Greater Manchester, Southwark and Cambridge councils will receive PFI credits to help them reduce landfill and increase recycling.

Environment minister has allocated £169.5m of PFI credits to three councils to help them meet their national waste targets. Environment minister Elliot Morley said that the scale of the hand-outs would provide opportunities for new companies to enter the waste sector.

Greater Manchester will receive £100m to improve waste facilities and improve rates of recycling and composting. The project is expected to divert 32,660,000 tonnes of municipal waste from landfill sites by 2020, and boost recycling and composting by 50%.

Cambridge will receive £35m to upgrade waste management facilities. The project aims to cut waste landfill by 66% and double recycling and composting rate by 54% by 2011. The council said it will sustain these rates throughout the 25 years of the project despite the increasing number of households in the area.

Southwark is being handed £34.5m to upgrade its waste management services. The 25-year project aims to divert 133,000 tonnes of waste from landfill.

Environment minister Elliot Morley said: “We need to use waste as a resource. We face demanding challenges to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, to recycle and to reduce the environmental impact of waste management.”

“The size and scale of the project would represent an attractive opportunity for new companies to enter the waste sector and increase the market capacity in this sector.”