BREAKING: Sheffield Council bosses to consider ending bin collection contract with Veolia

Sheffield Council bosses are considering ripping up the city's waste contract with provider Veolia.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 1:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 3:51 pm
Sheffield Council bosses have recommended to end the contract with Veolia 19 years early
Sheffield Council bosses have recommended to end the contract with Veolia 19 years early

The Star understands the council would be expected to shell out a figure running into millions of pounds to end the contract 19 years early.

The current contract was signed in 2001 and is set to expire in 2036.

At present, Veolia is responsible for collecting and disposing of waste, running household waste recycling centres, managing and operating the Energy Recovery Facility at Bernard Road and the district heating network, bulky item collections and the collection and disposal of abandoned vehicles.

However, proposals are set to be discussed by Sheffield Council’s cabinet next week where members will consider alternative solutions to provide waste services in the city.

Coun Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for the environment at Sheffield Council, said: “It is no secret that we are operating in very tough financial times and we have to do things differently.

“Our contract with Veolia, which was signed 16 years ago, is no longer meeting our needs and is no longer compatible with the tough financial landscape in which the Government is forcing us to operate.

A Veolia worker on shift in Sheffield

“In last year’s budget we set out crucial savings targets and unfortunately we have been unable to achieve these savings from the existing contract. We need to find a best-value solution that ensures a quality waste service for Sheffield taxpayers.

“We also know that Veolia currently employs around 180 people in Sheffield. We are committed to consulting with the affected workforce on any proposed changes if they are approved by Cabinet next week.”

If the Council’s cabinet agrees that the contract should be ended and new arrangements procured, the utmost priority will be to ensure that waste services 'continue to run smoothly throughout the process'.

Unless residents are specifically told of any changes, waste and recycling services will continue as normal and collection days will remain the same. The contract with Veolia will continue until a new service provider is in place.

A Veolia worker on shift in Sheffield

At the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, January 18, members are also being asked to consider changes to the way in which waste and recycling services are provided.

The main changes proposed include replacing the blue box with an additional recycling bin; charging for new and replacement black bins and green bins and changing collection times from 7am to 4pm Monday to Friday, to 6am to 9pm.

Other proposed changes include collecting bins at flats on weekends between 7am and 4pm; introducing the collection of plastic bottles for recycling at flats and the introduction of shared black bins and/or recycling bins, following local consultation, where steps or space makes it difficult for residents to store bins on their property.

A spokesman said there are no plans to introduce three-weekly collections of waste, and the majority of changes would not take place until any new arrangements are put in place.

Any agreed changes will be communicated to residents before they come into place, and only once discussions have taken place with the workforce and trade unions.

Coun Lodge added: “We are confident that, by making changes to our waste policy, we can continue to provide a high-quality service to residents – and provide better value for money at the same time.”

A Veolia spokesperson said: "We are proud to stand by our operational record in Sheffield in delivering sustainable environmental performance and value for money whilst minimising risk to the client. Veolia has also always been happy to discuss different service options with the council over the course of our partnership and will continue to work with the authority to deliver efficient services.

“We obviously recognise that this statement by the council to discuss alternative service options will be a concern to our employees and will do our utmost to support them and keep them informed as this matter progresses.

"Since the start of this contract in 2001, we have worked with Sheffield Council to ensure the city has become a leader in UK landfill diversion performance and increased recycling fivefold.

"We have also developed a state-of-the-art energy recovery facility and an award-winning district heat network on behalf of the council."