TWO CONSORTIA are contesting a £31 million Public Private Partnership deal for water treatment plants on Scotland's north-east coast.
North of Scotland Environmental Services, comprising Balfour Beatty and Yorkshire Water, is up against Catchment, featuring Morrison, Bechtel and United Utilities.
Miller, bidding with Northumbrian Water, was also short-listed, but has now dropped out of the running. The firm declined to comment on its reasons.
The client, North of Scotland Water Authority, has planning permission to finance, design, build and operate three wastewater treatment plants at Lossie-mouth, Buckie and Banff MacDuff on the Moray Coast.
Work includes construction of waste-water treatment facilities, storm- water storage, sludge treatment and disposal facilities, pumping stations and sewage outfalls.
The authority will appoint a preferred bidder before the end of the year, with work starting shortly after to ensure the facilities are ready by the deadline of 2001.
The official contract period is 18 months but a spokesman for the authority said: 'We want the successful bidder to get cracking straight away.
'The quicker they start and finish the job the better, as the project is driven by the European Commission water directive, which is now part of Scottish law.'
Under the EC's directive, all upgrading projects and new treatment works must be operational by 2001 in order to comply with European law on sewagedisposal.