Cabinet agrees to tender for new waste collection contract

January 25, 2022

The council’s cabinet have today agreed to undertake a full tender exercise to decide the future of the council’s next recycling, waste and cleansing contract from October 2023 onwards (Cabinet item 3, Monday 24th January).

A new contract would not start until October 2023 at the earliest meaning that the current arrangements for waste collection will be in place until at least then.

Subject to the democratic process the council will start the work to tender for a new contract using what is known as the competitive dialogue process. A short-term extension of the current Veolia contract is likely to be required under this approach.

Cabinet agreed that any new contract should ‘recognise the popularity of the current collection service and explore the viability of maintaining it, or something similar via market engagement.’

Cabinet also agreed that any new contract should support the move to carbon neutrality by 2030 and comply with the new Environment Act which commits the UK to achieve a recycling rate of 65% by 2035. Our current recycling rate in Southend-on-Sea is 44%. Every 1% of waste that doesn’t go to landfill and is recycled instead saves local taxpayers approximately £120,000 a year. A 10% improvement in recycling rates would therefore save £1.2m a year.

The contract should also aim to reduce waste to landfill, maximise the use of sustainable fuels, provide the best customer and digital experience for residents, consider whether the waste disposal contract should be included as part of the same process and consider the inclusion of a commercial waste offering.

Two viable options were presented in the report and discussed, with cabinet councillors voting against the recommended one, which was to extend the current Veolia contract and would have seen changes to the waste collection service from October 2023.

Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment, culture, tourism and planning, says: “Our current waste collection contract ends in October 2023 and as a council we must consider our future arrangements and today we have discussed a very complex set of issues.

“Nationally, we have rightly been set challenging targets to improve recycling rates across the board and we must meet that challenge head on, we have set out our commitment of creating a greener future and meeting net zero carbon by 2030, and we face rising waste disposal costs combined with continued financial challenges due to years of central Government funding reductions.

“We also understand that the current arrangements in place are valued by many residents, and as a cabinet we felt that on balance we should opt to go for a full tender exercise. This will allow us to test the market, ensure competition and drive value for money for a new contract from late 2023 onwards. Whatever happens as part of that process, we must have a collection contract that allows us to meet the 65% recycling target, supports our ambitions to create a greener future and is affordable for local taxpayers.”

The reports will be considered by place scrutiny committee at 6.30pm tonight (Monday 24th January) and full council at 6.30pm tomorrow (Tuesday 25th January).

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