The specification for a new waste and recycling contract for the Derbyshire Dales will be considered by the District Council on 14 March.
It sets out the requirements for bidders interested in taking over household collections for the Dales’ 35,000 homes when the current contract with Serco ends next year.
Last November councillors unanimously approved a familiar look to waste and recycling pick-ups from August 2020, 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.
Dales residents currently recycle or compost 57% of their waste – the best performance in Derbyshire.
Following an extensive consultation exercise, councillors also unanimously decided that a charge - yet to be specified - will be made for fortnightly collections of garden waste, bringing the Derbyshire Dales into line with more than half of UK councils that now charge residents for this service.
Local councils do not have a legal responsibility to collect garden waste and residents will not be forced to buy into the scheme.
The meeting will see how a detailed contract specification has been developed in the past three months by a working group comprising officers from the District and County councils, together with industry expert consultants.
The recommendation is approval of the draft specification, which seeks a new eight-year contract with an option to extend for a further eight years.
A report to the meeting [PDF 1.69MB] points out that the proposed contract length aligns with the eight-year life expectancy of refuse collections vehicles.
In recent times the value of some recyclable materials, such as plastics, has plummeted and the report reveals that during soft market testing discussions all potential bidders had expressed unwillingness to accept the District Council’s present liability arrangements, where 100% of the risk is with the contractor.
Officers are therefore recommending that a “sensible approach” is to share risk, as an unreasonable balance of risk could reduce the likelihood of bidding.
The draft specification states that, for the benefit of residents, the new contractor will be required to ensure properties continue to have their bins collected on the same day each week, although this may be a different day to the current collection schedule.
It is also proposed that the chargeable garden waste service be introduced soon after the start of the new contract, with the fee for this service being determined once the overall cost of the contract has been established.
Funds received from the chargeable garden waste service will be used to help offset the overall cost of the new contract, which, the council believes, could be significantly more expensive than the current arrangement, which was tendered at a time when the market was more buoyant.
The cost of the current waste collection contract is £1.9 million per year – on average just under 67p per household per week.
The forecast rising cost of the waste and recycling contract comes at a time when the District Council needs more money than ever to continue to provide frontline services.
The level of government grant the authority receives will have reduced from £3.5m in 2013/14 to £0.5m by 2020/21. So even after making £2.3m savings since 2014, the District Council has to find additional ongoing savings of £400,000 over the next two years.
The Council's industry expert consultants - Eunomia – predict a 43% initial uptake of the garden waste service, with subscribers being able to pay online while accessing ‘added value’ information and offers, to help encourage uptake.
The report adds that all potential bidders have indicated a preference for the waste and recycling depot to remain at Longcliffe. The current lease arrangement is between the land owner and Serco, but the District Council is negotiating the transfer of the lease and is currently agreeing terms with the land owner.
Successful conclusion of the deal will allow the District Council to lease the site directly and sub-let it to a contractor on a peppercorn rent basis - and another recommendation to the 14 March meeting is that authority is delegated to the Chief Executive to enter into a lease for Longcliffe Depot subject to agreement of terms.
- To help local people understand the background to the waste and recycling contract process, the District Council has prepared a list of FAQs