Key decisions on new waste and recycling contract

District councillors will be asked on 18 December to approve that current contractor Serco continues to deliver the Derbyshire Dales’ waste and recycling contract from August 2020. Watch the meeting live on YouTube.

The special meeting at 6pm will also be asked to approve a new charge for collecting garden waste, to be introduced in April 2021.



The proposed cost is £50 per bin per year, with an early bird offer of £35 on purchases made before 31 January 2021.

Local councils do not have a legal responsibility to collect garden waste and residents will have to opt in to the scheme.

Until April 2021, the service will continue to be free of charge for all 34,000 households in the Derbyshire Dales.

The decision to make a charge was made unanimously by the Council in November last year and the proposed annual 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.

All other elements of the existing contract will continue from August next year, 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.

Serco, which has been delivering the current service since 2012, has given commitments in the new eight-year contract to reduce carbon emissions and support the local economy.

Carbon emission reductions will be achieved through the use of bio-fuel, hybrid ancillary vehicles, route optimisation, on-board technology that monitors driver behaviour and fuel efficiency, together with the introduction of electric bin lifts.

Serco has also committed to use local business for fuel, haulage, depot works, workwear and equipment, and the company estimates that approximately 25% of the annual contract value will be spent in the local Derbyshire Dales economy and through local business.

Derbyshire Dales residents, who have been consulted on two occasions during the procurement of the new service, currently recycle or compost 60% of their waste - an increase of 3% in the past year and the best performance in Derbyshire - and the district’s waste and recycling service has high customer satisfaction.

However, the report to the 18 December meeting states that to keep the service at the same level in the face of rising costs and reduced Government funding, it is necessary to charge for garden waste collections.

With this charge the financial risk of the overall waste and recycling service is acceptable, the report states, but, given commodity price fluctuations, without such a charge, the financial risk is unacceptably high.

Subscribers to the garden waste service from April 2021 will continue to have their Christmas trees collected as part of the service, the report adds, further planning for which will take place over the next six months ready for announcements in summer 2020.

In March this year the District Council set out the requirements for bidders interested in taking over household collections in the Dales, with tenders evaluated in late summer, followed by negotiations with bidders in recent months.

For the benefit of residents, Serco 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.

Councillors will hear at next week’s meeting that the cost of the new waste and recycling contract is significantly more expensive than the current arrangement, which was tendered at a time when the market was more buoyant and contractors enjoyed higher prices for the recyclable materials they collected.

The cost of the current waste collection contract is £2.1 million per year – on average around 75p per household per week – but will rise to £3.1 million for the new contract.

The 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 is forecast to reduce from £3.5m (32% of funding) in 2013/14 to only £0.4m (4% of funding) in 2020/21. So even after making £2.7m savings since 2014, the District Council has to find additional ongoing savings or increased income of £400,000 a year by 2020/21.

Over the past nine months, a working group comprising officers from the District and County councils, together with industry expert consultants Eunomia, has been dealing with tendering issues, together with lease negotiations over the current waste and recycling depot at Longcliffe.

The group has also pushed the button on a 26 month food and garden waste processing contract.

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.

To help local people understand the background to the waste and recycling contract process, the District Council has prepared a list of FAQs.
  • The full report to the 18 December special council meeting can be viewed here [PDF].
District councillors will be asked on 18 December to approve that current contractor Serco continues to deliver the Derbyshire Dales’ waste and recycling contract from August 2020. Watch the meeting live on YouTube.

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