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Martin Engineering Systems has been awarded a 25-year turnkey contract, worth around £125 million, to design, build and operate Staffordshire County Council's 18 MW waste-to-energy power plant in Stoke-on-Trent.To win the Stoke contract it beat off strong challenges from Associated Energy Projects and a Leigh Environmental/Rolls-Royce/Kvaerner joint venture.Full planning permission for the scheme is expected soon and, with construction work scheduled to start next spring, the plant could become fully operational by early 1997.Under the deal the new plant will retain some structures from the site's existing incinerator.Aside from civils work worth £10 million-£15 million, for which tenders have already been returned, Martin will also award contracts to design, build and install three new waste burning grates and a turbine hall.Martin, owned by CNIM of France, already operates the South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP) plant in Bermondsey on which Costain was contractor.Work at Stoke will start after the scheme receives a subsidy under the Government's Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation.Submissions for the third NFFO tranche, due to be awarded this autumn, have already been returned. Award of a subsidy will depend largely on Martin's gate price per tonne of rubbish per unit of electricity. CONSTRUCTION NEWS