The British government has scrapped a contract to clean up the Sellafield nuclear plant after the company in charge was accused of delays and exceeding budgets.

Nuclear Management Partners - comprising companies from Britain, France and the United States - had won the €11bn contract to decommission facilities at the site in Cumbria, northwest England in 2008.

Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority will now take control of the clean-up.

British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey described Sellafield as "the biggest and most complex nuclear site in Europe" and said "it's right that we keep the way it's being managed under constant review".

He added that a "strategic partner" would be found from the private sector.

NMP, which comprises US engineering group URS, British firm AMEC and French energy firm AREVA and employs 10,000 workers on site, was granted a five-year extension in 2013 but came under criticism for its performance.

The Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office both highlighted cost overruns and hold-ups.

Following a year-long review, the NDA concluded that "simplifying" its relationship with Sellafield would bring "greater clarity and focus".

"This decision is the result of careful consideration and review of various commercial approaches in use where the combination of public and private sector comes together to deliver complex programmes and taxpayer value," said NDA chief executive John Clarke.