Biffa Secures North Somerset Waste Contract

art on Portishead sculpture trail
art on Portishead sculpture trail

North Somerset Council has officially confirmed that Biffa Group has won a seven-year contract to collect household recyclables and refuse, as well as manage local household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) for the authority.

Biffa, which was one of three municipal contractors invited to submit final tenders, will replace incumbent contractor Kier. Once TUPE arrangements are finalised, some 160 staff will transfer to Biffa.

The near-£50 million contract, effective from 1 March 2017 until the end of February 2024, includes an option for a further extension of 13 years thereafter.

Historically, North Somerset has been one of England’s top recycling local authorities. It was ranked 11th in Defra’s 2014-15 recycling league with a recycling rate of 60.1%. Biffa is the only contractor to have more than one client council in Defra’s top 10 ranking (four councils in all, including the top two).

Service Changes

Service changes planned for North Somerset’s 95,000 households include providing wheeled bins, rather than sacks, for garden waste, and the incremental roll-out of colour-coded kerbside-sort recycling boxes to help residents recycle more easily and efficiently.

Further recycling gains are expected from the introduction of kerbside collections of small household waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), a service pioneered by Biffa, as well as improved food waste collections from flats.

“There are a number of features of the new contract which I hope our residents will welcome, and that will enable us to maintain our position as one of the top performing councils in the country for recycling and waste. This is a great opportunity for all of us to refocus our efforts on reducing, re-using and recycling.”

Biffa will manage three HWRCs at Weston-super-Mare, Portishead and Backwell, and has committed to achieving an average waste diversion target of 53% over the life of the contract (currently around 42%). There will be an increased focus on moving waste materials up the waste hierarchy by improving the reuse of materials in partnership with local social enterprises.

The range of materials that can be accepted at the trio of HWRCs will also be expanded to include hard plastics and plate glass.

A new fleet of almost 60 vehicles will be purchased to service the contract, nearly half of them being resource recovery vehicles (RRVs) for collecting food waste and dry recyclables at the same time, and the remainder being refuse / garden waste collection vehicles and smaller support vehicles.

Biffa will operate from a new depot at the Westland Distribution Park in West-super-Mare. It will be the operational centre for the contract, as well as a transfer station for dry recyclables.

Six Contract Success

So far this year, Biffa has secured six municipal contracts, four of which resulted from Biffa’s recent acquisition of the municipal and industrial and commercial business of contractor Cory. The other contract is with Cannock Chase District Council, which started in April.

These contracts bring the annual turnover of Biffa’s municipal division to approaching £200 m.

Biffa Municipal managing director Roger Edwards described the North Somerset win as “an excellent result”, and one which provides Biffa with another stepping stone into the South West municipal market.

“North Somerset has solid plans to advance its outstanding recycling record while husbanding financial resources,” he said. “With Biffa’s proven experience in helping authorities to reduce waste through effective recycling, coupled with high service standards and cost-saving productivity, we should make a formidable team.”

Cllr Peter Bryant, North Somerset’s executive member for recycling and waste, said: “As a council, we have worked hard to get our recycling and waste service to the current excellent performance levels, and I am keen that we sustain this.

“There are a number of features of the new contract which I hope our residents will welcome, and that will enable us to maintain our position as one of the top performing councils in the country for recycling and waste. This is a great opportunity for all of us to refocus our efforts on reducing, re-using and recycling.”

He added that the council places substantial emphasis on improving the contract’s social value through increased local employment opportunity. The aim is to have up to five per cent of staff participating as apprentices or trainees.


 

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