Broken down: Multi-million plant at Waterbeach that treats 2,200 tonnes of Cambridgeshire’s black bin waste a week

HIDDEN behind a terse 159 word statement is a crisis for the owners of a broken �41.5million Mechanical Biological Treatment plant that handles 2,200 tonnes a week of Cambridgeshire’s rubbish.

The MBT forms part of AmeyCespa’s Waterbeach complex and would normally treat the county council’s black bag waste and save around �60,000 a week in landfill costs. .

However since September 18 when a 105ft steel beam broke sending a giant wheel spinning out of control, the plant has been closed and black bin waste is being sent to landfill instead.

A company spokesman said the machine broke at the end of a shift when only two staff was on site and neither was in the composting hall.

The spokesman said: “The MBT has suffered a mechanical failure within its compost hall equipment and, as a result, waste which would ordinarily have been treated in the MBT is currently being land filled,” said the spokesman.

“Resolving the MBT suspension is a key priority for AmeyCespa and a thorough investigation has begun.

“In the meantime, we would like to reassure Cambridgeshire residents that their waste collections will continue as normal.”

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AmeyCespa won a Cambridgeshire �731million, 28 year waste processing and recycling contract through a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) project.

The centrepiece of the contract has always been the MPB plant but the company also provided two new waste transfer stations at Alconbury and March which manage the operations of the nine household waste recycling centres in Cambridgeshire as part of the PFI contract.

Councillor Matthew Shuter, the council’s cabinet member for waste, said: “We are working to keep the costs to an absolute minimum.

“The contract we have is very robust and protects us and the taxpayer.”

The MBT was built by BAM Nuttall who also built the Cambridgeshire guided busway.