19 January 2017 by Tom Goulding

Sheffield councillors vote to end 35-year Veolia contract

Councillors in Sheffield have voted in favour of a motion to pursue an early end to the city council’s 35-year waste services contract with Veolia from April 2018, with a view to securing a ‘new and improved’ contract.

At a meeting of the cabinet at Sheffield Town Hall last night, councillors voted to re-tender the contract, which was valued at £1.3 billion when it began in 2001 and was not due to expire until 2036.

Sheffield Town Hall. Councillors agreed to terminate the Veolia contract Picture Shahid Khan: Shutterstock

Sheffield Town Hall. Councillors agreed to terminate the Veolia contract Picture: Shahid Khan, Shutterstock

The council has confirmed that it will seek a new contract with separate lots for collections, HWRC management and operations of the 225,000 tonnes-per-year energy from waste plant on Bernard Road as well as its district heating network.

In a ‘Waste Services’ review report put to the cabinet by council officers last week, the authority is still recommended to outsource these services.

However, the report also makes clear the council should consider bringing waste in-house following expiry of an interim contract (see letsrecycle.com story).

The council has today confirmed waste and recycling services will continue as normal and collection days will remain the same. The contract with Veolia will continue until a new service provider is in place, the council has said.

‘Value’

Councillor Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for the environment at Sheffield City Council, said: “We needed to find a best-value solution that ensures a quality waste service for Sheffield taxpayers, and this led us to the decision that was made yesterday.

“It is no secret that we are operating in very tough financial times and we have to do things differently.

“Our contract with Veolia, which was signed 16 years ago, is no longer meeting our needs and is no longer compatible with the tough financial landscape in which the Government is forcing us to operate.”

Veolia currently employs around 180 people in Sheffield, and the council is consulting with the affected workforce on the changes.

Veolia

In response to the decision, a Veolia spokesperson said: “We are obviously disappointed by Sheffield city council’s decision to seek to re-tender for its waste services. We have had a successful partnership with the council, to date this relationship has lasted for sixteen years.

“During this time we have delivered state-of-the-art treatment infrastructure, operated the flagship district energy network and significantly increased recycling.

“We are obviously disappointed by Sheffield City Council’s decision to seek to re-tender for its waste services. We have had a successful partnership with the Council, to date this relationship has lasted for sixteen years.”


Veolia

“From the start of our contract in 2001 we have been a major investor in Sheffield, outperforming our contractual objectives and achieving close to landmark ‘zero waste to landfill’, whilst generating direct financial benefits to the city and providing value for money to the Council.

“Over £3 million has been donated to community projects in the Sheffield area via the Veolia Environmental Trust.

“We will work with the council to understand their timescales and ensure adherence to the full contractual implications of this decision. We’ll continue to keep our staff fully informed of developments as the situation becomes clearer.”

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