remaining bidders has now concluded and an Invitation to Submit Detailed Tenders is expected to be issued to these bidders later this month.

Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian is a joint project between the City of Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils to deliver, via private sector partners, dedicated facilities for the treatment of the food and residual waste they collect. Planning Permission in Principle (PPiP) for a range of waste treatment facilities at the project site near Millerhill in Midlothian was granted in December 2011. ARE will now hold a series of public engagement events in the local area before submitting an Application for Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions to demonstrate that they can satisfy the PPiP conditions applicable to a food waste treatment facility at the project site. Details of the upcoming engagement events will be made available soon.