The costs associated with a planned new waste ‘shredding’ facility – designed to deal with the disposal of bulkier waste – are set to almost TRIPLE, county councillors have been told.

Initial estimates for the planned ‘shredding building’ at the Waterdale waste transfer station, near Watford, were around £4.5m.

But on Friday (December 1) it was reported to a meeting of the resources and performance cabinet panel that that estimate had increased to £13m.

Described as a ‘priority project’, the facility would be used to deal with bulkier waste and enabling more waste to be incinerated at ‘energy recovery facilities’ rather than landfill.

But according to a report presented to councillors, inflation, ongoing supply issues and additional requirements that have come out through the planning process have increased costs.

Officers have now drawn-up plans to reallocate funding from other waste projects to ensure it can be delivered.

According to the report to the panel – included as part of the latest budget monitor report – the original cost estimates were based on figures from September 2021.

Since then officers have secured the required planning permission (December 2022) and work has been ongoing to ‘discharge planning conditions’.

But now they say construction costs have increased, due to ‘significant increases’ in inflation, ongoing supply issues, and additional requirements that have emerged through the planning process.

These additional requirements are reported to include increased drainage system costs as a result of government changes to the ground water source protection zone.

Highlighting the increased costs associated with the shredding building, Liberal Democrat Cllr Tim Williams told the meeting he was ‘quite shocked’.

“The original estimate was £4.5m for the shredding facility, but it’s now £13m,” he said.

“I know the report actually says it’s more than doubled, but I would say the more accurate description is nearly tripled.

“So basically just asking the basic question here ‘what happened? Why has it gone so high?’."

In response director of corporate finance Scott Walker pointed to inflation and changes in specification.

With regard to inflation, he said original costs were based on prices in 2021 – before the war in Ukraine and a number of inflationary factors and supply chain issues that had forced up a number of costs.

And he said other factors included changes to regulations by the Environment Agency and changes to the specification of equipment.