Veolia under fire over cost of recycling sites

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WASTE contractor Veolia has come under renewed fire, this time for the £350,000 it charges Sheffield Council annually to run household waste recycling centres, when the sale of items collected raises £100,000 a year.

The criticism was made by GMB trade union regional organiser, Peter Davies, whose union represents most of the 160 Sheffield binmen.

It follows the GMB union’s claim that Veolia faces no extra costs in providing assisted bin collections, but charges Sheffield Council £207,000 a year for the service. The charge, over Veolia’s 30-year contract, equates to £6 million.

Mr Davies said the £350,000 annual charge by Veolia for operating household waste recycling centres, which are sub-contracted to a second company, should be ‘called into question’.

A large propostion of the running cost is covered by money made from selling material collected.

Figures seen by The Star show the sites made £545,635 over the last five years by selling on materials. The money was then split between Veolia and the sub-contractor.

Mr Davies said: “The sites generate a lot of money to help cover their costs but the council is now looking at reducing the opening hours to just three days a week to save money. What is clear is the council could achieve savings from Veolia without hitting the service provided.”

Coun Bryan Lodge, Sheffield Council cabinet member for finance, declined to comment until the council has completed a review of the waste service and associated costs.

Veolia said it is “committed to providing efficient services for the city.”.