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Council to spend extra on recycling facility

The work which has already been undertaken at the Gremista Waste Management Facility. Photo: SIC
A photo taken in August 2018 of the proposed sorting shed site at the Gremista Waste Management Facility. Photo: SIC

SHETLAND Islands Council is set to spend £264,000 more than planned on a facility in Lerwick for sorting and storing recyclable waste.

Councillors approved the additional funding at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday after the issue was added to the agenda as a matter of urgency.

They heard that the total estimated cost of the project at Gremista is now £1.017 million after mechanical and electrical works proved to be more expensive than first thought.

The original approved budget for the facility, which will be located within the existing Gremista waste management area, was £753,000.

The new facility, consisting of a sorting and storing building and associated machinery, is being devised to allow workers to deal with rubbish being recycled through the council’s new kerbside programme.

Chief executive Maggie Sandison told councillors that sorting recycled waste in Shetland means the local authority gets better value when it is sold on.

Chairman of the council’s environment and transport committee Ryan Thomson said after the meeting that the right equipment “comes at a cost” and that “we are where we are”.

The project is already behind schedule, with the original completion date July this year. This was because of changes in the plans which were said to be outwith the council’s control.

The sorting machinery has not yet been tendered, but the council has carried out earthworks and drainage on the building site in-house to “avoid the risk and uplift present in contractors’ rates”. Procurement for the project is now set to proceed following the additional funding.

Thomson said that the previous costing estimate was “correct at the time – circumstances change, prices fluctuate and whatnot, and we are at the position now where the price tag is what it is”.

“But the business case remains, and the recycling scheme is on schedule and obviously to get the right prices for the recyclate, we need the right equipment, and obviously that comes at a cost,” he added.

“So we are where we are, but we push on and hopefully we’ll see the recycling shed up and running soon rather than later.”

The cost of the building and machinery will be funded from a combination of borrowing and spend to save.

Councillors were told that the footprint of the building could be reduced, but they warned that this would incur “significant delay and additional fees”.

The council began the phased introduction of the kerbside recycling scheme earlier this year in a bid to tackle its poor recycling rates as the Scottish Government looks to improve national figures.