Waste contract review FAQs

Derbyshire Dales District Council voted by an overwhelming majority (27-2 with 4 abstentions) at a special council meeting on 18 December 2019 for Serco to continue to deliver the waste and recycling contract for the district from August 2020. The special meeting, which can be viewed on the District Council’s YouTube channel (below), also agreed to approve a new charge for collecting garden waste, to be introduced in April 2021.

The garden waste charge will generate funds to offset the cost of the new waste and recycling service, which is set to rise by £1-million a year to maintain service levels for Dales residents with the continuation of weekly food waste collections, together with collections fortnightly of dry recycling and fortnightly of residual household waste that can't be recycled or composted.


Why are you charging me to collect garden waste from April 2021?
It's a decision we've taken reluctantly but we have to raise extra revenue to balance out the impact of a new waste and recycling contract that will cost an additional £1m a year from this August. We have set the garden waste charge so the waste and recycling service overall is affordable to the Council Tax payer.

Who made the decision?
The decision to make a charge was made unanimously by the Council on 29 November 2018. Councillors appreciated we had to strike a balance of meeting our residents’ needs against the provision of an affordable service.

How much will the new garden waste service cost?
There's an Early Bird discounted subscription of £35 if paid by 31 January 2021. After that date the cost is £50, which will generate funds to offset the cost of the waste and recycling service overall.

Why is the new waste contract costing more?
It was a buyers' market when we struck the excellent current deal in 2012, but that is no longer the case. The biggest issues we faced in negotiating a new contract over the past year were increased service delivery costs, changes in the value of recyclable material and the level of liability bidders would accept. Vehicle prices, fuel costs and wage bills have also risen substantially since the contract was last tendered.

So the deal you struck in 2012 was much cheaper than the one that starts this August?
Yes. The last contract was exceptional value for money, but those deals are no longer available. Sadly the cost increases are outside anyone's control. For example, vehicle costs have increased for reasons including additional safety features and improved environmental standards. Fuel prices have gone up too. Labour costs have increased significantly and are likely to continue to rise. In addition, we have specified new technologies this time (e.g. 360 degree cameras and in-cab technology), which adds to the cost.

Why not bring the service back in house?
Costs would be even greater if the contract were to be brought in-house as we would have to bear all the risk of recycling materials’ prices varying (we will share that risk with our contractor). If in-house we would have to bear additional accountancy, legal, HR and estates duties which we are not capable of covering on our own. We would also have no resilience for staff or vehicle problems (whereas the contractor has other teams and vehicles to call on if needed). So clearly contracting out remains the safest and cheapest option.

Could you have saved money by making household waste collections less frequent?
Yes, but local people made it clear to us they wanted to maintain fortnightly collections of household waste and recycling, and weekly food waste collections. The Derbyshire Dales waste and recycling service is the best in Derbyshire but to keep the service at the same level in the face of rising costs, it is necessary for a charge for garden waste to offset some of the overall costs of the new service.

How do you know what residents want?
All residents of Derbyshire Dales were invited to respond to two consultations. A final decision on the future waste service was taken by councillors after we gathered information and residents’ opinions. The main survey closed in September 2018 with 2,629 responses.

How did you publicise this consultation?
We promoted the survey via press releases covered by local media, and everyone on our email newsletter list was personally notified. Sign up to our emails at derbyshiredales.gov.uk/enewsreg. We also publicised the survey on social media, where our posts were seen by well over 50,000 people. The survey was also sent to every parish clerk and parish meeting chair in the Dales for local promotion.

So am I obliged to pay for the garden waste collections from April 2021?

If my property is not suitable for a garden waste bin will I still be able to subscribe to the garden waste service?
Yes. For those customers whose properties are not suitable for garden waste bins there will be the option to subscribe to the garden waste service using our compostable garden waste sacks.

How will I pay?
It's an annual flat fee single payment with no concessionary discounts; £35 before 31 January and £50 after.

How much will it cost to get additional garden waste bins collected?
The charge for a 2nd or 3rd bin is also £50, or £35 during the Early Bird period before 31 January.

What if I decide to subscribe after 1 April 2021?
The charge for part-year subscription is also £50.

How often will garden waste be collected?
It will be a 12 month service with fortnightly collections between January and December. Subscribers to the garden waste service will continue to have their real Christmas trees collected as part of the service.

When can I subscribe?
We will be accepting subscriptions from September this year ahead of the new service starting in April 2021. The service introduction is to be planned over the next six months.

Isn't the District Council legally obliged to collect waste, recycling and garden waste?
We have to organise collections of waste and recycling, but not garden waste.

Who else charges for garden waste collections?
More than half of all UK councils now charge residents for garden waste collections, including 39 of the 50 councils most similar to Derbyshire Dales. Making it a subscription service means Council Tax payers who don’t currently use the service are not subsidising those who do.

Surely fly tipping will increase?
Garden waste is rarely fly-tipped, especially when it can be deposited free of charge at local household waste recycling centres or composted at home.

On average, how much does a household in the Derbyshire Dales pay in Council Tax contributions for waste collections?
In 2020/21 your waste service will cost on average, £84.94 per band D property a year - that's £1.63 a week. This is £2,533,521 net budget for 2020/21 divided by Council tax base 29,828.68 = £84.94 per household divided by 52 weeks = £1.63 per week.

How much does the average Derbyshire Dales household pay for District Council services?
Although we as a district council collect Council Tax on behalf of all local authorities and agencies, we only spend 11% of the total; for 2020/21 that is the equivalent of 59p a day to spend on services we provide for you. Derbyshire County Council's share of your Council Tax is 70%.

What proportion of the Council Tax I pay to the District Council funds bin collections?
Around 25% in 2020/21.

Does Council Tax entirely fund waste and recycling collections and all your other services?
No, in 2020/21 only 37% of our £18m budget income (excluding benefit payments) will come from your Council Tax. Income from fees and charges generates 42% of the budget. The remainder comes from Council Tax, Business Rates (15%) and Government Grants (6%).

Why do you have to keep making savings?
Successive central government grant cuts mean we need more money to continue to provide the frontline services you expect. The level of government grant we receive will have reduced from £2.8m in 2013/14 to £1m by 2020/21. So even after making substantial savings in recent times, we have to find additional ongoing annual savings or additional income of £250,000 by 2023/24.

How can I be kept informed about the new garden waste service?
Simply sign up to receive free email update at www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/enewsreg and tick the ‘garden waste updates’ category.

Waste contract review FAQs