Allerdale explores in-house waste service options

Allerdale Borough Council took a major step towards bringing waste collection services back in-house after its executive committee agreed this was their preferred service-delivery option in the longer-term.

Waste services in the borough have been carried out by FCC Environment since April 1997. However, after a new arrangement started on 1 April 2019, “issues” with the service have meant that crews had been unable to complete rounds on the scheduled day.

Garden waste and glass, cans and plastic recycling services were suspended on July 8 to alleviate issues affecting waste collections across the borough, the council said.

These issues have been resolved thanks to an interim short-term contract agreed between the company and the Council, which was introduced whilst a longer-term solution was developed.

We have today made a big step to ensuring our bin collection service gets back on track and delivers what our residents expect and deserve

In a meeting the committee considered three possible longer-term options:

  • continuing to use FCC Environment but under a new, and more costly, arrangement than had been agreed during the original tender process;
  • bringing the service back in-house and being run directly by the Council;
  • or bringing the service back in-house to be run by a company owned by the local authority.

Councillors agreed that the third approach was the preferred option, and that work to develop the business case should continue to deliver this.

Taking the service back in-house under the control of a local authority company, has a number of benefits for the Council. This includes it having greater control over how the service is run and the flexibility to adapt to proposed government changes to waste collection services in the coming years, which could include mandatory food waste collections.

Speaking about the decision, Leader of the Council Marion Fitzgerald said: “We have today made a big step to ensuring our bin collection service gets back on track and delivers what our residents expect and deserve. There is still some work to be done, but this decision makes it clear that this administration’s preference is to bring its services back in-house with a model which brings real benefits in the longer-term.”

George Kemp, Executive member with responsibility for waste services, added: “It’s unfortunate that we find ourselves in this position, however, we’ve been working hard to resolve the issues with our bin services which started long before we took office. This decision is the right one to make, showing our preference to bring the service back in-house and providing a quality service to our residents.”

The Council introduced completely new bin collection rounds and new lorries with in-cab technology on 1 April 2019. However, when the changes were introduced the bin crews were not able to make it to some properties on the scheduled day. Therefore, the decision was made to suspend some services to help crews complete the domestic waste and paper rounds whilst solutions were devised by the council and FCC.

The Executive agreed on August 6 to move forward with an interim agreement to address the issues experienced, as well as work on longer-term solution, so that residents can receive the standard of waste collection services they expect.

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