Peterborough city council has proposed terminating its 23-year waste collections contract with Amey in what has been described as a ‘mutual’ agreement with the firm, in a bid to save around £100,000 per year.
Cabinet members will be consulted on the proposals as part of the council’s budget plan next week (6 February). Residents are also to be consulted on the proposed contract change from tomorrow, with their comments to be considered at a cabinet meeting on 27 February.
City councillors awarded Peterborough’s waste and recycling collections to Enterprise in January 2011, absorbing staff from the council’s then in-house collection service (see letsrecycle.com story).
In 2013, the contract transferred to Amey following the Spanish-owned waste firm’s acquisition of Enterprise for £385 million (see letsrecycle.com story).
Throughout the term of the contract, Peterborough has continued to operate a four-bin system, with commingled plastics, cans, paper and glass placed in a green bin, refuse in a black bin, green waste in brown bin and food waste in a kitchen caddy.
Recyclables, refuse and green waste are collected on an alternating fortnightly basis, while food waste is collected weekly. In 2015/16, the council achieved an overall recycling rate of 44%.
Peterborough is now consulting on ending the Amey contract just six years into the arrangement due to what it perceives as ‘unprecedented market challenges’.
While it has not yet been determined how services will be provided in the future, the council claims collections will be delivered as part of a ‘joint venture partnership with another organisation’.
The new arrangement, it adds, will allow the council ‘more control’ over how services are provided and ensure that it will receive percentage of any income generated. It predicts that by delivering collections in a different way the council can save in the region of £100,000 a year.
Councillor Gavin Elsey, cabinet member for waste and street scene, said: “The financial position we find ourselves in is unprecedented and we are therefore constantly looking at how we provide services to ensure we are achieving best value for money and offering the best possible services for our residents.
“I would like to thank Amey for its commitment to providing services for the residents of Peterborough during the past five years. However, it has been clear for some time that our contract is no longer meeting either of our needs and is no longer compatible with the tough financial landscape we are operating in.”
He added: “We are also aware that this will be an uncertain time for Amey’s staff and we are committed to consulting with them on any proposed changes if cabinet and council approves the termination of the existing contract.”
An Amey spokesperson added: “We have delivered a range of environmental services in Peterborough over the last five years and would like to reassure residents that these services, including waste and recycling collections, will continue as normal.
“We are committed to supporting the council and our Peterborough-based teams over the coming months as they make the necessary changes to their delivery model. At this time, no timescales have been agreed for the end of the contract and Amey is focused on delivering the highest quality service in the interim.”
The decision to end the contract comes as a number of other local authorities have voted to end their collection arrangements with contractors early or at the point of expiry, including Liverpool city council, Slough borough council and Northampton borough council. Cambridgeshire county council is also in the process of reviewing its 27-year PFI waste deal with Amey.
However, the firm has also made some gains – including a joint Surrey Waste Partnership contract to collect waste from Woking, Surrey Heath, Elmbridge and Mole Valley councils, worth up to £100 million.