Staff at the county’s two huge £2bn recycling centres at Thornton and Farington have made a last minute plea to save their jobs.
Organic waste composters at the sites are set to shut down as Lancashire County Council desperately seeks savings in the light of huge Government cutbacks.
Their closure means 250 members of staff will lose their jobs by June, householders will no longer be able to put kitchen waste in their green recycling and more of the county’s waste will be transferred to landfill.
But the staff have written to council leaders saying that officers, when they were calculating where savings could be made, did not take into account a plan from Global Renewables staff to cut costs without dumping the operation.In their letter they say: “A group of senior colleagues in Global Renewables (GRLOL)have looked at the finances relating to three different options for processing of ‘residual waste’ in great detail and this information would suggest there is at least one other way forward which will stop as much land filling in the short term, keep jobs and is actually cheaper for the Authority if you look at all of the costs over the next two years.
“Key information has been deliberately withheld from the unions, papers and politicians which we believe would have resulted in a different decision being taken by the authority on Friday. This is a scandal.
“We would strongly encourage Mrs Mein (leader) and Mr Johnstone (cabinet member councillor) to visit Global Renewables and speak to those who produced the report.”
But today, County Coun Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “The county council has worked with GRLOL to examine options, including the one suggested by the company which would continue to process residual waste at both facilities and seek to reduce costs through the way the company operates.
“However, there is no guarantee that the savings we need to make could be achieved under that option and all of the operational and financial risks would continue. By comparison a transfer operation allows a much-reduced operating cost, and its delivery can be guaranteed. The county council believes that the option recommended by officers will save at least £2m a year more.”