Bristol Council Ends £96m Kier Waste Contract Early

BristolWaste collection and street cleansing in Bristol is to be provided by a new council-owned company after Bristol City Council and contractor Kier (formerly May Gurney) “mutually agreed” to end their current contract.

Over the next month there will be a handover period as employees, vehicles, equipment and facilities move across to the new council-owned company known as Bristol Waste Company (BWC). It is anticipated that the new service will start on 1 August 2015.

The move, which will be subject to a settlement agreement between the council and Kier, was approved at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday 11 June.

The council expressed concern over the increasing amount of waste being sent to landfill after seeing an 18% increase in waste arisings.

May Gurney [now Kier] signed a seven-year £96m deal in November 2011 with the council.

Mayor George Ferguson – “We believe that the best way we can do that is to exercise more direct control over our vitally important waste collection and street cleaning services”

With a target of reducing residual household waste from 67% of total waste to under 50% by 2018, the company admitted it had made losses on the contract, according to BBC News.

Mayor George Ferguson said: “As European Green Capital we have bold aspirations to change the way we think about waste as a city, from waste to a resource. We place an increasing emphasis on re-use and recycling and recognise that, after maximising on reuse and recycling, using residual waste as an energy source is better than landfill.

“We believe that the best way we can do that is to exercise more direct control over our vitally important waste collection and street cleaning services.

“Following negotiations with Kier we’ve mutually agreed it’s in everyone’s best interests to end our current contract, something which the carefully negotiated deal allows for without penalty.

The deal should also provide more certainty of service affordability as well as helping us to realise our future ambitions for waste management in the city.”

Whilst the council admits some short-term teething problems are likely, it is reassuring residents that they should expect very little difference in their household bin collections.

The new system will be operated for a year whilst the council looks in full detail at the best long-term service model.

Cllr Daniella Radice, Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods said: “By mutually agreeing to end this contract we will continue to deliver a good quality service to local residents and be able to work  towards reducing waste and aiming to increase re-use and recycling rates.

“Ensuring continuity of service during the transition is very important to us, and this mutual termination should support a relatively smooth changeover for this essential statutory service.”

Julian Tranter, managing director, Kier Environmental commented: “When we acquired May Gurney and took on the delivery of the Bristol contract we recognised the issues being faced by both the client and the operational team, and we believe we have made good progress in improving service delivery.

“In parallel we have been working together to review the long term model of service, to find a beneficial solution for both parties, and this has now concluded in agreement to mutually end the contract, and move service provision to a new council-owned company.”

No resident’s collection details should change, the council says.

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