Greater Manchester Combined Authority – Biowaste Strategy Local Authority

Waste Management Strategy

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is responsible for the management, treatment and disposal of the waste of nine constituent Metropolitan Borough Councils across the Greater Manchester area.  This includes some 200,000 tonnes per annum of mixed garden and food wastes and represents that largest organic waste contract in the UK.

Following the early termination of a PFI agreement and the release of a four-year interim Contract in 2019, the GMCA commissioned WRM to deliver a long term biowaste treatment strategy for the Greater Manchester conurbation.  The brief included a requirement to assess foreseeable policy changes that could be brought in as part of the Resources & Waste Strategy for England, as well as identifying treatment options and delivery mechanisms that could be developed by the authority.  Providing a robust financial and qualitative assessment to inform governance decisions on the long-term waste strategy was the key deliverable from the project.

A key aspect of the work was to identify and fully quantify the full range of organic waste collection and treatment options available to GMCA and its nine collection authorities. WRM were able to provide this advice as a result of our expertise in organic waste systems, and as a result of over fifteen years of strategy and cost modelling work.

The Solution

 

WRM provided strategy support to the GMCA and its nine collection authorities through a wide range programme which provided a truly comprehensive review that encompassed, waste collections, logistics, waste treatment technologies and recycled product markets.  Specific tasks included:

  • A review of prevailing draft policy to identify and understand compliant options which may be available to the collection authority.
  • Nine separate waste collection reviews to understand the practicality and cost of different food waste collection approaches as a Metropolitan Borough level. Identifying subtle, yet important differences and constraints between individual authorities was a key part of this workstream.
  • A market review of mercantile waste treatment capacity for anaerobic digestion (AD), open windrow composting and in-vessel composting. This review was extended to include an assessment of options for the offtake of organic products into agricultural and horticultural markets.
  • The development of outline business cases for the development of authority assets on a design-build-operate (DBO) basis. In addition to the anaerobic digestion, open windrow composting and in-vessel composting technologies, this workstream also explored novel approaches such as dry anaerobic digestion.
  • The preparation of an integrated evaluation model which provides the basis to compare combinations of options. The model developed by WRM was notable for its integration of different collection, transfer and treatment options, as well as enabling assessment of mercantile and/or DBO delivery models.  The model allowed the optimum solution to be established, taking account of comparative recycling performance, contract cost and carbon emissions.
  • Drafting a strategy report which brought together the works undertaken throughout the six month project, as a basis for the GMCA to identify its optimal long term strategy option. As well as summarising the work undertaken, the report produced by WRM fulfilled the requirements for an outline business case for the options presented; provided a procurement route map; and also served to provide the authority’s TEEP assessment for organic waste.

The project concluded in late 2020 and GMCA are now awaiting the final draft of the Resources and Waste Strategy before taking a decision to progress their preferred biowaste treatment option.  Since the completion of the report, the GMCA has used the outcomes of the work produced by WRM as part of its engagement with DEFRA as part of its participation in the industry consultation process.

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