The waste company at the centre of a row over a multi-million pound disposal plant has been accused of “obfuscation and half truths”, a court heard.

Essex County Council (ECC) is aiming to get out of an £800million waste deal with Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) over the Tovi Eco Park Facility in Basildon.

The plant takes waste from all over Essex. 

The treatment process was fatally flawed through design faults UBB should have envisaged, the court was told.

But UBB claimed the wrong type of waste was being sent to the plant.

The opening day of a trial at the Construction and Technology Court in London heard three biohalls at the park on Courtauld Road were at the centre of the row.

The court was told they were calculated to be about 50 per cent undersized, which the council said meant the facility could not meet the level of performance first planned for it.

It was supposed to treat up to 420,000 tonnes of waste from Essex and Southend to ensure the amount sent to landfill was kept to a minimum.

But the court heard because of the difficulties, more than 100,000 tonnes was being sent to landfill each year.

Marcus Taverner QC, representing ECC, said UBB embarked on a “shameless strategy” after realising the facility could only handle a fraction of the amount of waste it had initially been designed for.

ECC argues that since early 2016 UBB has not carried out contractually required composition tests and the waste has been of the agreed type.

The court heard that UBB denies that and asserts that since late 2015 the waste has not been what was agreed.

Mr Taverner added: “The authority suggest that a convenient way of considering this case is in three phases. First is from invitations to submit bids in March 2010 and it ends with a contract being made in May 2012, and it is this period that, if you look at the considerations of what happened, the design process that UBB went through was absolutely negligent.”

“Regrettably there are many examples of obfuscation and half truths.”

The case is scheduled to last for three weeks