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LANDFILL FIRM DEMANDS£12M FROM THREE YORKSHIRE COUNCILS

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Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham MBCs have been hit by a demand for an extra£12m from a company they helped set u...
Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham MBCs have been hit by a demand for an extra£12m from a company they helped set up to operate landfill sites in the area.

The Yorkshire Post (5 June, p11) reported that the three authorities have been asked to pay the sum above the amount originally agreed with BDR, a waste disposal company set up in 1993.

BDR was a joint venture company formed by the three councils and Yorkshire Water after councils were forced to put their waste disposal arrangements out to tender.

The company is now owned by Waste Recycling Group plc, which says the extra money is to help meet new regulations brought in to improve environmental standards at landfill sites - something which could not have been foreseen when the original contract with the councils was drawn up.

The handling of the contract has been called into question by an independent Doncaster member, Martin Williams, who said he wanted a full inquiry into how the authorities could be facing such a large bill from a company they part own.

'These kind of contracts should be watertight when they're drawn up,' he said. 'We shouldn't be leaving ourselves open to this sort of situation.'

A leaked report from Doncaster MBC reveals that the authority is to seek a barrister's opinion on whether the claim by WRG is valid.

None of the three councils was willing to comment on details of any proposed settlement. They all said that the issue had been discussed behind closed doors because it involved potential legal action which could have been prejudiced by publication.

A spokesman for Barnsley said a settlement had now been agreed in principle but added there had been a dispute over the amount claimed.

Tim Mumford, head of legal services at Rotherham, said the amount of money concerned was clearly a concern but that it remained a question of whether the expense was justifiable under the terms of the contract.

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