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Low countries win coke site clean-up

CONTRACTS - EAST MIDLANDS

A TEAM of Benelux contractors has bagged a deal to clean up one of the most polluted sites in Western Europe.

The contract, being let by the East Midlands Regeneration Agency, is to regenerate the former Avenue Coking Works in Derbyshire.

The 100 ha site, south of Chesterfield, will be transformed into open public space and areas for housing and offices.

The project's exact value is uncertain but estimators predict the cost could be between £40 million and £80 million, depending on the level of risk involved.

The site is severely contaminated after decades of mining as well as lime, iron and coke production. It was also the site of a coal gas plant and a massive sulphuric acid production line.

Around 400,000 tonnes of contaminated land will need to be treated on site, nearly half of which is considered grossly contaminated.

The winning team is made up of Dutch firms Sita Remediation and Volker Stevin, along with Belgian environmental contractor DEC. An official announcement is due to be made in the next few weeks.

A source close to the deal said: 'Everybody has been sworn to secrecy but the winner and the losers know who they are.

There should be something official soon, but until then it's all hush-hush.' The firms that missed out included Balfour Beatty, Costain, Morgan Est, Mowlem and Nuttall as lone bidders and Kier, which had teamed up with two Belgian firms ? dredging outfit Jan de Nul and groundwater treatment specialist Envisan.

The shortlist was drawn up last May but was cut down to just the bids from DEC, Balfour Beatty and Kier in January.

A source at one of the losing contractors said: 'It's a shame that we didn't get it, but that's life.

'We'll concentrate on the Olympic remediation contract and hopefully we'll get that. I'm sure a deal like that would help sugar the pill.' The job will take around a year to start as the contractor will need to continue design work as well as negotiate planning consent.

The majority of the remediation should be completed in four years.

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