MD1558 Beam Park, Dagenham – Removal of RDF Waste Material

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
03 November 2015
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

There was a substantial fire at a waste transfer site in August 2012 and the GLA assisted the Fire Brigade by allowing for the waste management company to transfer a substantial amount of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) bales onto Beam Park, Dagenham to assist in managing the incident.
The transfer was authorised by the Environment Agency (on the basis of assisting fire management) for a short period of time.
The waste company transferred further material to the site, unauthorised by the GLA and the EA.
Following threatened action by the EA, the waste company entered into a Voluntary Creditors Liquidation, resulting in the GLA inheriting responsibility for the waste material.
This MD replaces MD1510 as the successful bidder referred to in MD1510 has withdrawn from the procurement process and as a consequence, the GLA will now enter into a contract with the next highest ranking bidder.


That the Mayor:

•    Approves expenditure of up to £3m for the appointment of external specialists to remove an estimated 27,000 tonnes of RDF material from Beam Park, Dagenham.
•    Delegates authority for potential additional expenditure of up to £0.5m to the Executive Director, Housing & Land, in the event that the volume/nature of the material increases the contract price beyond the current estimate.   

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    This MD has replaced MD1510

1.2    Following a substantial fire at the Hunts Waste (HW) site at Chequers Lane, Dagenham in August 2012 and recognising concerns by the Fire Service regarding storage of Refuse Derived Waste (RDF) bales at the fire damaged site, the GLA allowed Hunts Waste to store approximately 17,000 tonnes of bales at the GLA owned site at Beam Park 2, equating to 9.52 ha of land.

1.3    The fire occurred on the day of the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games and at the height of the incident, 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters, were involved in controlling the blaze.

1.4    The Environment Agency (EA) agreed a temporary operator’s licence for the site, due to the Fire Services extreme concerns about safety, should the bales be left at the fire damaged site on Chequers Lane.

1.5    The site was later extended to accommodate the fire Service’s request that the RDF bales were redistributed across a greater site area to allow for effective “fire breaks” in the stored material.

1.6    Subsequently, Hunts Waste allowed a further 4,000 tonnes to be deposited at the Beam Park 2 site without any express consent from the GLA, thus breaching the temporary EA licence.

1.7    On 2/7/2013 the EA notified HW that they were to remove the excess material from the site using a s34 Stop Notice and a subsequent s59 Notice to remove all RDF from the site with a deadline of 31/8/2013, after which the site would effectively become an illegal waste site.

1.8    Thereafter on 18/7/2013 the GLA and EA were notified that Hunts Waste had entered into a Voluntary Creditors Liquidation (CVL). The occupational licence and all RDF at the site were disclaimed.

1.9    In addition, the EA informed the GLA that as HW had gone  into liquidation, then all responsibility for the site, RDF material and subsequent liability would fall to the GLA.

1.10    Events of this nature are not covered by the GLA’s insurance policy.

1.11    Subsequently, the GLA has been working with the EA and TfL Procurement to arrange for the removal of the RDF bales from site. An OJEU compliant tender process was undertaken and a successful bidder was selected against the award criteria. 

1.12    However, the successful bidder has now withdrawn from the procurement process, advising that they no longer had the capacity due to other commitments. Subsequently TfL Procurement has carried out a re-evaluation of the remaining bids and the intention is to proceed with the next highest ranking bidder. 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The GLA has an obligation to remove the bales in an approved manner and following discussions with the EA, removal of the bales is required in the near future, as they cannot continue to licence the site going forward.

2.2    From the GLA’s perspective, Beam Park is a key development opportunity, potentially providing over 1,500 new homes and ancillary facilities. Marketing of the site has commenced via the London Development Panel. As a result, the site will need to be cleared to allow for future development and to achieve an acceptable sale price for the land.

2.3    The requirement is therefore the removal of all of the RDF material from site, in a cost effective way, meeting the requirements of the London Plan (in relation to waste management) and in a manner acceptable to the EA.

2.4    The intention is to minimise the use of landfill by procuring a partner to dispose of the material via use in waste to energy plants within Europe.

Equality comments

3.1    Advice has been taken and it is not thought that there are any equality issues in this case.


Other considerations

4.1    There is a significant risk in terms of the volume of material to be disposed of and the nature of the refuse contained within the RDF bales.

4.2    The GLA has sought to minimise the risk by seeking to estimate the total tonnage of material by way of random sampling but this can only produce an indication and there could therefore be significant variation in the actual weight of the material to be disposed of. As the final cost of removal will be linked to the weight of material, any significant increase in weight will put pressure on the budget provided.

4.3    Additionally, while random sampling has given a reasonable idea of the contents of the bales, there is a risk that not all of the bales are of the same quality as those reviewed. This could mean a need to take some material to landfill and result in additional costs.

4.4    While the EA have worked closely with the GLA, the longer the situation continues, the greater the risk of the EA licence being withdrawn. This could lead to prosecution, resulting in the eventual removal of the material under legal action against the GLA, without the opportunity to exercise effective cost control through tendering the contract.

4.5    While the material remains on site, there is a risk of a fire occurring. This risk has been minimised by the introduction of fire breaks but there have been instances of travellers occupying the site (and the adjacent TfL salt store) and leaving substantial amounts of fly-tipped material that increases the risk. In a recent inspection by the London Fire Bridge it was highlighted that the longer that the RDF remains on site, there is a higher risk of internal combustion occurring.

4.6    There are ongoing management costs that will be reduced once the material has been removed.

Financial comments

5.1    GLAP provided £3,000,000 for the cost of removing the estimated 27,000 tonnes of waste from the Hunt’s Waste site in the 2013/14 accounts.

5.2    The final amount to be paid to the contractor will depend upon the final determined weight of the material to be moved. The exact process for measuring the weight will be determined through contract negotiations but will likely be from waste transfer notes both on leaving the site, potentially evidenced by the existing security team, and arriving at the end user. Any cost over the £3,000,000 provided will be subject to further approval and will be contained within the existing Housing and Land budget.

5.3    The sum of £3,000,000 has been specifically identified during the budget discussions at a corporate level within the Strategic Projects and Property budget for 2015/16.

5.4    Should any of the extra £500,000 be required, this will need to come from another budget within Housing and Land. The team will ensure that the Deputy Mayor for Housing Land and property is content with the proposed Director’s Decision and the decision will be reported to HIG.

Investment and Performance Board

7.1    This matter was reported  to  HIG on the 14 October 2015


Planned delivery approach and next steps



Procurement of contractor

30 November  2015

Formal contract in place

December  2015

Project to remove material commences

January  2016

Continuous review of progress re weight and type of material


Formal review of progress/financial implications


Completion of the Works

September  2016