Exclusive: Recycle bins change blow

Negotiations: Paul Scriven is still working out costs with Veolia.
Negotiations: Paul Scriven is still working out costs with Veolia.
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LONG-awaited changes to Sheffield’s recycling system will not be rolled out across the whole city until September, The Star has learned.

Council bosses announced on Tuesday that they had finally reached an agreement with waste contractor Veolia to allow city residents to choose whether to use their blue bins or boxes to recycle paper, bottles and cans.

But although some areas will be allowed to follow the new rules from May 23, it has emerged the second phase of the roll-out will not start until September at the earliest.

The changes will cost at least £300,000, paid for by unspent cash transferred from last year’s budget, but the two sides are still negotiating the final amount Veolia will be paid for the new service.

The announcement of the changes followed 12 months of complaints about the kerbside recycling system introduced last year, which many residents said was completely unsuitable.

They said the blue boxes were useless for holding newspapers and magazines and that the bins, meant for cans and bottles, would be better used for paper and card.

Lib Dem council leader Paul Scriven announced last November he had listened to residents’ views and would introduce new rules allowing people to choose which receptacle to use.

The new system was meant to be in place by April 1, but was delayed by a row between the council and Veolia over the cost of the changes.

At a meeting on Monday the two sides finally reached an agreement over the initial dates for the roll-out, but the cost has still not been agreed.

Coun Scriven said it would be significantly less than the £750,000 Veolia is understood to have initially asked for but meetings are continuing to agree the final amount.

Senior council officers are hoping to complete the negotiations over costs before the first phase begins on May 23 and will review further costs before the second phase starts in September.

A council spokesman said: “We aim to learn from the feedback received during phase one. By implementing the changes in two phases, it will also allow us to spread the total cost for the year. We are still in negotiations with Veolia about the cost.”